Last weekend I had my first real swimming lesson.
Don’t laugh. I know that this milestone is something that is far more common for most six to ten-year-olds to reach. And for someone like me to be just now getting to it is a bit of a surprise. I’ve always been athletic. I’ve always been active. Seven full marathons and countless half-marathons in the books for me. With all of that on my athlete’s resume, one would surely think that at some point I should’ve learned how to swim.
Well, I didn’t. And it is ironic, too. I’m a water sign. I love the ocean more than the mountains, the city, the forest, pretty much anything. I’ve always loved to be near the water, to have it there, to look on it, to appreciate it, to enjoy its wares (like the lulling sounds of its waves and its delicious seafood provisions) but….whenever it came to actually getting IN the water beyond the deep end? Something more than just a mere doggy-paddle to get myself to the safety of the shore?
Another story entirely.
So many times I found myself getting close but never finishing it. Going out but not too far. Trying to float but only managing to flail. And getting out of the situation as soon as possible.
Why has that always been true? Simple. One word says it all: Fear.
OK, perhaps it will take a few more words, so here they are: fear of losing control (and a control that I probably never had in the first place). And the inability to trust that if I worked with the water and not against it that the water would have my back.
What a realization. What a stunning metaphor the water became, a metaphor for a struggle that didn’t have to be a struggle. Sure, learning to swim would be a challenge, but here is what the challenge has come to represent to me already: first, to accept that some things are scary, especially at first; second, to know that acquiring a new skill would not only push my comfort zone but also would open up a new world of possibilities for me; third, that although there might be potential dangers with it, if I were to go with the water rather than struggle against it, it will be far more likely to be kind to me and to and support me.
How does that relate to pursuing dreams of creating your own business? I bet you can see the parallels pretty clearly now, but let me tell you them as I see them: letting go, making a leap of faith, being willing to work hard and acquire new skills to open up your world (no matter how seemingly relevant to the bigger picture that they might be), and knowing that the Universe has your back. All can be experienced through going after something that you’ve always wanted to do, but for whatever reason couldn’t quite “close the deal”.
I want to tell you that you can take those first steps. You can do something big in this world (and something as “big” as you want it to be, too!). But sometimes it’s easier to approach big leaps by taking something of a more metaphorical leap, too. Beginning to break free of a life that no longer serves you and starting a new venture in business or in life WILL require that you take many steps that will challenge your comfort—GUARANTEED. But it doesn’t have to be so hard or so daunting. You can practice first, I promise! Using the game of metaphor, there are fun and fast ways that you can test the waters (so to speak) and try smaller new things that will help you gain confidence, let go a little more, and make all of the dreams that you want to pursue seem a little bit more doable. And who knows, you might even find a new hobby or activity that you love in the process!
So are you like me at all in that there’s something you’ve always wanted to try but have put it off for whatever reason? Do you want to learn to dance? Swim? Try yoga? Would you like to give a speech in front of a large auditorium without fear or sing karaoke (while sober!)? How about zip-lining, rock-climbing, or acting? Nothing is too big or too small if it means something to you. Take a few moments and think of something that excites you, something that might seem random but at the same time sounds like crazy fun to you. What would you like to try that might open up a whole new world for you? I’d love to hear about it, so share your ideas below!