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When bad surf happens to good surfers, it’s their response that determines the outcome.

It does not help to be angry at the waves.  We discussed the S.U.R.F Strategy™ as a response to the waves of change in your life. When difficult and unexpected situations arise, it is even more important. It’s critical to learn to cultivate potential blessings and opportunity in your adversity.

There is no guarantee they will be there, but you won’t know unless you learn how to look.

Applying the S.U.R.F Strategy™ in Difficulties and Adversity:

1. Survey the Situation

After the storm is over, survey the damage and create a new plan.

2. Understand Your Options

Assess options for moving forward. Discuss solutions rather than problems. Resolve to maintain a positive outlook regardless of the situation. Stay solution-based, with your focus on looking for ways of using the situation for good rather than to lament about your misfortune.

Without resistance, there can be no growth. Most people don’t lift weights for the joy of it; they challenge themselves with growing resistance to get stronger.

Look for hidden gifts. You never know when an obstacle will be hiding an opportunity. But if you don’t look, you’ll never find it. Develop the mindset that the challenge you are facing has been specifically given to help you learn, develop and grow. Look for the potential hidden benefits. At the very least see if you can learn a lesson to apply to the future.

3. Respond Based on Your Goals

With several options available to you, apply your creativity to make sure your response is in line with your goals. Do not react to what happens to you, respond instead with a plan of action. Come up with a creative, positive plan of action that leads to a specific goal. Then get moving.

4. Forward Focus Your Action and Attitude

Focus on the future rather than on the past. Do not waste emotional energy on worry or blame. Maintain your focus on where you want to go and what you want to do.

Assume you invested $1000 in a Dot Com start-up, which is now worth $250. What are your options? You could moan about your loss. You could vow never to invest and keep your money in your mattress. You could choose to throw more money at it figuring it would not be fair for this stock not to go back up and make you whole. Or you could survey, understand and respond, then focus on options in line with your investment goals. The S.U.R.F. Strategy keeps you moving toward your objectives, converting challenges into opportunities that improve your surfing skills for today and tomorrow.

Yesterday’s Wave is Long Gone

You cannot change what happened yesterday. Instead, find the lesson and use it to benefit your tomorrow. Don’t punish yourself with regrets. Do not hold the past so close that it prevents your future. Whatever you have gone through, whatever your previous circumstances, it’s done. You can choose to learn from it or not. As always, it’s your choice.

Learn from your past, but focus on the future. With a Carpe Aqualis! mindset, yesterday’s successes, and failures are your investments in tomorrow. Don’t overcomplicate the process. It really is simple as one, two, three:

  1. Learn from the past.
  2. Live in the present.
  3. Plan, prepare and take action toward your future.

It May Not Be Your Fault, But it is Your World and It is Your Wave

You are where you are. Accept it and move forward. You can’t surf yesterday’s wave. Don’t be locked into hurts or issues from your past. This ultimately diminishes today which also takes away from your future. If you were wronged or hurt in the past, go ahead and scream, “It’s not my fault!” Feel better? Good. Now, here’s the harsh truth: no one cares. Blame isn’t the issue, responsibility is. Self-pity, blame, and accusation will not move you forward. No matter what was done to you, you are the only one who can take responsibility for today, make smart choices and ride your wave in a way that does great things for you.

Once, I was watching my son playing outside when he was a toddler. I could see him, but he did not know where I was. He fell down and started crying, waiting for someone to pick him up and comfort him. While I watched and listened, he wailed, until he finally realized that no one was coming to pick him up. Then he stopped, got up and kept on playing. Maybe that sounds harsh, but my goal as a parent is to raise a self-reliant, independent son. The lesson is this: No one is coming to pick you us, so stop crying and keep moving.

Discouragement and setbacks happen. Your response will determine the outcome. Use setbacks as excuses to learn and improve. This is called “failing forward.” As you become adept at moving through obstacles, you’ll get stronger and more able to achieve your goals.

This post is an excerpt from the book Carpe Aqualis! written by Kahuna Business Group’s Founder/ CEO Frank F. Lunn.

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