Personal Branding

Lessons Atop a Paddle Board

By Susan Whitcomb | 1 Comment »

pic for aug blog2Hawaii held lots of fun new adventures for me this summer—one of which was Paddle Boarding. We stumbled on an amazing fellow, Ian Foo, who has a paddle board/surf shop called Hypr Nalu right by the harbor. Ian is a former investment banker who worked on Wall Street and lived all over the world. Now he spends his days building his own beautiful surf boards, designing surf apparel, and teaching people how to surf. And he’s really good at it.

When my husband first looked into paddle boarding, he told Ian we didn’t want lessons—that we’d just take the boards out and have some fun. Ian persuaded him to start with a lesson, and I’m glad he did. Without a lesson, I would’ve been swallowing lots of salt water, and miserable!

So here are some lessons I learned from atop my paddle board:

paddle 1Always look up. Whether it’s paddle boarding or work/life, if you’re looking down (at the turbulent waters, at your problems), there’s a really good chance you’re going to fall. Look up (at where you are headed, at your vision, or, from a spiritual stance, at God).

  • So where is your focus?
  • What do you want to look at?
  • What we focus on grows!


paddle 2Stay balanced. Ian taught me to balance with feet shoulder-width apart, stay in the middle of the board, and use my core to power the arm strokes. In life, we know when we get out of balance—too much of one thing, not enough of another, or even over-using our strengths, which can turn into a weakness.

  • What allows you to come back to center, where you’re strong and secure?
  • Is it a tried-and-true routine?
  • Is it the discipline of executing on key priorities?
  • Is it staying true to your niche clientele?
  • Is it self-care?


Keep paddling. When you see turbulent waters coming, keep paddling! Keep taking action. Keep doing the right things. If you don’t, you’re guaranteed to fall off the board. (I know from experience!)

  • What do you need to do more of?
  • What do you need to do less of?
  • What do you need to do differently?


And, most important in my paddle boarding lessons, I learned to stay focused on the experience and enjoy the journey. Even when I fell and swallowed seawater, I reminded myself, you are alive—enjoy the journey!


X-Men, Coaching & Rewriting the Future

By Susan Whitcomb | No Comments »

x-men-days-of-future-past-professor-xMany moons ago when I married my husband, I was NOT a sci-fi fan. It was about last on my list of favorite movie genres, right above horror films. Give me a British drama or chick-flick any day of the week, but “no thank you” to sci-fi.


How things change. I soon learned that if I wanted to see a movie with my husband, I needed to be open-minded to what he liked. And so I’ve learned to appreciate movies like the X-Men and Inception and 2001 Space Odyssey. Last weekend, the whole family went to see X-Men’s latest release, Days of Future Past. Without spoilers, the movie points out how our choices today can impact not only our lives but many others’ lives in the days to come.


shutterstock_29017780(1)As a coach, you can imagine that “I’m all over that!” Choices create change. We all know that choosing to eat healthy today (and every day) will help create health in the decades to come. For business owners, choosing to spend time on marketing today will help create new business in the months to come. For job seekers, choosing to pick up the phone and have meaningful conversations with networking contacts today will create trust and more job opportunities in the weeks to come.


For change to happen, we need to create an environment conducive to change (the “helpful how’s”), and we need “inspiring why’s” associated with the change. Let’s start with the latter. Let’s say you want to change your financial situation for the better.


  • shutterstock_88446508(1)The Inspiring Why’s: We all have reasons for why we want something. To achieve significant change, go beyond the obvious. For example, perhaps you want to boost your finances because your child needs braces for her teeth. That’s a valid reason.

    But stretch a bit to think beyond this. What do those braces represent? Is it a life of greater confidence for your child? More opportunities for her? Better dental health down the road? Or maybe some of the “inspiring why” has to do with you: The opportunity to feel like you have provided well for her? The ability to learn something new (how to market better, how to provide a new service, etc.).

    If you really, really want to create change, go deep with your “why’s”!


  • shutterstock_150769385(1)The Helpful How’s: How does your environment need to change to help create change? Is it that you need to surround yourself with experts, mentors, and role models who inspire you? Is it that the television or Netflix needs to get turned off? Is it that your calendar needs to get rearranged so that activities that bring the highest income and highest impact take priority? Is it that you need to clean your desk so you’ve got room to create and hear yourself think?

    All of the inspiration in the world (the “why’s” above) won’t create change. It must be paired with meaningful action!


So think about what you want in the future. Then consider: What’s your “inspiring why”? What’s your “helpful how” to conduce change? Share your story!!


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