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Skipping class to go surfing was my first mistake.

Skipping class to go surfing was my first mistake.

After all, it was a balmy 85º San Diego perfect kind of day. I know, they’re almost all like that, but this day was different.

The surf was calling, and I was bound and determined to answer. I called my buddy and said, “Let’s gooooo!”

“Sorry, Scottie, no can do.”

“Well, can I borrow your car?”

“Sure. Have fun!”

Off I went, westbound on Highway 8 to La Jolla Shores.

As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed something very strange for this postcard perfect day. The parking lot was near empty, and there was literally NO ONE in the line up. Zero.

Why was no one else in the water? Maybe it was because the surf was so crappy that anyone with half a brain stayed home. There was a crazy rip current and a steady onshore breeze, making the waves as inconsistent as political promises.

Second mistake? I went surfing alone. Didn’t your mom always tell you, “Always swim with a swim buddy!” But I figured I was a boss. I was in the water from an early age: swim teams from grade school and I grew up going to the beach in Santa Cruz. And at 20, I felt invincible.

What’s more, I’d already skipped class, borrowed a car, and driven 45 minutes and, dang it anyway, I was going to SURF!

I suited up, grabbed my board and paddled out, hopes high.

Most of the waves that day were knee-high mush buckets. No form, no height, nothing that actually looked or behaved like a wave. I didn’t ride a single wave that day. I just paddled around frustrated that it was such a complete bust.

After an hour, it was time to wave the white flag. I headed in, one eye on the beach, the other on the ocean, just watching my six.

On my second look over my shoulder I saw something I hadn’t seen all day. An actual wave. A big one - overhead at least. When you’re flat on your stomach, 6-7’ looks really big to a not yet rookie surfer.

There was nothing for it. No way I could catch it and no way I could out-paddle it.

I was in the impact zone with only one option: ditch and dive. I ditched my board and dove as far under the rogue wave as I could.

It hit with such ferocity that I instantly felt the leash on my board snap. Into the washing machine I went. Head over heels. Rinse and repeat. It was the most helpless I’d ever felt in the ocean.

Now, mind you, I was a strong swimmer, I was in the best shape of my life, and I felt very confident in the ocean. But I was like a leaf in a hurricane, tossed about by the power of the wave.

I finally surfaced amidst white foam. I gasped for breath and got my bearings. My first concern? Did that monster have a brother?

It did. And the rip current was carrying me right into its face.

I had enough time to take another deep breath and dive for the bottom. Normally if you hit your dive right you can pop out on the back side of the wave.

Not this time. Spin cycle, take 2.

My lungs were screaming at me as the wave dragged me along the ocean floor.

Finally, I found the surface. Gasping more desperately this time, I looked around - again to get my bearings. This time, I noticed two very alarming things.

One, a third angry wave barreling down on me.

Two? I was seeing black and white spots in my vision.

My brain, now starving for oxygen, was starting to shut down non-essential functions. I was on the verge of passing out. It’s generally accepted that passing out in the ocean is ill-advised.

My confidence shattered, I was actually scared for my life as I dove for the third time, desperately trying to escape the energy of the oncoming wave.

Tumbling and panicking, I thought through my decisions that day. What was I thinking? How could I be so stupid? Was I going to make it? Was there anyone on the beach who knew I needed help? Who would find me? What would be said about me, a dumb kid surfing alone when he should be in class? What about my family?

It wasn’t so much that my life passed before me. I was flashing forward to “What’s going to happen next?”

If there’s anything I’ve learned about life, that’s always the most important question, especially after a bad decision. Or after a series of them: “What’s going to happen next?”

And, there’s not a person alive who hasn’t made mistakes - big ones. Most people try and hide them, especially in business. They think it’ll cost them sales and customers if they talk about their mistakes. But guess what? They couldn’t be more wrong.

Being honest about your mistakes can actually increase your sales and grow your customer base.

How? We can take one of your mistakes in business and craft it into a story, just like this one, and send it as an email sequence to your list. Such a sequence can make you more relatable to your customers, build trust, and even position you as an expert in your field.

Email me today at and we’ll set up a phone call or a Skype so I can tell you the unbelievable conclusion to my San Diego surf story.

Then it won’t hurt so bad when you tell me your story. Then we’ll chat about how we can turn that story into more trust, more customers, and more sales.



P.S. I only take on a few new clients each month, so if you’re reading this right now, it means I’ve got a couple openings. If you have mistakes that haven’t been turned into sales, you need an email sequence that does so. Don’t procrastinate.

Let’s decide what happens next.

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