As¬†someone who was born to an ex-surfer dad and beach lover mom, I’ve been around the ocean since I was born. Sadly, I didn’t fall in love with surfing until my mid-20s.

Instead, I used to bodyboard (aka boogey boarding for you non-beach people). And back in the day, there was this bodyboarder named Mike Stewart. Mike and his crew would ride these massive waves – I’m talking 40 feet (12m) – out at Jaws in Hawaii.

And I couldn’t get enough of it. 

I was subscribed to every bodyboarding magazine out there, and would tear through them as soon as they arrived in the mail. But despite my fascination obsession with riding massive waves, there was one tiny problem:

I myself was horrified of “big waves.” Anything above four feet (1.2m) would terrify the shit out of me. To the point they might as well have been 90-foot tsunamis sent straight from Poseidon himself.

Facing my fears head on…by accident.

Now, between 2002 and 2009 I didn’t surf or bodyboard much. But for some reason, I thought taking a surf trip to Indonesia – home to some of the world’s most dangerous waves – was a good idea.

So I flew out there, hired a guide, and basically got my ass kicked every session.

Just non-stop poundings. To the point I let him go before our last day because I just couldn’t handle anymore.

But with one day left, I decided I would try again. So I hired some guy for an island tour, which would we cap off with surfing at Uluwatu. One of the most famous – and dangerous – spots on Bali.

My (Supposed) Near Death Drowning

So we get to this spot and it’s way up on this cliff.  Meaning, there’s no perspective. Without the horizon to measure up the size of the waves – let alone the vertical view of the other surfers in the water – it was impossible to tell how big the waves were.

So, I start walking down the cliff with this big cheesy Coca Cola surfboard. When the hardcore local guys started teasing me, I should have known I didn’t belong there.

And sure enough, after paddling out through this rocky, submerged cave, I very quickly realized I had made a big mistake. The waves were 8 ft (2.5 meters) and barreling down fast and vertical.

I was in way over my head. Literally.

Suffice to say: These were advanced conditions, and I was very much a beginner.

So, I did what any rational person would do and tried to back the same way I came. Except at Uluwatu, the current near the cave is so strong no human can paddle fast enough to beat it. Meaning, if you misjudged, you either went back out to the waves…or got swept two miles down to the next beach. Trust me, I tried.

So, after my failed escape attempt, I went and sat around the take off zone (where surfers catch the waves). My plan was to wait for the big ones to go by, then catch a small one and GTFO of there.

After an hour of analyzing and reanalyzing my plan, I finally built up some courage and went for it. Except the little wave didn’t pick me up, and there was another big one behind it.

At which point I realized I was screwed.

There was no escaping this big wave that was about to crash right in front of me (the worst possible position a surfer can be in). So, I pushed my board to the side, took a huge gulp of air, and ducked under the water.

And lo and behold, I popped up to the surface about four seconds later, completely unharmed. And that realization – that I could survive something I thought would “kill” me, or at least leave me fighting or my life – changed everything.

Normalizing the “Extreme”

Fast forward to today and I’m comfortable surfing 8-10 foot waves (2.5 – 3m) no problem. Since then, I’ve been out in surf as big as 15 feet / 4.5m (down the street from Uluwatu, but on a separate trip).

But if I hadn’t ended up getting into a situation where I was forced to take a big wave on the head, it’s possible that fear would have held me captive for the rest of my life.

Which would have been tragic, as some of my life’s most memorable moments involve surfing “big waves.” So what’s my point here?


Normalization is the process of taking something FAR outside your comfort zone, then submersing yourself in it – on purpose – so that what was once a challenge becomes “normal.”

Some people end up in freak situations in which they have no choice but to face their fears. Which, in turn, forces them to “normalize” (like what happened to me in Bali).

Others realize the degree to which their fears are holding them back, and intentionally dive into them head-first. Why?

So they can conquer their fears and graduate to the next level of life / business / fitness / whatever as fast as possible.

Normalization = Success

And when it comes to being a copywriter, normalizing the behaviors it takes to earn a consistently high income is critical to your success.

Doesn’t matter if it’s reaching out to prospects or quoting higher fees. Until this behavior becomes “normal,” the resistance, fear, and hesitation you feel around doing these things will hold you back.

In particular, they’ll hold you back from the exact actions that would finally allow you to make the kind of money – and live the kind of lifestyle – most writers so desperately crave.

Find a Trusted Guide

Fortunately, normalizing these behaviors is dramatically easier when you have a roadmap and coach holding you accountable. Mainly because, rather than facing a wild ocean by yourself, you’ve got a trusted mentor by your side.

In particular, a mentor who’s seen this a million times and knows exactly what to do. The keys is finding the right mentor for you.