I had a lot of fun with my sons Zack and Dylan at the beach this past week-end in wonderful Apulia. The twins have just learned to swim and are in that frightening stage where excitement is mixed up with fear.

Yesterday we had a strong northerly wind, so the day was all about learning to cope with large waves.

We learned to jump up high to make sure your head stays on top of the wave. If you try hard and can catch some speed in the same direction of the wave, you can also try and do a couple of breast strokes and exploit the wave movement to your advantage, effectively surfing the wave with your body.

We also learned that when a wave is too high and you can’t jump high enough to keep your head above the water, the best strategy is to submerge your head and body, hold your breath and then re-emerge soon after the wave has passed. The submersion needs to be as long as the length of the wave, which you can kind of estimate while it is fast approaching.

Another wonderful metaphor for professional and personal life. There are obstacles you can overcome by powering through (the average wave), but there are others that can crush you and were you need to use a different behaviour.

Whether it is a stressful period at work following a promotion, a change of job, a particularly challenging project, or whether you are confronting a less than idyllic relationship with your boss or team, at times you a have in front of you situations that can bear serious consequences.

It is exactly in those moment when you need to exercise patience, use your head and not only your gut and emotions. Look far out, assess the size of the risk and then act. You might need to you’re your cool without panicking for a while and only slowly re-emerge when the time is right and the threat or difficult situation has passed or evolved in a way that you can manage.

Which waves to you currently have in front of you? Are you ready to surf them or it is better to let them go?