I trust all is well with you and that you are excited about life!
I am training someone to swim and I must say I am enjoying it a lot. As a matter of fact it has made me rediscover my love for swimming. It helps that the person I am training is a fast and determined learner! I also train my two daughters every Friday and I love it!
So why did I start with this introduction? Well, I was driving from my daughters’ school after dropping them off and for some reason I started thinking about swimming. Specifically, I started about the shallow end and the deep end. I was thinking about how people who can’t swim are terrified by water and the deep end. I was the same way before I learned how to swim: it was terrifying. To make matters worse, when I was learning to swim in high school, other students would playfully (nothing playful about it!) pull you into the deep end or swim under water and pull you down.
The older you are, the more terrifying it is to learn how to swim. Actually, the older you are the less likely you are to put yourself through the “terror” and commitment of learning how to swim. This is not surprising – why learn when you have gotten as far as you have in life without knowing how to swim?
Anyway, I am not trying to encourage you to learn how to swim, though I believe it is important. I am more interested in sharing with you an insightful analogy that occurred to me today.
Every swimming beginner starts in the shallow end. There may be a few who start in the deep end but I doubt it! I bet even Michael Phelps started in the shallow end. So we can agree everyone starts in the same place. However, some people progress faster than others. The ultimate test for whether you can swim is being able to swim in the deep end and being able to float in the deep end. In simplistic terms, swimming beginners fall into three main categories; a) those that are courageous and venture into the deep end sooner than others b) those that progress normally and eventually make it to the deep end, and c) those that never get out of the shallow end.
It turns out this is a great analogy for life! We all start in the same place! Naturally we start at birth, but more so, this analogy of beginning in the same place, the “shallow end”, applies to everything in life! No one starts anything knowing or “in the deep end”. This literally applies to everything in life: school, careers, sports, business, relationships, finances etc. Even those who end up being the best in their respective fields started off without a clue i.e. in the shallow end. Bill Gates ventured into business without a clue, he had to learn. Michael Jordan was not born playing basket ball. He started out like everyone else, in the shallow end of basket ball. He was even cut from his high school basket ball team because he was not good enough!
So, assuming we start in the same place, the only difference in where we end up in our respective areas of life (career, business, finances, relationships etc) is determined by which category we fall in to: a) the courageous who venture into the deep end sooner than the rest, b) those who progress normally and eventually, eventually make it to the deep end (pardon the repetition but notice the emphasis), and c) those who never get out of the shallow end.
Which category do you fall in to? How is your career progressing? How are your finances? How are your relationships? You can apply this to anything in your life.
I want to encourage you not to be the last group. Don’t settle for the shallow end! Don’t settle for the shallow end of your career! You were created with specific gifts and talents to succeed in your purpose in life! You have much to offer and people need what you have to offer.
The shallow end is a starting place not a destination! Will it take courage to venture in the deep end of your life’s purpose, passion, and goals? Absolutely, but courage is not the absence of fear, rather it is taking action regardless of fear. In swimming, beginners use floatation devices the first time they venture into the deep end. You can do the same and use “floatation devices” in your life to venture in the deep end. Floatation devices in life can be your faith and prayer, friends you can lean on, personal coaches, books written by people you would like to emulate etc. You can create your own floatation device! Whatever you do, don’t settle for the shallow end!
One more thought – if for no other reason you need to move on to the deep end to create space in the shallow end for those who are beginning. If for no other reason, you need to move on to the deep end so that you can be the one coaching those who are beginning.
There is one more thing that is true for all of us. We get older each day. Like I mentioned in the beginning, the older you are, the less likely you are to put yourself through the terror of learning how to swim because the argument that you have gotten as far in life without learning to swim is very compelling! Also, every time you happen to be at the swimming pool, any small desire you have to learn how to swim vanishes the minute you see small kids learning how to swim in the shallow end. You think, “There is no way I am going to learn with them, it is embarrassing!
These excuses are somewhat acceptable for swimming, because the argument you don’t need to learn how to swim is plausible. However, similar excuses are not acceptable in your life, not if you want to be happy.
You need to be in the deep end in your career or business to be happy. You need to be in the deep end in your finances to be happy. You need to be in the deep end in your relationships to be happy. And most importantly you need to be in the deep end in your core purpose in life to be happy. If you are not there yet, you have to start in the shallow end regardless of your fear and regardless of “who will be in the shallow end learning with you”.
So, for whichever area you are not happy with or are not swimming in the deep end in your life, register for “swimming classes” today. Start in the shallow end and determine to take action despite your fears until you get to the deep end. You can do it, but you have to start today!
In closing, I must applaud the person I am training, because in less than a month, he is already swimming in the deep end! Yes, he is using a floatation device, but nonetheless he is swimming in the deep end. He is definitely in the first category! You can do the same!