Have you ever wondered why your ability to capitalize on the growing momentum of some important undertaking or effort waned and eventually evaded you, just as you were on the verge of monumental success? That undertaking might have involved positioning yourself for an opportunity to propel your career forward and upward, completion of a personal project or activity, or some other endeavor that had you bursting with satisfaction about the prospect of success. Sure you have, as have most, if not all of us at some point in our lives. But if this has happened to you many times you may begin to think, as an American cliché goes, it’s your destiny to always be “a day late and a dollar short.”
Each time it happens you feel as if the golden chalice that was just within reach and the swell carrying you toward it, like the one that evolves into the peak of the big wave the champion surfer catches, petered out and you ended up in the trough behind it. Do you hold on to those experiences? If so, collectively they can be soul destroying—particularly if you saw your competitors or rivals just ahead of you, riding the peak of the huge wave while you fell back and got left behind.
If you answered “yes” to each of the above questions, you are still “crying in your soup,” but you are not alone. I can tell you from experience that success, despite the nature of the goal(s) you set, is rarely experienced consistently. What I have learned is that nearly all efforts in life are, metaphorically speaking, like waiting for the next wave. The trick is to get into position—in the right place—to capitalize on the next wave’s momentum.
How many times have we all heard the cliché, “it’s all about timing”? Countless times I would venture to say. Beware! That cliché suggests leaving success up to fate. Sometimes we must take charge and make opportunities by creating the next wave or at least learn precisely when to catch the right one. If you read the extraordinary stories that forged the lives of highly successful artists and entrepreneurs like Yvon Chouinard (outdoor industry businessman/Patagonia), Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay products), Lee Iacocca (automobile developer/executive), Sidney Poitier (Oscar-winning actor), Michael Dell (Founder of Dell Computers), Sam Walton (Walmart), Maya Angelou (award-winning author/poet), George Lucas (Oscar-nominated filmmaker) and others, you will quickly discover several important traits they all possessed: ingenuity, drive, tenacity and commitment.
So, it’s up to you. If the outcome you seek is one that is truly worthy of the attention of others and you believe they will want to be part of or benefit from it in some way or another, you’ve eliminated the first obstacle. Now it’s a matter of figuring out how to let them know about it. If you are simply waiting to ride the next wave, you must study wave activity and develop a strategy that puts you in the right place to take advantage of the next one’s momentum and get on it. But as you set out to create or catch the crest of the next big wave, keep one thing in mind: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Here’s to your future successes!