Nothing is Wrong! You’re Just Growing. Or How to Live Life like a Big Wave Surfer


Have you ever noticed how your whole life expands whenever you grow and change in any one area of your life?

I do. It’s like I’m different. I act different, I think different, I respond differently, and things that didn’t used to work start working. I get functional. I get fluid. I get solid. Things I’ve been looking for can find me. Opportunities show up. Doors open. Everything clicks. Life feels easy.

It’s like catching a big wave and riding it all the way in to shore.

As sweet as that ride is, it only lasts for a time, and then its over. There is no more momentum behind me, no more force beneath me. If I want to feel that free and fast and strong again, it’s time to get back in the water and start paddling out.

Paddling isn’t effortless or easy. It’s all muscle, determination, and the perseverance of dodging wave after wave. Sometimes there is a little rip that makes the way back out a little easier, but for the most part, it’s initiation time.

This is where most folks give up. They want the thrill of the ride but don’t want to work for it. We’ve been trained to think that everything should be easy and fun and that when things get hard, something is wrong.

Nothing is wrong!

You know the whole “what’s wrong with me” hamster wheel that sucks so much energy and time? How awesome would it be to totally bypass it? You can! As soon as you get the fact that there is a cycle to growing. Winter, spring, summer, fall. Dawn, day, dusk, night. Seed, sprout, leaf, fruit. Why would we be any different? We’re a part of nature and nature moves in cycles.

So when things don’t feel easy, remember, nothing is wrong! You’re just growing. And you’re in the part of the growth cycle that isn’t comfortable. So don’t stop. If you keep going, you will catch another mighty wave and ride it to shore.

7 Steps for Surfing the Cycle of Growth

1. Clarify Your Intention.

‘I want to lose 5 pounds’ or ‘I want to be really kind to my husband/wife/kid/mom/friend’ or ‘I want to get 3 new clients’. Whatever it is, set your intention.

2. Look at the Evidence.

Are your actions lining up with what you say you want? The evidence will show you what you really want. Report accurately. Own it. Choose it. Even if it’s ugly and scary and out of integrity. Say ‘I want to eat 5 gallons of ice cream a night’ or ‘I want to blame everyone and anyone for my misery’ or ‘I want to tear everyone in my life down so I don’t have to feel my own dissatisfaction’ or ‘I don’t want to grow. I just want to complain’. Whatever it is, choose it. Once you choose it fully you will be free to fully choose something else.

3. Access + Choose a Direction.

Are you going to stay where you are, or move in the direction of your intention? There is no right answer. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life and be honest. Can you take on this challenge right now? Do you have the energy to see it all the way through? If the answer is NO, back yourself up. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Put it away for later and do what you are already doing, and do it well. You’ll eventually be ready to take on the next challenge. If the answer is YES… read on.

4. Paddle Hard.

Work for it. Dodge the waves. Put the spoon full of ice cream down. Put your car in manual and steer yourself where you want to go. Stop the words from coming out of your mouth. It’s not supposed to be easy. You’ve got to work at it. Your automatic patterns will take you back to where you were. This part is grueling and there is no way to avoid it if you really want what you say you want. It’s hard work, but if you do it, it will pay! Nothing is wrong! You’re just growing!!!

5. Ride + Wipeout.

You might not stand. You might stand and fall right back off. It doesn’t matter. You’re putting in the effort. You’re surfing. Poorly maybe, but you’re doing it nonetheless. The truth is, you’re bound to wipe out. You’re gonna get a mouthful of sand. It’s cool. It’s supposed to happen. You’re learning. There is no way to look good and learn. It’s a messy process.

6. Recovery Time.

You might think you want something, but the real question is do you want it bad enough to do whatever it takes? You’ve got to want to surf so bad that you’re willing to go face down in the sand… a lot, because you will. How quickly do you get back on the board and into the lineup? How long do you wallow in the water? Do you give up? If so, go back to step 1. If not, get back on the board, baby. You’re getting close!

7. Stand up + RIDE.

It will just happen. One day you will respond differently. You won’t have the urge to eat the sugary thing. Or you’ll have the urge but it won’t be hard to say no. You’ll just say the kind thing, without second thought. You’ll find yourself doing the action you said you wanted to do. Congrats, baby! You caught the wave. Enjoy the thrill. Revel in the effortlessness. Enjoy the speed and the ease of you and the universe lining up. Bliss out in the slipstream.

But don’t go unconscious.

