When I first set out to conquer the 4.4-mile Chesapeake Bay Swim http://www.bayswim.com, I thought I was ready. All year I had been swimming two or three times a week; I had completed a 2.4-mile swim; and I’d been swimming 1.4-miles routinely for the prior decade.
My first attempt was nearly successful, but I got pulled out just before the 4th mile. Then I was pulled out of my second attempt, as were many other swimmers, because of the current around the second mile. The conditions were not ideal.
I was determined to give it another shot, and this time it worked. In June of 2022 I completed the 4.4-mile swim, accomplishing my goal. I did it exactly in the time allocated to finish: 3 hours and 45 minutes.
Each of us has beliefs that shape how we think, feel, and act—our mindset. In The Way of the Seal: Think Like an Elite Warrior to Lead and Succeed, a book recommended by one of my clients, author Mark Divine outlines how to develop the confident mindset needed to address big challenges. Based on his experience as a Navy SEAL, Divine presents salient key takeaways such as “eliminating doubt through action” and “regroup, reframe and recharge.”
My perspective shifted when I discovered that I would need to train three to four times each week. I had considered joining another masters group to practice, but moving from thought to action was critical to my victory in that race. When my clients say that they’ve been thinking of taking action on a goal, project, or conversation but have been putting it off for too long, I see this. Once they act, they find that overcoming their doubts and moving to action helps them attain their goals. Some people need to regroup, reframe, and recharge their efforts toward certain goals.
So which qualities helped me succeed? My passion for swimming, my commitment to meeting this goal, and my determination all helped in my achieving this goal. Additionally, I can’t emphasize enough how vital my three coaches were in this victory. I now understand the value of having a diverse group of coaches to help you achieve your goals.
Many of my clients also are trying to win and achieve goals they’ve set for themselves. They have an idea of what it will take to get there and appreciate my coaching and any other assistance they can get, whether it’s from a manager who believes in them, a mentor who’s been there before, or colleagues who want them to succeed. They must use everything they know and everything they’ve experienced. To win, they also must know and leverage their strengths as well as be aware of their areas for improvement.
In the book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Liz Wiseman examines how leaders can create a positive impact by amplifying the results of others. She advises creating a starting point, extending a concrete challenge, and orchestrating early wins. I like doing that for myself and for my clients. Right at the beginning of our engagements, I start working with clients on their goals and having them act. They’ll find their path if they’re allowed to try, fail, regroup, and try again.
The Way of the Seal also addresses an approach to failure. Divine talks about VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous), an acronym coming into more popular use as a way to characterize the world we live in. Divine says that we are more than ever living in a VUCA world and that we must be able to excel in chaos. The chapter “Fail Forward Fast” talks about taking risks--executing with velocity and agility—and bouncing back quickly from any fails.
Many of the leaders I work with can get overwhelmed by the demands of needing to be strategic, execute, lead a team, and collaborate with numerous important stakeholders both internally and externally. Some people are willing go above and beyond the call of duty in order to succeed. Their capacity to pursue their next objective will be increased by their ability to excel in chaos, fail forward fast, and execute with velocity and agility.
As I was sharing my swimming story with one of my Canadian uncles, he asked if I had considered swimming Lac St-Jean http://traversee.qc.ca/en/. I checked the swim distance: you can swim .6 mile to 19 miles. My coach Rob, from Colburn Sports Training http://colburnbodyconcepts.com, encouraged me to not stop training once I reached my goal, but to keep going at the same pace. Since then, I’ve done a 2-mile swim in 1 hour and 15 minutes. My time is good but could be better. Now I am contemplating a 3.1-mile swim as a possible next goal and adventure at Lac St-Jean.
I have a few more goals for the next year. I love a good challenge and enjoy the buildup to the goal. I realize I might not reach my goals, that I might fail along the way, and that I might need to learn to excel in chaos, fail forward fast, and work on my velocity and agility just like my clients must.
What’s your next challenge? What are you trying to achieve? How good are you at navigating chaos, failing forward fast, and leveraging velocity and agility?
If you are interested in learning more about our services, you can visit our website at www.desormeauxconsutling.com or contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org.