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Lessons Learned – Educated by the Ocean, Applied to Business

Written By: Andy Ogg – Editor for Travel Professional NEWS



Many of us live our lives, both personal and professional in two different arenas. Lessons learned in our personal life tend to stay there, whether it be in relationships, parenting or just in human interactions. Why don’t we apply what we learn in all aspects of our lives and experiences to our business?


Surfing and being in the ocean has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I caught my first wave and surfed for the first time at the age of 4 with the guidance of my father, Tom Ogg. Since then, I have never stopped. I may not do it as much as I wish I could, but I always come back to it. It continues to be one of my greatest loves and with time, my appreciation of it continues to grow.


Going surfing doesn’t mean you will catch a wave, in fact, sometimes you just go to be in the ocean. Whether you are surfing or just out in the big blue, I have been taught many lessons from my life in the ocean. I have recently discovered how impacted my personal, social and business life have been from these lessons. These are things that, as a surfer, are in an unwritten book but have shaped who I am today and continue to add insight and growth to myself, and I hope to you as well.


  1. Patience

The old proverb “the best things are worth waiting for” strikes true in many areas of life. Whether it’s waiting to meet your soulmate, being patient for the next set of waves to appear or patiently standing by as your business grows to the next stages. Most things don’t happen overnight and i’m sure you have seen your business grow as a result of your patience with clients, suppliers or even with yourself.


Surfing is a patience game, sitting out in the water waiting and hoping for the next set of waves to come in is amazing, but it definitely promotes your ability to wait instead of just throwing in the towel and paddling in. Some of the best waves of my life have been my last waves of the session. Waiting that extra 10 or 20 minutes made the difference between a good session and a GREAT session.


  1. Going with the flow

As much as we all try, we can’t control the world, sometimes we can’t even control our own lives. At times, it can be very frustrating to work so hard for a goal and have things go array,, but that’s life isn’t it? Learning to go with the flow and embrace the change, refocus, realign and redirect that energy can make the difference between a new client or many hours gone to waste. When things go a bit haywire, try to take a second, assess and regroup for the next chapter of this ever-changing story we live.


Going surfing, no matter how good you are, doesn’t always mean you are going to catch waves. Whether the tide is changing, cutting the size of the surf, or there are just too many people in the water, being given the opportunity to glide down the face of a breaking wave is a blessing. Going with the flow in surfing has taught me to do the same with work. As much as I wish I could at times, I can’t control everything. Letting go can sometimes be the best way to get the results you seek.


  1. Investing

In 2016 I wrote a three part series about Investing in your Home Office. I am a firm believer that to do any job effectively, one must have the right tools. A home can’t be built without the right equipment, a surfer can’t surf without the right board and you can’t sell without the right tools to help you. Invest in not what you need, but what you want. Your job is not something to be dreaded, but celebrated. If you find yourself disliking your work area, change it. If your computer is giving you issues, get a new one. You NEED the right tools to succeed and investing in those tools is not only a great investment for your business but a vote for your success.


Surfing is a pretty simple activity with minimal tools. You need a board, a leash, wax and a wetsuit (depending on your location). However, the type of board you have can make the difference between smiles and waves to frustration and exhaustion. Surfing in San Diego, our water temperature just dropped to 54 degrees, which is brisk. I recently purchased a new wetsuit, not the cheapest, and the difference I feel when in the water for 2-3 hours is amazing. That investment has motivated me to surf more through the winter and enjoy it even more.


  1. Respect

Respect is such a powerful word and it should apply to business, it should apply to everything. Whether it’s with a supplier, client or co-worker, we must always try our hardest to treat others with respect. You never know when it will come back around, because it always does. When the world seems to be falling apart, remember that it will rebound and your actions in the lowest parts, reap the highest rewards when the pieces come back together.


Surfing is a lot more than the stereotype of Spicoli from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” Don’t get me wrong, “Spicoli’s” do exist but they are few and far between. Surfing and being a waterman has taught me respect. Respect for the ocean, other surfers in the water, and for your elders. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better who has done it for longer.