When You Think About It, We Are All A School Of Fish Making Our Way Through Life
As I swam the two miles yesterday through some pretty rough waters in the AnnualDwight Crum Pier to Pier competition, I had a lot of time to think as I raised my arms out of the water, stroke after stroke after stroke. So many things came to mind, but one thing in particular struck a cord. In life and in business, we are like a school of fish making our way through many different situations, challenges, defeats, and triumphs.
Sometimes we face calm waters, while at other times we are challenged with strong tides, currents that are against us, and big waves that come down on us reminding us to never turn our backs on life. But we can BE with the “sea” and know that she is holding us and challenging us for a reason. Even though the currents and tides were against us yesterday, the 1300 swimmers kept pushing on. And the cool thing about this is that we are had the same goal: to get to that finish line during our own journey, no matter what it took.
As I hung out with my friends I train with before the race, I got caught up in their excitement and how proud they were to be at yet another competition they had trained for. We were a team. We have goals. We work with each other to reach those goals. We support one another. And most importantly, we never leave anyone when they are out in the “sea” alone.
I am writing this quick note to explain what I was thinking while looking down into the darkness of the sea, weaving around swimmers, sometimes even pushing them to get out of my way, and looking up to the sky when it was time to breathe. This race was about how people set goals, train, and go into a world of uncertainty and the unknown. Sure we could all swim. But the journey was going to be different for all of us. We were individuals supporting one another and getting support even from strangers, persevering, being brave, and being that “school of fish” that we already are today.
What hit me is that these things are what we need so much more as a country, and especially in our workforce. During the race there were leaders who wanted to get to the finish line to win or beat last year’s times. There were others competing to see if they could even swim the two miles in under two hours. And there were folks like me who wanted to challenge themselves to be the best they can be no matter how long it took to get to the finish line.
There were heretics, leaders, followers, linchpins, managers, and individuals who were evolving because of this challenge we were taking on. If people in organizations, and entrepreneurs imagined themselves out there in the “sea” that truly has the power while also holding us, maybe we will better understand that they we are not alone and that we have what it takes to finish a race, confidently tackle an assignment, be ready to kick butt at the next talk we have to give in front of our co-workers, and the courage to ask for a raise and the equal pay we deserve.
Yes, life is all about the journey, and there are a lot of piers that are far away for us to get to. Getting to those piers is also about how you see it moment by moment, how you choose to face it, how you learn to BE with it, and how you can reach your goals or dreams, whatever or how far away they are.
While you swim to that pier, or even dog paddle, know that you are taking that leap of faith at work and in your personal life. You are also inspiring others to reach their goals so you all can evolve. And imagine how cool it is to be swimming with others who have the same interest. Even though you may feel as though at times you may feel that you are swimming upstream in life and at work, remember that with practice, patience, asking for support from others, and believing in yourself, you too can swim that two miles in the sea. In fact, you can swim a lot farther than you know.
Reach upward and go for it. You will have many finish lines in life. Know that you can face any challenge you are faced with if you believe in yourself and what you have to offer to others. You are always swimming with that school of fish and will have someone at your side smiling at you, holding your hand, and rooting you on. You are not alone and have so much to give in life. Enjoy the swim!