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Tuesday 2¢: Surfs Up!

This week’s 2¢ (worth every penny): Seth Godin, miners, surfers and used condoms…..


I have a Seth Godin desk calendar, and on Friday, it said:

Surfing vs coal mining – “When the unexpected happens in surfing, that’s why you went. When it happens in a coal mine, it’s a matter of life or death”, and the little note finishes with:  “… Are you looking at [your work] with the optimism and possibility of a surfer or the dread of a coal miner?”

This gave me a nudge, as this surfer idea has come up quite a few times recently. Over the last year or so, I’ve been paying a bit of attention to my mental health, and in these conversations and the reading I have been doing, I have come across this advice more than once.

Rather than try to push against the ebb and flow of life, fighting it, think of yourself as a surfer riding whatever wave is thrown at you.

And, giving this a bit more thought, consider what you read on LinkedIn and social media. You see people metaphorically surfing. Looking fantastic, tanned, and the coolest mutherf*cker they’ve ever been. Not the time they are paddling out, missing a wave, wiping out, emerging from the water, snot streaming from their nose on a cold November beach or that time a used condom got caught up in their hair.

Plus, we’ve been talking on the podcast about advice for CMOs starting new gigs, and we’ve all seen the data for CMOs, the shortest tenure of the C suite. You know you will wipe out.

I know very little about actual surfing, but I am willing to bet you don’t look like the star of the opening credits of Hawaii 5-0 by focusing on the moment of failure, wiping out, worrying about the water being a bit chilly, getting a bit snotty or that there might be used condoms. (OK, maybe worry about that).

As Seth says, we are marketers, not coal miners, and it’s not life or death.

I’m not sure if you need this advice, but at times, I have 🙂

Go, grab your board… Surfs up!


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