Be flexible with your plans.

I grew up near the beach in Florida and spent quite a bit of time as a child playing in the waves in the Gulf of Mexico. I quickly learned that water is a powerful force and you could get hurt if you weren’t paying attention. Over time I learned that you could ride a wave if you synchronized your motion with it. Getting tumbled or pressed to the sandy bottom by a wave or tossed on to the beach was all part of the learning process.

As you are working to catch a wave you figure out that some spots are better than others. Positioning is key. Waves roll in in sets of 3-5 and then the water goes calm for a minute or two before the next set comes in.

As I got older and became a stronger swimmer, I would try to swim beyond the point where the waves would break. Depending on when you chose to start swimming or paddling, you could expend quite a bit of effort trying to swim through multiple breaking waves to reach the point where waves as swells. If your timing was off, you could duck under a wave only to have the next wave on top of you. Getting to the calm, rolling area beyond the breakers requires persistence.

Creating something new is a lot like trying to swim through the breakers to reach the open sea beyond. The best lessons are learned along the way as you work over, under or around incoming waves.

Along the way to the open water, you may lose sight of the shore because you are in the trench of a wave or you may be underwater. If you aren’t paying attention or are unfamiliar with the water, you may end up back on the shore or washed down the beach by a strong current. Maintaining a strong sense of where you are going will help you stay focused on what you need to do.

John C. Maxwell noted that leaders need to be “stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” This kind of thinking will help you reach your goals when faced with obstacles and uncertainty.

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