What an end of a week, who said Friday afternoons cannot ignite some fire for your soul, writing now after a weekend of reflection, I am still burning with a focused will to activate my purpose in life. Who knew it would take a kindred spirit like Shaun Tomson to deliver something so simple, but yet so deep!
I was running late to this 2pm start, and finding my seat in amongst the keynote speaker’s opening address, still in the usual rush mode when having to travel in the car to make appointments on time, usually means you are LATE! I usually get to appointments 15min early, so that propriety and presentation are part of being early, but in this instance, I got an invite late Thursday, and not thinking who and what the topic was on, I was in for a rude awakening!
It was brilliant, he had me at Hello. I knew of him, but did not know him like the surfing legend status he deserves, and with his charismatic approach to challenges in his sport and later as a gentleman, I knew I was poised to be, listening to serious lessons learnt, this was what I divinely was needing for some time.
Shaun is a true sporting legend, we all from Durban can appreciate him as our own version of, “die verlore seun”, but jokes aside, the presentation had many deciphers as his book titled “ The Code” would indeed unlock true human grit. I felt like I was in a half-pipe wave like he was, with the variables of change, and the force of mother nature being life’s unpredictability of misfortune literally shifting you in the activated force of will to survive in the life/death situations that we all mere mortals need to identify in some stage or another in this beautiful cycle of life.
Like the way he used to paddle out to catch the break…(spoiler alert- this is one of his affirmations or commitments-I WILL ALWAYS PADDLE OUT! Never back down!) he begins his keynote speech, with small strokes getting out there to watch the rhythm and sets to come while sitting in the throne position on his 6ft board. Shaun Tomson was born in Durban, attended Clifton, but also did his military service, first joke of the day, was that as a joke he is a great, and obviously practices hard to be the very best version of himself. His sergeant, was very surprised to hear that Shaun commented to the press, that he doesn’t need to practice hard because of his god given talent, corporal wanted him back at base as he does not need leave for practice sessions at Umhlanga any longer.
That was his interview with the Natal Mercury, I think when the Gunston 500 was around, (He will probably correct me on this) and his book encompasses his lifestyle vision, of the code, the passion to pursue what you love, and find ones purpose. The code like he says is a magical tool that redirects your commitment to activate your deepest will power- like a psychic energy with commitment to action.
Shaun, is amazing not just as a sports legend, but also a husband, father,entrepreneur and sociologist. He rang many cords with me as I was also 22 when I first went rogue in starting out in the marketplace. He started a legendary Brand that dates back to my birthdate, INSTINCT was huge, and did end up selling up, as that is what businesspeople need to always consider. It’s not always about igniting a start up business but also about when to realise ones asset, when to sell?
Being an independent broker, its very much a state of highs and lows, much like the tidal sets, so Shaun had definitely experienced the same turbulence in his twenties and on, he gave very specific references to how after INSTINCT it was to start all over again with SOLITUDE in the nineties.
So Shaun also has a great way with words, I picked up on some gems, that only thirty something’s can recall, especially during those surfing breakthroughs, and Shaun’s tv doc “Bustin down the door” is a great way to give another perspective on what the golden era of surfing did for the sport, much like what Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player did for golf. I feel Gary and Shaun would get on like hotcakes, seeing that both had moments of higher security measures of safety for when they toured North America. Some of the words that stuck were:- GNARLY, EXISTENTIAL, SURREAL, RADICAL and AWESOME ( BUT THAT HAS NEVER LEFT!)
Shaun started his surf journey at the age of 9 with his dad at Bay of Plenty, NZ. It must be that surfers who do spend lots of time with nature really do get to contemplate the writing on the wall, Listening to his version of the perfect wave, who wouldn’t want to fall in love with the ocean. It was a specific point in winter, where the surreal picture of the ocean with the overlay of cooler mist creates a mirage of a fountain of the backdrop of the sun, the sea current and set of breaks lead to perfect tubes that as described by Shaun, “its when time expands, and when you are in that position, time slows enough for you to get your first breathe of God pushing shift and transferrable energy through your body into your board reaching New speeds…New heights….This is the passion we need People!
