I did something today that I’ve taken countless tries at, but could never seem to get right. Something I’ve tried in three different countries, with various people, and with plenty of “tips” from experts that simply didn’t seem to work.

I did it for myself. I did it for my business. I did it for the well-being of the world.

I stood up surfing. Finally, I caught a wave and rode it in standing.

As fun as it was to ride that wave, the exhilaration in my body came even more from knowing why I caught that wave.

Often, the need to know “why” only stops us from surrendering, from letting things work their magic.

But today the “why” was where the growth was. I needed to see what had been stopping me from doing something that always felt like it was supposed to be easy, but never was.

So what was my secret to suddenly catching waves?

I slowed the f#@% down.

Truly. That’s all I did. My instructor (who, in my defense, was only the second “real” instructor I’ve ever had try to teach me) pointed out how quickly I was trying to stand up… and how much more time I had than I thought to get up on the wave.

In that moment, everything changed. It became simple. Easy.

But one minute before, it wasn’t easy. I was running on only three hours of sleep and extreme jet lag, on the second day of my moon cycle (a day I would normally devote to internal practices involving plenty of stillness).

One minute before, I had a story made up that today must not be the day and that the circumstances just weren’t right.

And then I caught myself. I stopped and asked myself what I really desired to create. And I mustered up the courage to supersede my exhaustion and move forward, letting mother ocean guide me. I even said to myself out loud, “Okay mama ocean. Let’s do this.”

Before I knew it, I was riding a wave — and realizing that mama ocean had been trying to guide me the entire time. I just hadn’t been willing to slow down for long enough to realize it.

Before that, I wanted to believe I was listening. I could feel the wave rise up beneath me, and would immediately pop up, expecting it to be the right time because I’d felt it.

But our feelings aren’t necessarily meant to be acted upon instantly.

Yes, our feelings are our truth. Yes, they are a perfectly messy and beautiful guidance system to everything we truly desire.

But we forget we have time to go from a state of feeling to a state of action, and so as a society we’ve learned to act instantly.

Scarcity, fear, worry, insecurity, doubt, mistrust… the list goes on.

We have so many reasons we perceive deep down that we must act now.

But what if we never needed to act until we felt ready?

What if every time a feeling came on, we were to allow ourselves time to ride that feeling out until it brings the inspiration we had been thinking we’d found when we jumped at it?

The inspiration we think we’re acting on when we act before it’s time is a false sense of creation.

We become so dependent upon believing our enoughness relies on our perceived accomplishments, that we don’t even stop to ask what the milestone for that accomplishment is.

In the scheme of things, done is not actually done if the desired result isn’t reached. But for our fears, our doubts, our scarcity, our worries, our insecurities, and our mistrust, the result is reached when the thing we think comes next gets checked off of the list.

But checking things off a list never promises results. It’s aligning them with the inspiration, the desires, and the feeling of the moment that does.

Mama ocean taught me today that even when I think I am already doing that, I can always benefit from waiting that extra moment to feel whether it’s the right time to act. She taught me that in that moment I’m waiting, I’m actually creating.

Our creations don’t actually come from the tangible. We create the tangible through connecting to the intangible. That’s the joy of creation — and where the fulfillment comes from.

If I asked you to sit down and create something tangible with an exact prototype in front of you, and all of the physical pieces already in hand, would it ultimately be as fulfilling as creating it from scratch? As going through the journey of inspiration, trial and error, and, ultimately, making something amazing out of what looked like nothing?

For me it wouldn’t. Not one bit.

My joy in creating comes in my increasing relationship to how much of the intangible I can take from my heart, my mind, my soul, and turn into the tangible in the physical reality of my life and the world around me.

For the sake of my creations, for the sake of fulfillment, and for the sake of the world, I’m choosing to pause and listen for that extra moment.

Will you choose the courage to do the same?