Waterskiing & Your Career
Stimulate your creative flow with something a bit different
That expression “busy doing something else” is where your ideas and inspiration often come from: it gives you the sense of being absorbed, concentrating, focused on something so other thoughts are put aside or take a back seat. It’s something to be encouraged, especially when you’re scratching your head looking for the answer to a tricky issue or situation.
Go off and do – or absorb yourself – in something else. It’s often where the answer lies for you.
Sometimes the full-on focus we give to something means we miss some of the subtleties of what’s actually really happening. I hear people saying things like “I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall” or “I can’t stop thinking about ABC” or “I can’t leave it until I’ve sorted it, I’m like a dog with a bone”. Often that’s exactly the problem. Go off. Do something else instead. Leave it.
When you give yourself permission to leave it – and I do mean give yourself permission – because it’s an active, energetic decision (rather than a sign of defeat) – by saying “OK, let’s just park this for now, I’m going to go off and do something else” this is often where the ‘aha’ moment is waiting for you. You know I’m not suggesting you toss and turn inside a question for ages and use up time and energy fretting. Of course not.
Buy yourself some time and take yourself away from the thinking, just for a while. A day. Overnight. A week. You know your deadlines but it’s the action of parking it and staying open to what comes up in your thinking whilst you’re otherwise engage I’m talking about. Let me explain.
Waterskiing. I’ve skied for years and love it – the speed, the sensation, the ‘hey I might fall off’ feeling at times (sometimes, a lot of the time).
What I realise though, is how many similarities and insights there are when you compare improving ‘something else’ with building and expanding your business or your career.
Look and see these five quick lessons to learn about career success from being busy waterskiing:
- Keep flexible and relaxed as much as you can. There are forces at work, which you can’t see, and they’ll help you. You don’t have to force it, go with where you’re being pulled. Stay loose.
- Expect there will be bumps in the water and the current can pull you off course but keep your eyes on the water where you’re going. Stop watching and worrying about the bumps all the time; watch the water where you’re going instead.
- Let go when you have to. When you decide to – or have to – sometimes it’s best to just let go, have a face full of water for a moment and then get up again and get back on. Hanging on too tightly doesn’t do much for your style or your peace of mind and you miss the subtleties of what else is going on.
- Listen to the advice of your mentor/instructor. Other people can often see what you can’t when you’re in action. It might be just a simple tweak and it’s too close to the end of your nose for you to see it. Study and listen for what the experts do and then model it. Make it a style of your own and learn from someone who knows how to shortcut the bumps and has been there before.
- Rest up and regroup. Remember it’s about the ride too and it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. Take breaks, limber up and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Ron, our ski instructor, uses a great expression, which is helpful to remember whilst you’re busy doing something else “keep your legs loose, your tush in and reeeelaaaax”.
To enjoy the creative ways your mind works when you’re busy doing something else, ask yourself these three quick questions to help you with your decision:
- What is it that most concerns me about this decision?
- How will I handle that and what skills will I need to bring into the mix to handle this?
- What lessons are there for me to use and then share with my colleagues, friends or clients, which could help the situation we’re scratching our heads with?
Interestingly, I sat for 48 hours scratching my head about something. I knew I needed to land on a decision before moving forward on plans which affect my clients, my team and my lifestyle. Using the exact steps and the waterskiing as a distraction, I stayed loose, kept my tush in and landed on my decision.
More about that soon...
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