5 Things I Learned About Business at the Beach

Sunset at Edisto Beach, South Carolina

What a wonderful gift.

A few years ago, I desperately wanted to get away. I’d been through some major transitions in everything from kids growing up, to the end of a decades-long marriage, to major changes in my business.

Times were tough. Spirits were low. Money was tight.

So I asked my folks, who love to travel as much as I do, to join me at a beach in South Carolina. They said yes, and we found the perfect house at the perfect spot on the perfect beach for a week of healing. The kids came too, and it was just what we all needed.

It was a wonderful gift.

As I write this, years later, I’ve brought them back to that same house, on that same beach, and this time, I’m covering the costs.

I can’t tell you how good that feels.

The beauty of being an entrepreneur is that it gives us the freedom to create, or re-create, our life in any way we want. This year, my parents are the ones needing healing, as they cope with the inevitable issues of growing older. It is my joy to be able to offer them the same gift they once gave me.

So I’ve thought about all that and more this week, while walking the sea strand and watching the pelicans fly at lightening speed so close to the water.

In fact, I find myself thinking about a lot of things…

1. You’ll see what you look for.

When I took the photo above, I loved the one tiny star (or was that Venus?) that I could see up there high in the sky. At first, I was disappointed, thinking I’d messed around and missed the sunset. Then I saw that tiny star, and felt total delight.   

In your life and business, there will be times when it looks like nothing’s working and all is dark. Look for the tiny speck of light, the one thing you can feel good about – no matter how tiny or obscure. When you find that one, you’ll soon find others.

2. Don’t fight high tide.

It will just make you tired. When walking at high tide earlier this week, I was dismayed to see several jelly fish floating up on the beach. They may not be cute and cuddly, but I couldn’t stand to just watch them die. I did my best to push several back into the water where I could.

Apparently this is just something that happens from time to time. And yes, I knew I was being foolish, fighting the ocean like that, but I had to try.

It didn’t work, of course.

There will be times when you can’t fight the tide. Everything will be coming at you, bringing surprises with every wave. Sometimes it will come so fast you can’t keep up.

Just let it flow. This too is part of the cycle, and it will pass soon enough. When it does, you can start again.

3. Use low tide for discovery.

The energy of low tide is so different. The water seems far away, everything feels slower, quieter, as if the beach is taking a nap.

But walking at low tide is like getting to peek behind a closed door. Suddenly, all that was hidden, is revealed. Suddenly you can see so much that you couldn’t see before.

The same thing happens in your business. From time to time you’ll go through a lull, where everything is quiet, the energy is low, and nothing seems to be happening.

Rather than panic, look at these as periods of rest, and discovery. What new idea is waiting there for you to find it?

4. Rise with the birds.

The best discoveries come in the morning, when the air is fresh and the sun just up over the horizon. When you walk on the beach at sunrise, you’ll find all kinds of interesting things that have showed up over night.

The same goes for your business. When you are up early, rested, and ready to meet the day, you too, will find all kind of interesting things – ideas and inspirations – waiting for you.

What showed up overnight in your imagination?

5. Tune to the earth.

When walking on the beach or peddling my bike among live oaks that are always near by, I love to stop every so often and just stand still. I breathe the wild air and listen to the sounds all around.

So much about running a business pushes us up, into our heads, where we think and think and think…. And forget to breathe.

We all need some kind of daily connection to the natural world. Whether it’s 20 minutes at a local park or a few minutes in your back yard, you need it, too.

I spent much of today watching children playing in the surf. Apparently, if you’re the right age, it’s never too cold to play in the water – even in late November. And that made me think about the importance of play…

I’m sure there’s more, but the sun is setting and I have time for one more walk.

What does the beach teach you?


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