Dean Petty fell in love with surfing at a young age. He grew up on the coast of Maine, and after saving up for his first surfboard at the age of 12, surfing “quickly became an infatuation.” After graduating from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, he chose to pursue surfing full time in California, but soon learned that having a one-track mind wasn’t for him.
“It wasn’t checking the boxes I thought I would check.”
Dean realized that by making surfing the center of his life, he was getting less out of it; it became more work than fun. He then moved back to Nova Scotia, where he felt more at home with the small, tight-knit surfing community, had a solid group of friends, and could work towards establishing balance in his life.
Pursuing Positive Vibes
Upon returning to Nova Scotia, an acquaintance (now best friend and business partner) asked him to work as a sales representative at Anchored Coffee, a direct trade coffee company that is “transparently sourced, carefully developed, and consistently delicious.” One thing led to the next, and Dean eventually became the co-owner of Anchored Coffee.
“It’s a wicked, fun business.”
Dean’s life is hectic and his schedule is busy, but he loves what he does. A lot of his time is spent connecting with cool people while fostering a positive environment with good, fun energy. He explained that if the vibe of where coffee is roasted is dreary, then the product is going to reflect that. “If everyone is enjoying their work, listening to great music, and happy with each other, then it will taste better.”
Waves of Balance
Dean loves to surf, but he recognizes the importance of balancing it with his other interests and passions. He’s learned to prioritize his to-do list and work hard when the water’s flat, so that when the waves are good, he can afford to take a break. But, since Dean is so dedicated to his work, it’s sometimes hard to put it aside without feeling guilty when great waves suddenly appear.
“I’m learning to be okay with telling myself, “That doesn’t need to be done.”
Although surfing is fun, fast, and exciting, it forces Dean to focus, be present, and accept things as they occur. It can take a while to gain your balance, finally catch a wave, and surf with confidence. Then suddenly, the wind and ocean can change, and you must start all over. But just like everything else, if you truly love it, you keep trying.
“It’s never the same thing twice. It’s ever-changing. It’s a parallel for life.”
Whether he makes a good turn while surfing, or something finally comes together with his business, Dean loves what he does because of these moments of success. “It happens in surfing and it happens when things are running smoothly in the business. Those moments are what I live for.”
“I like the balance of having other things I can feel proud of.”
Lowering Expectations to Find Balance
One thing that has helped Dean find balance in his life is lowering his expectations. He’s accepted that to find joy in multiple areas in his life, he can’t focus or be the best at only one thing. “You have baskets and you have stones,” explained Dean. Equally distributing his stones – or his time and energy – amongst different “baskets” in life has allowed him to enjoy, care about, and succeed at multiple things.
Dean’s Questions for KYŌ:
- Is this change going to make me happy?
- Is my energy and time worth it?
- Is this going to lead to more balance?