Get in the Water: Jumping into New Skills Head First
That was direct coaching from my youngest son, Gardner, who was urging me into the pool last weekend at the local Y. He thought I was taking my time because I didn’t like the cold. While true, there was another reason – I was stalling because I was intimidated by the process of swimming in public.
You see, I’ve never swam laps before. I’ve never had formal training, I don’t really know the rules of the pool, and I knew – going in – that my lap debut wasn’t going to be elegant.
So why was I even there to begin with? My community hosted its first half Ironman triathlon last summer. On race day, I was able to watch parts of the event and I felt a pull to be in the competition, so much so that I thought, “Why am I not doing this?”
I then realized two key things: I don’t swim and I don’t bike. When registration day opened, though, I decided that I can learn to swim and ride (beyond the rudimentary swimming and biking skills that I have). Knowing that I had 10 months to prepare, I went for it.
Making the decision to enter the race was easy. I just had to complete an online form and shell out some cash. Learning a new skill, however, isn’t. Plus, there are all sorts of insecurities that come along with being new at anything – I don’t want to look stupid … Look, an 8 year old is better than me … I should’ve learned this a while ago … I don’t even think I’m wearing the right gear … .
This sounds silly, right?
Yet, I know I’m not the only one who feels apprehensive and self-conscious when attempting something for the very first time.
Now, I recognize that not everyone reading this will have the desire to race a triathlon. But there’s no doubt that you want to try something new. Here are some thoughts that continue to encourage me not just in this triathlon endeavor, but whenever I journey into the unknown.
- It’s easy to make a decision. It’s hard to follow that decision with action. Action, though, is where the real growth happens.
- Nerves, insecurities, self-doubt … all these things are real whenever you put yourself out there. Combat them with positive self-talk and remind yourself of why you started on the path to begin with.
- When things get hard, when you feel like quitting, that’s when you need to dig in and be gritty. That’s how you build resilience, self-reliance, and self-assurance.
- Your journey towards goal accomplishment won’t be paved smoothly. Expect bumps, setbacks. But don’t lose sight of your greater goal.
I have zero doubt that I’ll keep you posted on this training journey. (For my friends who hear me grumble, please remind me that I chose to do this.) On that note, I bet you’ve got some great goals lined up – what are they?
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