The first time I went kayaking I discovered a Florida that you cannot see from cars. In the process of learning how to kayak, I saw parallels to growing a legal nurse consulting business.
Be patient with yourself when you are doing something for the first time
In December 2015, Chris taught me how to kayak. Chris was encouraging, soothing and patient. His enthusiasm for kayaking made it easy for me to follow his lead. With him sitting behind me in a two person kayak, I believed kayaking was easy. He made it look effortless.
Something that you think is easy can quickly turn into a challenge. My self-confidence was shattered on my second trip. The naturalist leading the tour decided I should be in a two person kayak by myself. (This is difficult for even seasoned kayakers. I had no idea how hard it was because Chris did much of the work during our first trip.)
The naturalist looked the other way when I careened into mangroves and bridge pilings, and struggled to paddle against the incoming tide. I could have wrung my hands at my clumsiness or I could have laughed. I chose to laugh and enjoy the periods of time when I was not struggling to keep up or head my kayak in the right direction. I realized I had to gain skill in a challenging situation; there was no choice but to be responsible for myself and my kayak.
You have resilience you may take for granted. You will grow from the experiences that challenge you; they act as a stimulus for growth. Know when to laugh at yourself; learn from the trial and error and you will be better able to handle the next situation.
Do something elegant
Chris, his girlfriend and I made reservations to have lunch at a meditation retreat center located on a creek. After parking our car and lowering the kayak into the water (called “putting in”), we kayaked down a meandering stream until we reached the restaurant. Upon tying up the kayaks near these ferns, we entered the restaurant from the water side. (It was not commonplace for patrons to arrive by boat.) There was hushed respect in the maître d’s voice when she said, “Oh, you are the kayakers.” Now when I revisit the restaurant (by car), I continue to receive recognition as “the kayaker”.
Do something to make you and your business stand out. What can you offer attorneys that others don’t? How elegant are your reports? What special touches can you use with your clients?
Look beyond yourself for opportunities to help others
Chris and I introduced a young man to kayaking in Chris’ two person kayak. I was able to help him learn how to move forward, turn, slow down and duck without upsetting the kayak. As I instructed him, I found myself mimicking Chris’ soothing, encouraging, and patient demeanor.
There are other legal nurse consultants, attorneys and expert witnesses who know less than you do about a subject. How can you help others? Being able to share your knowledge is good for your business and good for building up relationships with others. Always think first of what you can give others before thinking about what you will receive.
Do something special for those you love – including yourself
I enjoy kayaking with my sons. My oldest son lives in India and visits us once a year. For his visit one year, I arranged for Chris to take me and my sons kayaking. I wanted to share something that I love with my sons. We had a wonderful day.
My younger son (in red) lived on a canal in Florida, so we went kayaking off of his dock for the first time and explored the canal behind his house. This gave him the gift of knowing that any time he wants, he can relax by kayaking from his back yard.
Business is important; work is essential, but life is short. This summer take the time to enjoy the sunshine and the beauty of this earth. If you have never kayaked before, rent a kayak, go out with an experienced guide, and see the world from the water.
If I can do it, you can do it. Then add a comment telling me about your experience.