What I learned from open water swimming

As a relative novice to open water swimming, I had never imagined that open-water swimming would actually be so different to swimming in a pool. I found it difficult to swim in a straight line. In fact, during the 2018 Serpentine 2 mile swim I actually ended up doing 2.2 miles! Why? Because I struggled to swim in a straight line. Unlike pool swimming, lakes don’t have lines that help you to stay on track.

I had three choices: 1) keep sucking at open-water swimming, 2) quitting, c) getting some help. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it (I’ve learned not to fear it and it’s changed my life), so I decided to get some open water coaching to help me. These are the invaluable lessons I learned from the experience, and how I’ve been using them to coach my business clients since:

The Importance of Sighting

In open-water swimming, sighting is when you lift you head slightly every now and then to ensure you are heading in the right direction. With no lanes to keep your aim in check, this is extremely important.

As my coach was explaining and demonstrating it to me, I couldn’t help thinking of comparisons to running a business. As a business leader, it’s vital to take a moment every now and again to look at your business: you want to ensure that it is heading in the right direction.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Training is vital if you want to get it right. Nobody was born knowing how to swim (let alone in open water), so why should you? The same applies to your business: if you are not committed and consistent with your efforts, it will be much more difficult. Practice your leadership and sales skills, practice how to deliver powerful presentations, practice your elevator pitch. Eventually, you’ll nail it.

Don’t Freak Out

Many athletes panic the moment the gun goes off. They panic because they don’t know how to deal with the perceived (I insist, perceived) threat to their wellbeing or survival. The same happens in business: sometimes, things can get nerve wracking.

So how do I deal with this, you might ask? First, find the root of your fear: what is your brain reacting against? The unfamiliarity? The potential consequences of a poor performance? Whether in open water or in business, try to rationalise your emotions. And breathe.

In the context of running your business, you will need to learn how to keep your need for perfection in check, how to delegate, and how to prioritise (among other things, but there’s not enough space in this article!).

Your Coach is Your Best Friend

Whether in sports or in business, your coach will become your professional confidante. A person who sees and believes in your potential. Someone you can rely on to see your goals through, whatever they are.

I love being that person for my clients. I always encourage the clients that I coach and train to take time out each month to work ‘on their business’ rather than ‘in their business’, and the results are overwhelming.

What about you? How do you reflect on your business to ensure it’s going in the right direction?

By the way have you been able to find me in the picture?

If you are experiencing any challenges right now whether business or personal and would like my help then please call me on 020 8337 5937 or pop me an email to gary@garymorgan.co

Thank you for reading.

Kind Regards,

Gary

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