Recently, I joined my daughter and her friends who were hanging out at the beach. Maybe it was the sun reflecting on the surf that caused me to reflect back on all that’s happened since I used to routinely visit the beach — not just as a place to hang out with the kids my age and soak up the sun, but to get wet and salty, to get regular exercise by board or body surfing.
So I started to think about this ‘drive-and-discipline’ ethic that pretty much has ruled my existence, going all the way back to those beach outings of my youth. Yes, it has provided my family and I with many advantages — but it hasn’t come without sacrifice that I often find it a bit painful to contemplate.[tweetthis]My most successful ventures where total flukes, not the ones I had planned for.[/tweetthis]
That day at the beach, watching the kids surf and listening to young parents talking about their plans to move to a new house with more room, I began to realize how much of that entire stage of my life I had missed because I was totally absorbed in my work and plans and ambitions. Yet, my most successful ventures and investments where total flukes. They were not the ones I had planned for – in fact, they had no business plan whatsoever, not a single page of PowerPoint for what turned out to be multimillion-dollar deals.
Bubba Gump Shrimp, for example, was a result of my taking a break and going to see a movie, Crocs shoes evolved from my asking a friend whose office I was visiting what that weird footwear was. And one of my most recent successful ventures, the resurrection of Wild Oats, came about quite fortuitously. Whole Foods had bought the company out, resulting in an antitrust suit, during which it started contemplating a different approach to organics at the same time that Walmart began thinking about making organic foods more widely available. As luck would have it (rather than perfect planning), Wild Oats brand was available just in time to facilitate a marriage.[tweetthis]I’m not telling you that things will come your way if you spend all your time goofing off.[/tweetthis]
Now, it’s not as if all of these didn’t take considerable effort. So I’m not advising you to expect things to just come your way while you spend all your time surfing and goofing off. You have to be in the game, always doing something to advance yourself. But I am saying that you don’t really control the result, and that the big opportunity you seek might come from a place you least expect it. Maybe even by striking up a conversation with a guy coming out of the water with a surfboard.[tweetthis]My point is that you can’t script success.[/tweetthis]
I guess my point is that you can’t script success – and that your most brilliant accomplishments or biggest rewards are often those that weren’t even initially in your appointment book. So while you’re striving, play life on all levels — and spend some time at the beach as well as the boardroom.