Tag: life lessons


13 Life and Career Lessons Uncovered in an Unexpected Way


The weather is finally getting warmer! For me, this means it’s the beginning of stand up paddle boarding season.

career lessons

paNASH owner Lori Bumgarner with QuickBlade owner Jim Terrell

Just last week I had the opportunity to train with former canoeing Olympian and pro paddle boarder, Jim Terrell, also owner of Quickblade Paddles.

He taught me advanced level paddle techniques so I can increase my speed and perfect my paddle stroke.

If it’s not already obvious, stand up paddling (SUP) is one of my passions.

In fact, I love it so much, I’ve found a way to incorporate it into my passion and career coaching business.


How, you might ask?

Well, every paddle season, I take my clients out for a beginner SUP lesson. This is easy to do since I have two paddle boards and have previous experience teaching beginners.

The purpose of taking clients out paddle boarding is to get them out of their regular environment which gives them a different perspective on their current situation.

It also melts away their current stresses and rejuvenates their thought process.


The session starts with about 20 minutes of basic SUP instruction for them to start feeling comfortable on a board.

At first they’re worried about falling off the board into the water. It’s all they can think about as they attempt to stand up on the board for the first time.

paNASH client

Once they start to get the hang of it, we begin our typical career coaching discussion to go over the client’s current needs as we paddle down the river.


When we head back toward the harbor, I usually ask the client,

“When was the last time you thought about falling in the water?”

They suddenly realize they haven’t thought about it all. It’s kind of like a light bulb moment where they realize they accomplished something they weren’t sure they’d be able to do.

At that moment I can see a huge boost in their confidence.

They begin noticing all the nature surrounding them and realize how much the water has calmed them from their worries and stresses about their career troubles.

That’s when they usually say to me,

“This was wonderful. It was just what I needed. And it was fun!”


I love to hear that from my clients.

What they don’t expect though are all the parallels between the beginner SUP lesson and the life and career lessons from our coaching sessions.

At the end of the paddle session, I give my clients a copy of those lessons for them to keep and to remember.

career lessons

© paNASH | not available for republication


13 LIFE AND CAREER LESSONS FROM SUP

SUP: Always be safe – use proper equipment, stay out of boat traffic, know when to return to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Prepare and plan for potential life and career bumps and crises.


SUP: Select correct fit for board size and paddle length.

Life and Career: Understand the importance of fit for career choice.


SUP: Hold the paddle correctly.

Life and Career: Use the tools you’ve been given to succeed correctly.


SUP: Place your hands on the paddle at 90 degree angles, keeping elbows/arms straight, allowing you to dig the paddle deeper into the water. (Biggest mistake for beginners: Not putting their paddle in the water deep enough.)

Life and Career: Reach further and dig deeper. You will learn more about yourself.


SUP: Keep your paddle close to the board’s rails so you can paddle straight.

Life and Career: Keep close to your core values to stay on the straight and narrow path.


SUP: A wider stance on the board makes the board more stable.

Life and Career: A wider network and a wider set of skills equals a more stable career.


SUP: Keep your head up and yours eyes straight ahead when standing up. (Don’t look down, look straight ahead.)

Life and Career: Keep your eye on the horizon. Don’t look down and don’t look back.


SUP: Once up, you will stabilize as soon as you put your paddle into the water.

Life and Career: You have to stand up and risk feeling insecure before you can feel secure again. A little fear, discomfort and unstableness can be a good thing.


SUP: If you fall, you should fall away from the board. Get back on the board in the middle from the side, never from the back of the board.

Life and Career: If you fall, get back up. There’s no need to start all over. Just pick up in the middle where you left off.


SUP: Stay on the sides of the river (10–20 yards from river bank), do not cross in front of boats or barges, and do not paddle in middle of river when there’s boat traffic.

Life and Career: Stay out of the middle of unnecessary drama.


SUP: Pay attention to the river’s current – when it’s stronger, go upstream first so you won’t be too fatigued coming back.

Life and Career: When feeling overwhelmed, it’s best to deal with the bigger/tougher issues first so you won’t have to exert too much energy when you’re already tired at the end of a task.


SUP: Handle wake by paddling straight into the waves or return to your knees to lower your center of gravity.

Life and Career: Face challenges head on, and know how to pick your battles.


SUP: Pay attention to headwinds and tailwinds. Tailwinds are easier; headwinds are good training to make you a stronger paddler when done safely.

Life and Career: Struggle doesn’t always equal failure, and ease doesn’t always equal success.


