I’m having an interesting experience at the moment as I learn how to swim.
Both of my last 2 big goals – running 10 back to back marathons and running 100 miles in 24 hours – although challenging, were extensions of what I could already do.
I was on familiar ground; some way along a sliding scale and all I had to do was move along a few more notches.
Swimming is different.
Because I have to get ON the scale before I can begin to move along it.
I’m a complete beginner, and I’m loving it.
It’s turning out to be such a powerful experience, that I want to recommend you have a go yourself.
Not with swimming necessarily (though it’s as good a place as any if like me you’re as aquatic as a stone), but with anything you’d like to do and currently cannot.
Learning new skills means growth.
As a beginner you have the fastest rate of learning, which means the fastest rate of growth.
In fact I’m astounded by the opportunities I have to learn things right now, as my attention is focused on them.
Yesterday for example as I prepared for my 2nd session in the pool, I noticed that I tend to faff around a lot when I’m getting ready.
Presumably in an effort to put off the inevitable moment where I climb into the pool.
I also noticed that I feel strangely intimidated.
There was a guy in my lane this morning hammering up and down doing all kinds of strange drills.
A ‘proper swimmer’.
I kept worrying that I was going to get in his way, or that he was wondering why on earth I was stopping every 2 lengths for a breather.
Everybody seemed to know what they were doing except for me which is a ridiculous thing to worry about given that I KNOW I’m a beginner and really don’t know what I’m doing just yet!
I have also noticed how the leap from swimming 50m in a pool to 2.4 miles in open water is more MENTAL than physical.
Purely from a physiological perspective I know that it’s possible, but it’s testing my power of imagination to the limits as I try and visualise myself about to start an ironman!
What’s important right now though, is that I’m on the scale.
Which means I can start to move along it.
I’m a beginner, and it feels liberating.
I’m in a rites of passage on my way to competency.
It’s easy to shy away from things we’re not very good at.
But being a beginner is the only starting point.
Whether your goals include losing weight, running faster or further, becoming stronger, getting a promotion, learning a new skill, starting a business…
Embrace the opportunity to be a beginner and commit to achieving competency