I might not be good at surfing, but I have swum in tubes to know he is on to something, and the breathe of God is unbelievable energy that can be borrowed from nature, but also lent, so up to you to pay it forward. This is what I like about Shaun, I know he might not come across as religious, but very spiritual, and being Jewish durbanite, it must be said he is onto something when considering Hawaiin tradition and all the heritage surfing and religion bestows, and he was open to the Pacific Islanders beliefs.
Now the presentation was getting to that boiling point, much like the tidal waves being high and low, but now we as listeners were curving walls, being treated to surfing stories like no other. SHAUN had six surfing stories that were simple yet deep, but have everything to do with the code. HE IS CURRENTLY EMBARKING ON OUTREACH PROGRAMS AT SCHOOLS, AND HEADMASTERS ARE IMPLEMENTING THE CODE AT SCHOOLS AS WE SPEAK. Visit www.indi.com/shauntomson to share the code.
The six stories are lifestyle orientated and also all true reference points for Shaun, not just in his sport, but also in business. We at Liberty can learn a lot from Shauns’ resilience. Yes that was one of them….
Each of themes, had amazing references to obstacles that were overcome, from the pink banana to riding it on the bansai pipeline. His dad getting blood poisoning and his attitude to stay optimistic thru dark times, like Victor Frankel as the reference, it takes one millisecond to change your attitude. Imagine the global effect if this was a emotional contagion, and Shaun is doing research on the effect of social contagions on social media as this in line with his focused will.
Shaun shared a story where coming last, on the podium at one of his pro tour events was the greatest feeling for him, as he stuck to his affirmation of not giving up in the adverse conditions in the final heats. This is testament to wht the “ the code” stands for. I think he did mention there was a 17second set between breaks which means that after bailing he had to recover from air deprivation from having to stay under the monster breaks for so long. This is resilence, and from the 19 major wins on pro tour, that sixth place felt like his greatest win, I WILL PADDLE OUT.
Change is something the financial industry is used to, from the regulation to the evolution of the inform based clientele. I loved the story of when he finally needed the equipment boost on the surfboard to move from one skegg,two skegg and finally the THREE FIN THRUSTER. But as Shaun pointed out, he did smoke Mark Richards on the twin fin, and those are the stories we game- changers need to harness inner strength to activate focused will.
Finally in wrapping up, we as an audience just want to head out wherever, and have that splash of Indian ocean through our hair. I thought the best was left to last. SHAUN shared the tragedy of losing his son to a choking game which must have been a life changing trauma. But much to his champion status, he always turns that trauma into something bright and positive as his social movement is driven by his love for his deceased son. But the SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE story hit me hardest, as he mentioned his last trip to SHALAWA MEADOWS had a traditional heritage site with access to a lone beach with soft sand and ball-like pebbles.
Communication is something in our DNA, and Shaun highlighted to me the ignorance of listening happens on a daily basis with the hectic bustle of the rat race, and are we really listening to another human being when partially being screen sucked into another dimension. The biggest gift you can offer another human is your time and your attention. I hope my clients concur with that communication with my financial planning and Libertys’ Creed to serving clients with integrity.
So Shaun and his son assemble the pebbles into a circle, they sit on the sand at SHALAWA and father and son share stories when speaker is holding a stick, and the non-stick holder is the listener. This spoke volumes to me, and how important the listening process is. Shaun says they keep a stone from SHALAWA as a memento of their time there, and it can be found at their home in RINCON, SANTA BARBERA,USA.
So, the take home message in summary was, take 30 mins to consider the surfers Code example, and write down 12 affirmations that start with….I WILL….
I am so excited, please share your code with me, as I WILL (WINK WINK) on www.indi.com/shauntomson
MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE = POWER OF FOCUSED ACTIVATED WILL
I left out a bit from the presentation, but I am sure Shaun won’t mind me mentioning his bansai pipeline, server story at 9/11, Zambezi one eye fisherman story.