Lessons from Surfer Lance Clinton’s Near Death Story

Lance Clinton is a surfer who almost drowned on a big day at Hermosa Beach Costa Rica. I met with him while doing interviews for The Surfer’s Journey and when he said, “ I almost died the other day,” I recorded his story.

It wasn’t that he almost drowned; it’s his articulate and insightful recollection that makes the interview so powerfully metaphorical. I’ve shown the video to my clients and in my talks and there were themes and lessons that recurred so I decided to show three quotes and write some thoughts. I’ve referred to the longer version above – about 10 minutes.

Please watch and listen, your comments and stories are appreciated and may help someone. Read on please.

“He asked me if I wanted to go out and I said, ‘not really.’”

No one was in the water, Lance’s board was too short, and he “had a sinking feeling” when he caught a rip current and realized he might get “outside by accident.” Once he was facing the monsters it was too late; he was in a crises.

Ignoring our genetic sirens isn’t a good idea; that goes for what we put in our mouths to the fatigue of a monotonous life. Lance lost control of his day because he tuned out the voice of his own nature. Most people ignore the instincts that whisper they shouldn’t paddle out or worse, they keep stroking in the wrong direction until the sun fades. Listen . . . do you hear that voice?

“I was overcome with the feeling of sadness because I knew I was going to die.”

Lance is unique. A businessman who gave up everything to move to Costa Rica to do what he loves. He’s an entrepreneur and surfs and fishes every day. He wasn’t sad because he was scared of dying, “It wasn’t fear,” – but because “I’ve got a good life today.”

Unlike many who wait for a crises to jolt them into a new journey, Lance didn’t want to lose what most people never dare to do: Experience the life they were supposed to live. Some jump from storm to storm searching for meaning in what they can touch rather than taking the time to define the blissful existence Lance has discovered. The clock is ticking.

“I had to make a conscious decision to not give up.”

Imagine you’re Lance, stripped to your last breath and every muscle crying. The urge says, “Stop fighting.” The problem: It’s easy to give up, give in, quit, start something new, but Lance wasn’t fighting for a few bucks, he was locked in a battle for the meaningful life he took a risk to live; one more wave.

He didn’t quit fighting; he stopped a useless struggle and lay on his back, took one breath at a time, and did the “next right thing.”

Most people wouldn’t fight for what they’re doing. They live in the world of the overwhelmed hoping for their dreams. Lance made a conscious decision to fight for what he already had and people want. Stop struggling, It’s time, forget the fear, make a decision and do the next right thing.

Watch the video, especially Lance’s introspection about the zone between fight and flight and share your thoughts and stories.

Thanks  . . .  Don