Surf’s Up

When you climb a mountain, you get all sorts of benefits. A greater view, a sense of accomplishment, the thrill of adventure. But you also get one other thing – an ever-growing gap between you and the ground.

People like to climb social ladders. I get it, I do it too. But we so often race so hard to climb that we don’t put anything underneath us. We go higher and higher, but our position also grows ever more precarious.

When someone surfs, they can only go as high as the wave beneath them. There’s no way to go any higher – nothing above you to grab. Think of that as you network and seek promotions and hob-nob with your elders. Remember that if you’re always ascending by pulling yourself up, you’re leaving nothing but empty air beneath you.

As you climb, remember that a safer ascent comes from being lifted. Don’t forget to network with people more junior than you. Mentor them, build those connections. Create systems of lasting importance for those that follow. Mark the trails you blaze and leave maps for others.

As you climb, leave something beneath you. If you climb to 200 feet and slip and fall, it’s awfully nice if there’s a structure that’s 198 feet tall beneath you, and you’ll thank your past self for building it.

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