She was on the lookout.

The exact second I laid the towels on the beach, she squealed, “Let’s go!” as she took off toward the waves, her tiny tanned legs propelling her forward. Hopping on one leg, I removed my sandal. And in an instant we were both running full speed across the sand.

Brynn is the most energetic 10-year-old I have ever met. She radiates light as bright as the sun and has hair to match. Since I’m her godmother, I wasn’t there to hear her first sentence. But I suspect it was, “I’m a mermaid.” Because this kid always wants to be in the ocean.  

Her older sisters had long since abandoned the beach for the air conditioning at their parents’ vacation cabin. I was thrilled to play with this little mermaid. Little did I know what awaited both of us once we hit the surf.  

“That one!”, she screamed as she ran into the water. She ran without a care in the world, hop-stepping effortlessly across crushed seashells into the sun sparkled water. That’s when it hit us — the surf isn’t so soothing when you’re running against it.  

A Force of Nature

Soon we were bobbing up and down like human buoys. Then dog paddling to keep ourselves afloat. The first big wave reached us with surprising force. I briefly felt the sting of the salt water in my eyes and nose. Brynn seemed immune.

“Further! Further!” she part yelled, part giggled. I couldn’t tell whether she was summoning a force of nature. Or if she was the force of nature. Likely the latter.

Chasing Waves Is Exhausting

We took a break when I bribed Brynn with her favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. Meanwhile, my sugar-fueled mermaid was only momentarily deterred.

“We have to be in the water to catch a wave,” she reasons, her voice rising as she looks at the sea. “We can’t catch our wave from the beach.” 

I put down the sunscreen and look at her. “What did you say?”

In that single statement, that kid had found something I had lost. 

Something that all children have, but we adults are too grown up to notice. 

To remember, I looked at the sea to see what I’ve been missing.


Is it just me, or does it appear that hope is in short supply these days? Brynn had enough for both of us. Just like all children do.

She was on the lookout. On the lookout for hope. She put down the candy and stood up.

Meanwhile, I wanted to see beyond my own experience. My experience of exhaustion, after chasing all of those waves. Can you relate? I wanted to find that hope that wasn’t childish or immature. But hope that was real.  And that was really what Brynn was showing me — only I couldn’t see it.

I don’t know about you, but I can remember all the times in my life I was just treading water. I can remember kicking as hard as I could, just to stay afloat. Because chasing waves is exhausting. But Brynn wasn’t exhausted.  It wasn’t just the sugar, or her mermaid DNA. She knew what I had forgotten. She saw hope in a totally different way.

“Do you want to go catch a wave?” I asked her. She laughed, “Aunt Karen,” she said, “you never catch a wave. The wave always comes to you.”

Wait for Your Wave

I wade back into the water following Brynn’s lead. We pause at waist height and wait. Wait for our wave. And when it comes, something magical happens. We are effortlessly elevated. Same ocean. Same waves. But a different starting point. With different outcomes. My exhaustion is replaced with exhilaration. My experience feels easy. Practically effortless.    

When the wave comes to you, the ocean’s power propels you forward.  What I’ve discovered is that life brings us powerful waves of opportunity as a single word. One word that creates momentum. Moves us forward. And feels effortless to receive.


Yes is a force of nature that creates forward movement.  

Yes is a vote of confidence. Yes moves you toward the outcome you desire.  Getting to yes means having the courage to get back in the water. To wait for your wave. And even to change your point of entry. When I yield to yes,  I work with people who want to work with me. Who believe in me. Who believe in my idea.

What would change for you if you let your next wave come to you? I wonder where the current might naturally take you next. Toward a new idea. A new opportunity. An ally who invests in your success. Like waves in the ocean, they are out there. Can you say “yes” to that — or is hope out of the question for you? Well, I hope not. 

That’s the wave I want to ride: the wave that comes to me. Which is, basically, every wave. Unless I let go of hope. Unless I can’t say “yes” to the way things work — and I try to take on the entire ocean by myself. Have you been there? Maybe you’re there now. But as Brynn told me, you’ve got to get in the water. That’s where things are happening: You’ve got to be in the surf. You’ve got to say “yes” — and maybe kick a little less — and the wave always comes to you.