Laird Hamilton, this week’s On Leadership podcast guest, is one of the most famous athletes in the world and certainly the most well-known big wave surfer. He’s a prolific coach, author, and speaker to millions who are also drawn to the ocean for both inspiration and recreation.
Full disclosure, I’m not one of them. Drawn to the ocean, that is. If you’ve read my blogs and columns and follow me on all social platforms, you know that I’m a Florida boy originally and the ocean scares the you-know-what out of me. Dark. Unpredictable. Ruthless. Indomitable. I generally dislike all things about the ocean. Except for grouper. There ain’t no tastier meal than freshly caught, grilled grouper with some cheesy potatoes and a nice cold beer.
Beyond the ocean, I’m enormously inspired by Laird’s life. His dedication to his health. His life balance. His prioritization as a husband and father. Seems fiercely dedicated to his passions and roles in life.
What I find most intriguing, and even replicable, from Laird is his natural propensity for disruption. He doesn’t merely surf; he tracks and finds the world’s largest waves and conquers them. He doesn’t merely find the largest waves; he decides to grab a jet ski and precisely drop into the wave at the exact right location and the exact right time. There are countless examples of how he’s constantly innovating, pushing boundaries, and testing limits. Not just his own, but those of the industry. Society. Perhaps gravity even.
Laird’s disruption permeates his life. How he exercises is nothing like how you or I do. Most of how he coaches and advises his clients is barely recognizable to many of us when we compare it to what’s normal, standard, or even acceptable in the industry.
Great for him. Laird clearly isn’t living his life for your or my approval. It took me over fifty years to summon that level of courage.
Don’t just be inspired by Laird’s model of courage and innovation. Model it in your life. Make a mental list of all the things you do in life, including how you arrange your furniture, entertain for a dinner party, mow the lawn, dress for church, comb your hair, surf big waves. Most of us are just replicating what we see in others, hoping not to be called out for doing it differently.
Like Laird, unleash your creativity. Cut off the collar and run free. Life is short. Do something different for a change.
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