Remember, the next wave is around the corner. The next challenge is on its way. And if you’re like me and you love growing, you wouldn’t want it any other way. So when the ride is over and paddling gets hard and tiring, remind yourself that nothing is wrong. Life is a cycle. Embrace whatever part of the cycle you’re in, and keep living life like a big wave surfer.

Photo by szeke

34 thoughts on “Nothing is Wrong! You’re Just Growing. Or How to Live Life like a Big Wave Surfer”

  1. So very true! I’ve personally taken my own big leap and felt the rush of achievement after a massive amount of hard work. I’m at the ride and wipeout stage, which is still great, but definately on my way to the big ride. Beautifully written, thank you.

    1. My pleasure Gerry! Thanks for taking the time to read it. Oh yes, the ride and wipeout stage. The part where all the new habits are built in. Enjoy it, if you can :)

  2. I like the clarity here about how we are different after we learn something significant. Learning, we build a bigger and bigger island of consciousness to live on. The good news is that our hard-won consciousness is ours to keep for good. The island never shrinks back to its original size and shape.

    1. I totally agree, Gary! Once we set in those new learning grooves we literally can’t go back to how we were. I love the notion of growing an island of consciousness. Thanks for expanding mine :)

  3. Thank you for sharing. Like they said, no pain no gain. I had a painful experience and was once in the wipeout stage too, now I am on the road to recovery, it takes a lot of courage to accept the fact that things happen for a cause and to move on to the next level of self-confidence and fearlessness.

    1. It does take courage to make major changes. It takes awareness, desire, heart and a whole lot of repetition. In my experience we have two options for growth. Growing through pain, which involves a whole lot of being smashed by waves we didn’t see coming, and learning through wisdom. Wisdom, in my world, is finding someone who has the kind of life I want and learning from the pain that they’ve lived through and navigated. I still have to do all the hard work myself, but at least I know the dangers/fears I’m dealing with and have strategies in place to go ahead with confidence! Thanks, Beatrice!

  4. Awesome! makes one want to wipe out and just get back to it, anticipating a better ride next time LOL

  5. I loved reading this articles. It’s so true. Life does go in cycles. I’m very happy to be a person who is constantly growing and improving myself. And I do stumble and fall a lot but I always get back up and try again. Thank you for confirming that nothing is wrong with me, I’m just growing.

    1. Yes, you ARE just growing! We have been so conditioned to think that life is supposed to be easy and that if it’s not something is wrong, but that’s a lie. Challenge is built into life. Look at getting born. It doesn’t JUST feel good. It is contraction and release. That’s just the design here!!! Nice to see you here, Michelle :)

  6. Hi Syndee,, I loved reading this articles. So motivated and inspired. Albert Einstein: In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. Awesome. Hoping you and fam always be blessed and happy. Best Regards ; Peter Chie

    1. Thank you, Peter. I love that quote! It is SO true! The greatest gifts always comes through some sort of challenge. Cheering you on as you ride bigger and bigger waves!

  7. Like the way you use metaphor here, it’s a powerful way to remember things.
    Also, your article really inspired me.

  8. Very good, yeah when making changes it definately brings up ‘crap’ like emotions and such. But when you learn to work on these, let them go and use them to explore stuff inside you that is holding you back, then you will just get better and it is worth any temporary discomfort!

    A powerful way of doing this is using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Since I have been using what comes up in my life, my ‘triggers’ and whatever as something to work on and to find deeper stuff to let go of, things have improved alot!


  9. Syndee great post. “Surfing the Cycle of Growth” I have never looked at this cycle from this point of view. Even though I’m not a surfer, the way you write those steps i actually see myself trying each one…metaphorically of course.
    Paddle hard, that has to be one of the hardest action steps, physically starting. Even though the process starts way before the paddling step the physical procedure can be daunting.
    I’m ready to catch this wave. Thanks Syndee.

  10. Great article, I agree with what everyone else has said about your use of the surfing metaphor to make your point. Guess I better get the surf board out again and start paddling into the water, otherwise nothing will ever change for the better.


  11. I totally connected with this! Thank you so much! I hit the “sand” wall last night and now today I am picking myself back up and going for it again. Thanks for reminding me that I am still growing even if it doesn’t feel like I am :)

  12. Amazing Post!! This is 100% me at the moment!! I’m going to start surfing in a couple of weeks and a lot of things have to get in order before that. I didn’t have the motivation yet to get myself going and start to workout, sleep earlier, stay optimistic, eat clean, listen to my guts and know that everything is going to be fantastic- Thank you so much for this! It’s like it was written for me. Love Miri <3

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