At the bottom of the stairs

IMG_5757I had some time between appointments this morning so I decided to head to the beach for a stroll. I haven’t had my toes in the sand for a while and on this beautiful October morning it seemed the perfect way to use the time.

I arrived at a favorite spot and began the long walk down the steps only to notice that the ocean seemed a lot closer than usual. And a lot louder, too. It was, indeed, high tide. And there was no beach to speak of, at least in the walkable sense of the word.

I stayed on the steps for a few minutes, watching a swarm of surfers make the most of an impressive swell. And then I turned to go.

But something made me pause and turn again. And I went down another flight of steps. And then another one. There, one short flight from the bottom, I encountered surfers leaving the water, having simply paddled up to the base of the stairs. That’s when I noticed, right below me now, the sound the water makes as it recedes over the rocks and back to the ocean.

Here’s a snippet, if you are so inclined to watch and listen:

I didn’t find what I was looking for this morning. I found something unexpected, a natural reminder that I don’t get to decide the conditions. I only get to decide how curious to be about what I find.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.


One thought on “At the bottom of the stairs

  1. Thanks for sharing, David.

    It’s been too long since I heard or saw the ocean.

    This is another great post by you.

    But in addition to your message, this brief video made me realize of the beauty we “see from the shore” when the white curl of a wave rolls toward the shore (often carrying surfers to land).

    This white foam, while beautiful in contrast to the aqua color of the ocean is created through conflict or churn and adds an element to sight and sound.

    I saw and heard a similar collision of waves creating spray, foam and bubbles as the waves hit the shore and retreated.

    I believe you will understand this – collision of ideas creating energy – and how teams and leaders can learn from nature.

    Speaking of ideas and leaders, I just started reading a book Beth Comstock just sent to me – “Imagine It Forward.” I met Beth at a Business Marketing Association conference in June 2010 when she was the CMO at GE. We’ve stayed in touch even as she climbed the ladder as Vice Chair at GE and fortunately, she accepted my (the President’s) invitation to speak at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in 2014. Yes, it took 4 years to fit Phoenix into her schedule.

    Beth has since retired from GE but is busy as ever. She is super-smary and her book is revealing- personally and professionally.

    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

    Hi to Theresa. (I believe the last time I saw her and you was when we had dinner at Gordon Biersch in the 90s….


    Alden Ulrich C 480 239-1505 T @Alden Ulrich


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