Life Lessons from the SUP

Published on July 11, 2012

Last week I hopped on my stand up paddle (SUP ATX), headed out of the canal, across the Marco Island River, and into my little mangrove sanctuary for a much needed break from the computer. This was a familiar route and I had taken it many times before.

Today was different. 

The wind, although not extreme, was blowing just perfectly around the point and the tide was going out as I headed in. I paddled and paddled (and paddled and paddled) and literally made no head way. If I stopped paddling, me and my board inched backward - not good. As I surveyed the situation, the ripples on the water told a story.

I was headed directly into the wind AND against the current. 

Deciding against the option of aborting my mission altogether and just paddling to a nearby seawall (then attempting to climb out and walk 2 blocks home with my 12 ft board and paddle), I decided to change course instead.

A zig and a zag was all it took to align with our canal and paddle in safely and relatively easily. The new course took me about 100-150 yards out of the way, but in the end, the energy it took me to get to my destination was far less than my original direct route.

Success. Ahhhh. 


Life lessons.

When it was all said and done, I recognized several life lessons in my little outing. How many times in my life have I charted my course, be it personal or professional, heading out into seemingly navigable waters only to find that the conditions were not ideal? 

Lots. Oh, yes, lots.

Interesting thing about it. The choices are always the same.

  • Quit and go home OR stay and figure it out?
  • Focus on the obstacle OR focus on the goal?
  • Struggle against laws of nature OR look for an easier path?
  • Fight it head on OR strategize for a manageable solution?
  • Complain about the journey OR celebrate it’s completion?

I was exhausted at the end of that little trip, but it was so worth it. I felt challenged,  accomplished, brilliant, strong, and capable. And a little dehydrated, but that’s beside the point and easily remedied with a gallon of cold water.

In this case, life wasn’t as much like a box of chocolates, but instead more like a great SUP day.

Paddle on.



Nikki and Chris Buckelew are recognized international coaches, trainers, and speakers. Their specialties include sales, real estate, seniors housing, and leadership coaching.  Clients who hire Nikki and Chris are often seeking assistance in increasing their profitability without sacrificing their health, relationships, and core values. For more information visit

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