A Lesson from the Green Room: Never Give Up Questing

7:01am. A push notification arrives on my smart phone from surfline.com“8’ to 10’ swell arriving in three days. Powerful surf.  Extreme Caution Recommended.” 

Avid surfers like me love these push notes and when they arrive, the blood courses, the mind triggers into high alert, and preparations begin for a big day.  

At certain breaks, the wave will tube. This means the top portion of the wave launches out over the bottom and creates a hollow tube of air. The light, refracting against the water, the ocean floor and sky, transforms to green. A surfer, going at high speeds will race through the green room either crouched or standing and experience a beauty and exhilaration perhaps like no other. At the end, he or she knows they've been to “the green room” and it was a near holy experience. 

We all face moments in our lives where we have an option to push ourselves beyond current limits, try new adventures, take new risks, launch a new, uncharted path. It may be something you’ve always wanted to do, but you weren’t sure you had it in you to break through. It might be a new opportunity just presented to you and you have to make a decision - go or no go.  

When these moments arrive, the mind asks hard questions. We might say:

“It’s not worth it.”  

“This is too much work.”  

“I could end up only embarrassed for trying.”

“I really like my life the way it is and taking an added risk is just not worth it.”

These may be valid questions and should be evaluated carefully. However, the other side of these questions should also be addressed. 

“Why not go for it?”  

“I’ve always wanted to try and now is the time.”  

Today is the moment.  It’s not carpe mañana.  It’s carpe diem.    

Indeed, what I call a “green room experience” is not for everyone. It is attempting something in your life that you’ve always wanted to do, that is exceptional, is exhilarating when done, and will create a memory you cherish forever. It is always personal but can be accomplished in either business or in recreation. I call the effort “questing.” Picking a new challenge, a new endeavor, a new personal best, and then going for it. Questing means your drive for learning and experiencing life fully is never quenched.  

If you are at an important moment of choice and you think you just might want to shoot for the green room of your own next great adventure, here are three points to get you to yes.  

  1. It starts with mindset.  “I can learn the skills I need to accomplish this task. In fact, I will not just be good, I will be good enough to achieve my dream.” Mindset means being “set” on a target and focusing your “mind” relentlessly and diligently on that target.  
  2. It requires enormous passion. Without passion, you will never, ever get to the green room. It’s not just a mental game. It’s a game of the heart. You have to love the quest, love the opportunities that are before you, love practicing the skills required to get you to your goals.
  3. Embrace the hard focused work - no way around it. Disciplined practice means taking measured risks, investing in the right tools, finding the right partners, and daily focus. You only cross the chasm from being mediocre to achieving exceptional dreams one brick at a time. Think patient, focused energy. 

Summer is a great time for reflection. The warm weather, the sun, the time to think. In this renewing atmosphere, ask the question, “What is my next quest?” Remember, you are never too old to dream. Questing is a mindset. I know people in their 80’s and 90’s who are achieving peak experiences in their lives and continue to enjoy learning, growth, and passion. As I move through my own life, my mantra remains - keep questing.