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What swimming taught me about business & life

Swimming has not only given me bad tan lines and broad shoulders (which I used to dislike but have come in useful many times - the broad shoulders that is), it has also taught me a lot about running a business, and life. ⭐ Relax to achieve speed. To achieve easy speed, it is a matter of relaxing the parts of your body that aren’t helping you swim and are robbing your energy. Similarly in business and life, there are times when we must let go of certain areas or tasks, and delegate, outsource or just pause them, in order to concentrate our force and gain momentum. ⭐ Don’t forget the basics and stay streamlined. Staying streamlined is a foundation skill of swimming. It is where I start when I teach swimming, but also something I always come back to even with my advanced swimmers. In business, it is about making and keeping things simple(r), e.g. by automating certain processes and eliminating waste, which leaves time and energy for what matters and we are best at. ⭐Breathing out is as important as breathing in. In swimming, learning how to breathe rhythmically and in a relaxed fashion, is crucial to supply our muscles with oxygen, otherwise we get tired very quickly. The same is true for running a business, and it also helps me to keep my stress level down and stay focused. ⭐Set a goal, be disciplined but more importantly learn to love the journey. In swimming, both when I teach it, and in my own training, it helps to set goals, as they keep me and my students focused, motivated and challenged. However, we don’t become a great swimmer overnight and it is not enough to talk about it. It takes practise, discipline, resilience and love for the journey, to become a great swimmer. In business too, few are successful overnight. You need a vision to give you direction and focus, but talking about it is not enough. ⭐ It's about a positively tuned mindset. No matter how talented a swimmer we are, if we have a negatively tuned mindset it will be hard to keep going and achieve our goal. It is exactly the same in business and life, if we don't believe in ourselves, it is very hard to endure. ⭐ Keep an eye on your self-care battery. In swimming, physical strength is important, and we need to eat well, sleep enough and rest in between training sessions. However, mental and emotional strength is equally important, which makes it so important to enjoy the journey, but also make sure that we spend time doing other things that bring us joy and energy. The same is true when we run a business. ⭐ Get a coach. To make look swimming effortlessness takes a lot of practise, self-observation and self-awareness. A coach can help with that and identify our blind spots, but also help with all the points above. Personally, I would not be where I am now - in swimming, life and business - without the support of my coaches and mentors who helped me to identify my blind spots, but also encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, and keep going when things got tough.

Whether we are trying to improve ourselves as a swimmer, a business person, parent, or anything else, the only way to build on where we are, is through realistic assessment of our strengths and weaknesses, followed by planning what we need to work on, setting goals, and monitoring our progress. This is hard work, and to make it as pleasant and rewarding as possible, I find that the suggestions above, help me and my clients / pupils to stay the course.

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