Drifters, Surfers, Drowners, and Sailors

There are four kinds of people you meet when you’re sailing the water of life.

This is a story that we tell on the roof of the tower. It’s a story about why Wizard Academy exists. It’s a story about the kind of human beings we hope to serve.

When you’re sailing on the ocean of life, the first type of person that you meet is The Drifter. You can tell a drifter because they’re floating along at the mercy of the wind, the waves, and the current. They don’t have their own energy, their own direction, or their own passions. 

You can often find a drifter by the default phrases they use. They’ll say things like, “Hey man, what’s the big deal? Don’t get so uptight. Just relax.” or “Hey man, it’ll all get figured out on its own. Just relax and let things happen. It’s no big deal.”

People sometimes choose that life. Or let that life choose them. They don’t tend to come to Wizard Academy because we ask them to accomplish things, make goals, and do something that matters. 

The second type of person that you meet is The Surfer. Surfers are doing a lot, but really they’re just fancy drifters. A surfer is a person who is always looking for the next wave to ride. They’re adrenaline junkies or opportunists hoping to take advantage of the ocean and the energy of the sea. There are some talents involved in surfing. But surfers don’t create the wave. They don’t create the current. They don’t create the moment. They just go looking for waves to ride. In business, they’re sometimes referred to as “shiny object” people. 

Sometimes surfers show up at Wizard Academy because they’ve heard we’re the new shiny object. But surfers don’t want to do the work, they just want to ride the wave. And that’s why we lose them. 

The third type of person that you meet when you’re sailing are Drowners.

This one requires a fairly large caveat.  

Everyone in their life will have to be rescued from drowning. Maybe chemically or financially. Maybe emotionally, or relationally. There are countless ways that life can take you down unexpectedly for a moment. That’s when you need your community to lift you back up and breathe air back into your lungs. 

That’s called life. That’s called being a human being. 

That is not what I’m talking about. 

What I’m talking about are professional Drowners. People who are relentlessly drowning. No matter how many times you lift them up, dust them off and try to help, they just drown themselves again. We try to avoid professional drowners because, if you don’t, you switch from living your life to becoming a full-time Coast Guard and Rescue mission. Drowners will suck the life out of everything that they touch, including you. That’s the time for healthy boundaries. There are other industries that rescue people, and we’re not one of them.

That leaves the fourth kind of person that you meet.. We call them The Sailors

It’s important to note, you can’t tell a sailor by their circumstances. 

You may meet a sailor when they’re in a moment with no wind and no current. That doesn’t make them a drifter. 

You may meet a sailor when the waves are going nuts, and they’re fighting to stay upright and ride it through to its finish. That doesn’t make them a surfer. 

You may meet a sailor who’s drowning. That doesn’t make them a drowner.

There’s two things that set the sailor apart from surfers, drifters, and drowners. A North Star and a Destination.

You have to have a North Star or a fixed guiding point. This is the thing by which you make all decisions. This is what everything else falls beside. This is the hill you die on. When faced with a choice, you look at which path takes you closer to your guiding point. That’s where journey will take you next.

But without a destination, a fixed point is simply an attractive sign post. The North Star is only valuable if you’re headed somewhere. 

You need to set in your mind where you’re headed, and more importantly, what it will look like when you get there. That means tangible, definable goals. Things even an outsider can see happen when you finally arrive. It can’t be, “Be successful” or “Be rich”. But it can be “Open a second location” or “Hire my tenth employee.”

And that’s why we’re here. 

Wizard Academy exists to help The Sailors find and define their North Star, find and define their destination, and equip them to get there. 

We’ll see you soon. 

Daniel Whittington – Chancellor