I see opportunities as waves. To benefit from the opportunity, you must put yourself in the right place at the right time so that when it arrives, you’re in position to take off. To do this, you must become aware of the wave before it arrives. You should know the tides, the winds, the swell direction, the currents, how the bathymetry of the reef or sandbar affects where the wave will peak.

But it’s not enough to just be in position. You must have the right tools. You can’t surf huge Pipeline on a little twin fin. And you must be fit. You can’t pull yourself into the wave if you have no paddle power. You must develop the skills needed to draw your line on the wave and follow it. See yourself on that wave and envision yourself riding it the way you want to fit into its unfolding reality.

Know that the wave will keep changing,  so be willing to adjust on the fly.

Then, when the opportunity presents itself, you are able to make the most of it. It feels unconscious and intuitive because you’ve already visualized it and you are ready, in mind, body and spirit. You have created your future and it is converging on you at the key moment.

Think about any kind of opportunity in this way and see if it doesn’t apply. When I’m out surfing, I’ll see people who just can’t anticipate where to be to get the wave. But the really good surfers always seem to be in the right place at the right time, as if they predict the future or draw waves to themselves, like a magnet. They are both analytical and intuitive. They are deeply attuned and very well prepared. The combination creates magic.

How many opportunities have you let roll by because you didn’t see them coming or you weren’t ready when they arrived? Yet there are times when you miss what you thought was the best wave only to find yourself in position for an even better one, a wave you would never have ridden had you caught the one before. There’s always another wave. Think about what kind of opportunities you want to ride in your life, then prepare yourself, so you will be there, ready,  when they arrive, so you will ride them the way you see yourself doing in your mind’s eye.

And be aware enough that when the surprise opportunity pops up unexpectedly, you can whip  around and make that last second no paddle air drop take off. Sometimes those are the sweetest opportunities of them all.