Whenever I start surfing in some place new I am a little nervous at first. Will I encounter rocks? Some dangerous species of shark or fish? A rogue wave that’s hammers me into reef?

To put my mind at more ease, I scout the territory before I get in the water..

How big do the waves look?
Where do the other surfers get in the water?
What path do they take to get into the surfing line up?
Then I ask the locals: what should I watch out for? Where’s the best spot to start?

Then, in spite of my nerves I get into the water. And after being in the water and experiencing a few waves my nerves begin to settle.

I notice when I am in fear I am conservative and catch fewer waves. But when I move to confidence after having some references under my belt, I begin to go for more and bigger waves, and subsequently I catch more and have more fun.

Key takeaway: whenever we start something new, it’s natural to feel nervous. But with new references in that space, we gain confidence.

Your brain is primed for survival first, not happiness. It doesn’t want you to do anything stupid that could mean death. But it hasn’t calibrated to modern life and it equates losing money or a job or reputation to death- even if what you are risking is not as serious.

To put your mind at greater ease it helps to do your research. Observe the territory, study the industry and talk to people before you enter it. Learn what they are already doing before you attempt to improve upon it.

And know that even when you’ve learned all you can, there’s no way to study yourself out of nervousness. You just have to DO IT. And while actually doing it, if you can build up some early wins, no matter how small, your brain will transition from concern and being conservative to confidence and being more willing to take bolder actions.

And even if you fail at first (which is very likely when you first start surfing), try to be realistic about worse case scenarios, they usually don’t warrant the fears we feel.

– An excerpt from the “Surferpreneur Retreat” training we’ll be doing in Costa Rica! See SurferRetreat.com