Waterskiing to Success


There are a number of people around me that make me better. One of which is a dapper New Zealander who spends his time split between consulting businesses and climbing mountains. Clark is always a brilliant source of inspiration and helpful mentor to me.

Just yesterday we met for coffee and a meeting of the minds. Without any real agenda, we covered numerous topics of organizational culture, relationships, and business strategy during which Clark offered up a beautiful analogy.

“If you’ve ever been water skiing,” which I had so I perked up he went on to say, “you’ll know that before you get up, you’re being literally dragged through the water. It’s literally a grind just to stand up. Once standing up on your skis, however, the workload is much different. You can flow, carve, and the ride comes easy.” This experience is just like any other excellent endeavor.

Think of any important undertaking from business to sports, we all must go through that grind before we stand up. Once you’re up, if you’re willing to enduring that initial grind, you can reap the benefits of flow.

In many ways, the last few years of business I’ve started to feel this flow. Where everything used to be hard, people, opportunity, and grow in areas that used to be a literal water-dragging nightmare has become easy. My new venture into ju jitsu, however, is a perpetual pre-stood-up-water-dragging-torture-fest. White belts drag through the water, black belts flow.

If you’re attempting to do something remarkable, don’t be alarmed if you feel like you’re drowning. You’ve got to earn the fun and flow of standing up on the water.


Logan Gelbrich