One of the reasons why I love sports and recreational activities like SUP so much is because of all the life lessons they provide us.

What are your passions? What life lessons have you gained from them? Please respond and share!

Related Posts

career lessons

Do You Have a Passion Project?

I hope your new year will be one lived with passion!

Pursue Your Passion Project

I encourage you in the new year to take on what I call a “passion project.” A passion project is something personal you’ve always had a desire to do or accomplish. Include it in your goals for 2017 so you can start taking steps toward it. When you do, please keep me posted on your progress!

My own passion project for 2017 is to publish a 30-day devotional based on my personal blog, SUP:  Spiritual Understanding & Prayer on a Stand Up Paddleboard. This project combines three of my passions:  my love for God, writing, and stand up paddling. 

Give Purpose to Your Passion Project

Ask yourself how you can give purpose and meaning to your passion project. For example, I plan to use money from the book sales to help fund a mission trip I’m taking to the banks of the Amazon River in Brazil. (So far I’ve raised $1,675 and have only $825 to go!) If you’d like to pre-order a copy of the book at only $12, click here.

Please let me know how I can encourage you in the pursuit of your own passions. (Click here to schedule a complimentary “Path to Purpose” meeting.) And if there’s someone you know who can benefit from my services in 2017, please send them my way!

Happy new year!
Lori B. of paNASH

How to Find Joy in Your Work

You may be one of those lucky people who has a job that brings tremendous joy in your life. Most likely you’re one of many struggling to find joy in your work. While you may be temporarily stuck in what feels like a dead-end situation, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your own uniqueness to add some joy to the daily grind. By finding ways to put your own thumbprint on your work with your unique quirks and skills, you can not only make your work joyful for yourself, but also for others.

How Others Find Joy

My favorite example of this is the story I recently heard of a school janitor in New Hampshire. One of his duties is to vacuum the carpet in the classrooms. Everyone is familiar with how a vacuum leaves lines and tracks in carpet. Well, this janitor uses his artistic abilities to create various designs in the carpet with his vacuum cleaner. It gives him joy in his job to have this kind of creative outlet. In turn, the school children experience joy when they come in to their classroom each morning to find a new carpet mural.

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Photo by Angie Wyand

Another example is my favorite salesman of The Contributor. Shawn sells at the corner of Music Row and the round-about. Every holiday he dresses up in costume while he sells newspapers to fund his housing and his own T-shirt company.

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One way I do this in my own company is by occasionally taking my clients out for a stand up paddleboard lesson. It brings me joy both to be out on the water and to teach someone something new. It brings my clients joy because it gets them out of their normal routine, clears their mind, and exposes them to a potential new hobby. They always comment on how relaxing and fun it is.

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paNASH client Emily U.

The Possible Results

Using your uniqueness to bring joy to your work and to others can open doors to an even better opportunity for several reasons. It can:

  1. Increase your positivity.
  2. Get you noticed in a good way.
  3. Make a difference in the lives of the people you serve in your work.
  4. Indirectly impact the bottom line of the company in a positive way.

All of these things make you a valued asset for both your current company and any other company you may be interested in working for, therefore likely resulting in a promotion, a pay raise, or a new job. Or, it could just simply brighten someone’s day.

How Can You Find Joy?

What’s a way you can (or already do) add your own thumbprint to make your work joyful? I REALLY LOVE stories like this and want to hear more so please, please, please share in the comment box below your own example or others’ examples you’ve witnessed.

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Does Willingness Trump Readiness?

This is the time of year when we reflect on the past 12 months. We think about the things we had planned but didn’t accomplish. Or, we think about the things we’d like to accomplish in the coming new year. Oftentimes, for the things we didn’t get done, we make the excuse “I wasn’t ready.” That excuse also comes in handy when we feel scared or overwhelmed by our future goals.

We might say (and sometimes truly believe) we’re not ready to start a big goal. The thought goes like this:  “I’m not ready because X, Y, and Z aren’t in place yet.” So first, let me ask you, are you ready to tackle your goals? Now, let me answer that question for you.

Are You Ready?

No, you’re not. You never will be. Why? Because X, Y, and Z aren’t all going to perfectly line up at the same time. You’re waiting for the perfect time to get started, and there’s no such thing as the perfect time. In fact, there are a lot of things you won’t be able to perfect until AFTER you get started. The real question is not “Are you ready?” It’s “Are you willing?”

Does Willingness Trump Readiness?

