written by Angie Morgan
“Mom, if you just jump in, it’ll get warmer.”

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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