I finally went swimming yesterday. And yes, I know that’s not a shocking announcement – at least not until I put it in context for you. Because here’s the thing: I have spent the last FIVE years saying I’m going to get back into the pool for a weekly swim. But I never actually made it happen until today.
All those years, I wanted to be someone who swam. I knew it was good for me and I even knew I would enjoy it. But I always had a good excuse as to why the present moment wasn’t the right time for me to start swimming again. Here’s a sampling: swimming meant joining a gym, and a gym membership cost money. I didn’t like the pool hours. I didn’t have the right swimsuit. I’d lost my goggles. I was pregnant. I was recovering from being pregnant. I was pregnant again. (And yes I know you can swim while pregnant – it probably would have done me some good!)
My list of excuses went on and on.
But all those excuses were just cover-ups for what was really going on. The real reason I didn’t want to get back in the pool again is that I was feeling afraid and a little embarrassed at the prospect of being a beginner at something again. Like most high-achieving women, I like to be good at the things I do. (There, I said it.) And I don’t feel like I’m good at things in that beginner stage so I simply avoid doing them.
I was thinking about all of this yesterday and feeling pretty tense as I sat on the edge of the pool, poised to dive in and swim my first lap. And then I realized I had a choice: I could sit there judging myself for being the slowest person in the pool or for being the swimmer with the sloppiest form. I could even turn around and skip the swim entirely.
Or I could have a little compassion toward myself and give myself permission to be a beginner at something again.
That shift in my thinking completely changed my perspective. I jumped in and swam my heart out. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it felt awkward. But I found myself having fun while I was doing it because I wasn’t judging myself for being a beginner the whole time.
I’m sharing this story with you because you too likely have the opportunity to start something new in your life. Whether you’re trying out a new career path or you’re launching a new business or you’re exploring an exciting opportunity in your existing business, it’s hard to voluntarily put yourself in a position where you feel vulnerable and inexperienced again.
But I want to encourage you to do it anyway because it’s the only true way to grow.
So this week, give yourself permission to be the student. The novice. The newcomer who is allowed to make mistakes and then learn from them. Because if you can do that, you’ll be free to move forward and do that scary new thing without judgment.
In it’s place, you’ll just feel freedom and a whole lot of joy.
To believing your time is now,