For years I said, "I'm not a swimmer."
Swimming lessons as a child were never fun. I nearly hyperventilated every time I had to do the front crawl from one end of the pool to the other and I usually ended up crying because I felt like I couldn't breathe and I was going to die.
My mom had said a time or two, that being a lifeguard would be a fun summer job. I thought that sounded cool, but I knew I could never do that. I couldn't even pass all the levels of swimming classes.
Fast-forward a few years from that moment, when I had started running a lot more in high school and college. I was running 5Ks and even ran a full marathon. So I somehow convinced my brother and dad to do a sprint triathlon competition in northern Minnesota. The swimming part sucked. It was in a lake with hundreds of other people kicking your face while trying to haphazardly swim across the lake and very intentionally keeping our mouths shut to avoid any accidental drinking of the green lake water.
I genuinely hated the swimming part of the triathlon. But we did it. (Side-note: The bike part was hilarious as my brother and I were the only people riding mountain bikes in the race while our dad, I kid you not, rode a tandem bike by himself in the race).
Now as a 33 year-old woman, I swim twice a week. I'm not the best swimmer in that pool as I'm doing laps with men and women 25 years my senior. They've been swimming their whole lives and some can still do the cool flip at the end of the pool to seamlessly continue their laps. I cannot.
But I'm out there swimming. I get out there two mornings a week because it's good for me.
It's not always fun. It's hard. I have to push myself. It's worth the struggle.
After a few years of swimming as an adult for exercise, I no longer hyperventilate when I'm doing the front crawl. I can see how much progress I've made and I know that I'm taking care of my body.
And it makes me think about all the other times I'm terrified to try something new or take risks in life as it feels like I might drown, hyperventilate or just start crying as I believe all the lies that I tell myself about not being savvy or smart enough to make my goals a reality, not having the skills necessary to see success and not being able to make my dreams come true because I'm just not enough.
Just like my journey in the pool, it may not be a pretty or graceful start. But I have to start somewhere. I have to "just keep swimming" as our friend Dory says or "show up" as one of my favorite authors Brene Brown says in her book "Daring Greatly".
“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.” ― Brené Brown
So here's to all the other dreamers, or people swimming in the pool and not knowing if or how you're gonna make it to the other side, we're all in this together.
Let's take it one stroke at a time.
Let's jump in.