Chasing Mavericks in Business

“This is about finding that one thing that sets you free. You need to believe in yourself or none of this matters.”  This is the overall theme of a recent movie I have seen called “Chasing Mavericks” staring Gerard Butler as Frosty Hesson, who takes a young gun surfer Jay Moriarity under his wing.

“What’s going on inside of you, Jay? What are you afraid of? You’ve got a chance to change everything. Take it. This is about more than just surfing. This is about choices you make in life. This is about finding that one thing that sets you free. You need to believe in yourself or none of this matters.”  These were the confronting yet necessary words that Frosty shared with Jay in the movie; Words and questions that are worth posing to ourselves in business and in life.

Chasing Mavericks in BusinessFrosty, a seasoned surfer has been watching Jay improve as a surfer as he was growing up and could see the potential in the boy who was now becoming a man. When Jay reaches an age where he is ready for the next step, he asks Frosty to teach him how to surf “mavericks” a wave for serious surfers that was a myth to most amateur surfers.

Frosty tells him “I know how good you are. I’ve seen you out there. You surf circles around those other kids. Those are normal waves. Surfing normal waves is about how you perform when everything goes right. Big wave surfing it’s a different ball game. It’s about how you perform when everything goes wrong. One bump off the face of that wave and you’re hitting the water like concrete at 50 miles per hour. Then you got a thousand tons of water coming down on top of you. It’s knocking you senseless, ripping you apart and pushing you down to a place that’s so deep and so dark that you don’t want to be there.”

This has many similarities to plunging into the world of business from the daily grind of 9-5.  Business owners know the challenges and the unpredictable nature of business, much like the unpredictability of mavericks.  To play with the ‘big boys’ we need to swim in the same ocean and this is not for everyone and that is OK.  If we do decide that we want the next step we also need to understand that our lives need to be different, we need to be different and we must fully commit to the waves and rips that are ahead of us.


While many of us ‘have a go’ at business, there aren’t many who persist to the point where success is inevitable. A few knock backs is all it takes to send many people back to the daily grind of nine to five but for those who do persist, we know the riches that await us, not in dollars and cents, but through other rewards.

As Frosty says in the movie: “So you made it all of 30 yards. If you want to get out there, you have to make it through half a mile of this, just to get in position for Mavericks. So you’ve got to conserve all the energy you’ve got. All right, now let’s take a look at what you missed. Now for some reason, you decided to paddle straight out into that mess. Now, take a look at the rocks over there. See what’s happening with the current?” “It’s got nowhere to go but back out… It’s a conveyor belt”

As Frosty teaches Jay, learning to surf Mavericks is more than having the skill and training, it’s about learning how to do things smarter not harder, just like in business. This trick, one of many he shares with his pupil, allows for an easier route out to the Mavericks meaning more energy for the actual waves. This is what we each need to learn for our businesses, how can we work smarter? What are the conveyor belts that we can ride that will make the journey easier for us?

Until next time…


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