Treading Water in Your Business

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

This morning, I was treading water. Metaphorically speaking. I thought to myself, this feels really bad and awfully familiar. Do you remember how you learned to swim? For me it came at age 10 at my Campfire Girls summer camp. I was a late bloomer swimmingly speaking. We lived in Lompoc, California and in the 50’s they didn’t have a pool in our town and Mom or Dad would drive my brother and me to Santa Maria where they had the Santa Maria Plunge. And plunge is practically all I did. Jump in the water and bounce around, get out and jump in again.

When I went to camp for the first time, I went through the regular sequence swimming lessons progressing from the designation of pollywog, graduating to frog (I didn’t become a fish that summer much to my regret.)

Part of the test for one of the designations was treading water for a certain number of minutes. I wasn’t a good water treader. I would thrash around, go under and have to start over. It was an exhausting, discouraging challenge. I remember after one failure to pass the test, I was in deep water and I knew I was going to go under...again… and I just flipped onto my back, put my arms out and floated for a moment or two.

At that second, I looked up at the sky. I hadn’t even been aware that it was there. The wind was blowing slightly and there were a couple of clouds in the sky and trees around the pool. It was beautiful and the breeze cooled my face. I let go of the struggle, breathed and realized that there is more than one way to stay alive in the water. One involved a lot of work (that I was really lousy at) and the other was serene, calm and relaxing.

Now mind you, that didn’t get me through the treading water test, because I was playing by somebody else’s rules, but in life, don’t we often make the rules for ourselves? Look at your life and business now. Is there some area where you are just keeping your head above water? What would happen if you took a breath, stopped struggling and just looked up and floated for a minute? Your might get a different view of where you are and what is really important.

It is so easy to get caught up in “the tests” that life presents and we accept without thinking. We play by outdated rules so fiercely that we can’t see that there might be an easier, gentler solution to accomplishing the same thing.

Today, where can you let go of the struggle and let yourself relax into a new way of thinking and handling things?

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