I blame my daughter.
No, not really. In fact, I thank her. It was she who three years ago reignited my passion for boogie-boarding (which is what I call it; it reflects the fun I get out of the sport better than ‘ body-boarding’).
I was a keen boogie-boarder from childhood to my late teens. I wasn’t a master, but I was serious enough about the sport to skip school occasionally and head for Piha or O’Neills Bay, or to skip New Zealand for Greenmount and Coolangatta on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
But in early adulthood work, life and parenthood took precedence; I gave boogie-boarding away. That is, until — at age 9 — my elder daughter discovered surfing. And if she was going to ride the waves, I wanted someone older to ride them with her. And that someone would be me! To support my daughter’s growing passion I needed to improve my own knowledge and ability. The bonuses, for me, have been a great chance to bond with my daughter, and the encouragement I needed to make the healthiest change I’ve ever made.
It also forced me to better manage my time; to pay greater attention to balancing work and play. At work now, I’m constantly reviewing surf, swell and wind apps to help me schedule the next pilgrimage to either of Auckland’s two coastlines — and occasionally further afield, such as Wellington’s Lyall Bay for some little runners over Easter (see photo). Wherever I go, either with or without my daughter, I value the tips and tricks I learn from others with more experience than mine.
It’s not too great a stretch to see parallels between my life riding the waves and my life running my business. In both cases, I am pushing myself in all sorts of conditions. In both cases, success depends on being committed. In both cases, there’s the joy of riding high and the risk of being dumped.
Back when my daughter helped me rediscover boogie-boarding, my work was a demanding master. For years, it had taken much of my time and most of my energy to build my cafe business into a small but successful multi-site operation, sometimes at the same time as I was experiencing personal tragedy. More recently, there have of course been the challenges presented by Covid, and for the foreseeable future there will be uncertainty about what comes next.
In these conditions, I am not the only one to re-evaluate my life, and to reconsider what I want from it. I want to be successful, but how will I measure success: by my financial situation, the respect of my peers, the admiration of my friends and family?
I think they all have a bearing, but — three years after re-discovering boogie-boarding — I have concluded that however else it’s measured, a successful life must be a balanced life.
I love business. I love boogie-boarding. I love the fact that my business life now gives me the time and opportunity to pursue my other passion. That, for me, is worth celebrating. That, for this part-time boogie-boarder, is riding my own wave of success.