When I was a triathlon coach with the local club, I loved introducing newcomers to the joys of open water swimming in a wetsuit.
The transition from the pool to open water is often spiked with trepidation. The biggest fears: What if I sink? There are no walls to hang onto if I get tired. It’s murky, I can’t see where I’m going. There are too many waves… and, OMG, what if I find myself swimming alone?
But I had a juicy secret to reveal later. The bigger their fear, the bigger my secret smile. I anticipated their first lake swim with impish glee.
Them: Enter the lake with wetsuits on.
Me: “Make yourself sink!”
Let’s just say they got an “A+” for trying. Sinking in a triathlon wetsuit is impossible. After a few more attempts and laughs, we headed out.
Once the primary dread of sinking was faced and crushed, the other concerns became immaterial. No matter if they got tired or needed to spot the next buoy or rode out some waves, they would not sink. And they weren’t alone. I was right there with them the whole time.
Open water swim #2 the following week was a breeze. Instead of their energy being consumed by dread, it was re-focused to build stamina, efficiency, and confidence.
This experience epitomizes the courage of those who face their fears and still dare to pursue their dreams despite the waves, the dips, and not seeing a clear path ahead. This is why I love being a life coach.