Does willingness trump readiness? Yes, it does. For things to happen, you have to have the willingness to start with the first step toward your goals. There’s no telling if or when you’ll develop feelings of readiness. But the willingness will be the thing that helps you push beyond those feelings.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here. I’m not encouraging poor planning. You should always do your research and consider the cost and feasibility of your goals. That’s the first step you should always take. Willingness to take the first step will lead to wise decisions. And, it will keep you from remaining paralyzed and wasting time waiting for the perfect time.

No Regrets

This may sound a little familiar because I’ve blogged about this topic before. I do so because I know too many people who have regretted the things they didn’t do more than the things they did do. I want to encourage people to pursue their goals and their passions in a responsible way. It’s why I do what I do. It says so in my vision statement:

“I believe everyone should find the courage to discover and pursue their passions despite the obstacles they may face. I want to see people actively pursue their passions with flair (‘paNASH’) and confidence, along with responsibility to their purpose in life.”

I can look back on my own life and see what I would have missed out on had I waited for the perfect time to pursue my goals. If I had waited until I was married to go to Australia on a honeymoon like I wanted to instead of just going by myself on a month-long vacation for my 30th birthday, I’d still be waiting because (as of right now) I’m still single at age 42.

If I had waited until I had enough contacts, enough money saved, and a stable economy to leave my full-time job to start my own business like I did 8 years ago, I’d still be waiting. It wasn’t timing that got me off my butt to do those things, it was willingness.

Are you willing?

So I’ll ask you the question again:  Are you willing? If so, the paNASH Goal-Achievement Plan can help you stop procrastinating and start taking steps to not only setting your goals, but ACHIEVING them! Click here to subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a complimentary copy of the Goal-Achievement Plan so that this time next year, you can look back and see what all you can accomplish with just a little willingness!

Related blog posts:

Feeling trapped? 7 Possible Ways to Cope

A few weeks ago I took a mini-vacation down to my favorite area of Florida, Seagrove Beach on beautiful 30A. I was anxious to get my paddle board out on the beautiful emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but the beach’s warning flags told me I should re-think my plans. There was a purple flag indicating dangerous marine life, and a red flag indicating high hazards and strong currents. 

So, I improvised and took my board out on Eastern Lake, a rare coastal dune lake that runs under scenic highway 30A and eventually feeds into the ocean after a heavy rain or other inflow. Because it is a coastal dune lake, Eastern Lake is rather small. And since there hadn’t been a previous heavy rainfall to create an opening to the ocean, the sandy beach served as a barrier between the lake and the ocean.

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Feeling Trappedpicture1

I paddled from the beach end (the south end) where the salt water mixes with the fresh, to the marshy north end where I’m sure some alligators make their home. It was only about a mile and a half from the beach barrier to the marsh end of the lake. Needless to say, for someone who is used to paddling on rivers with an unlimited amount of distance available, I felt a bit trapped.

Unlike the ocean, I didn’t have a wide open space to explore, so all I could do was just keep paddling in one big circle around the perimeter of the lake. Despite all the beauty surrounding me and the change of scenery from my regular paddle route, the feeling of going around in circles made me frustrated. 

7 Possible Ways to Cope

I’ve thought about that day a lot since returning from my trip, feeling like there is some kind of lesson in it (and there probably is because there have been so many from my various paddling excursions). But what? As soon as I started writing this story, several possibilities came to mind:

  1. Sometimes we don’t always get what we want when we want it, so be patient.
  2. Make the best of your current situation.
  3. Just enjoy and be content with and grateful for the beauty of your current place/situation. Things will soon change for the better.
  4. Wait to make your move until conditions are more favorable.
  5. Pay attention to the warning flags.
  6. You’ll keep going in circles if you don’t step out of your comfort zone.
  7. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come open. Make your own opportunity.

Can You Relate?

I’m still not sure which of the above lessons I was supposed to learn that day. But the experience of feeling blocked in or trapped is one I’ve felt more than once in my career, whether it was when I was trapped in a toxic office environment, or when I was restless because I was not working in my purpose.

Can you relate?

In two instances, I waited patiently for the conditions to be right to make my exit, and spent my time wisely planning my course of action for when the appropriate time arrived. In one instance, I stopped focusing on the warning flags and took a leap of faith.

I know which approach has worked best for me, but in general I can’t say for sure that either of those approaches is better than the other. And I can’t say that there’s one approach that fits everyone experiencing the same frustrations because everyone’s journey is different. What I can do is coach my clients on the approach that works best for them, their personal situation, and their unique goals and strengths. Which lesson from the list above speaks most to your current situation?

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