Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I did that?

This is a post about swimming.  About reaching for something that seems impossible.  About allowing others to have the faith in you that propels you forward.

Yesterday I had one of those crucial, pivotal workout experiences.  We were at swim team, and we were all warmed up.  The coach handed out kick boards, and rattled off our set:  4 sets of 50 yards freestyle kick on a 1 min 10 sec interval.  We all looked at each other.  We looked at the coach.  We asked him if he was kidding.  That's a tough set.  Most of us SWIM our 50 yard freestyle on a 40-50 second split.  So to ask us to manage this split seemed impossible.

But Coach couldn't be swayed.  We were going to do it.  If we didn't make it, we didn't make the interval.  But we needed to try.

We took off.  I knew I needed to stay right next to the woman to the right of me (the 2nd fastest person on the team) if I had any hope of making the interval.  It really isn't a big deal if we don't make it;  in fact, if you miss the interval, you usually get a longer rest than the people who make it (you default to a 10 second rest between sets instead of resting in the remaining interval time).  Last Thursday I had successfully managed to stay with her for the first set out of any drill we were given.  I was absolutely driven to do no less this time.

Set 1...  All 5 of us working the drill hit the wall about 6 seconds ahead of the next interval.  We all looked at each other with fear, because they only get worse from there.

Set 2...  2 people start to lag behind.  3 of us are still going strong.  We make it to the wall, this time with 4 seconds.  The third set in a series of 4 is the hardest;  you're halfway there, but you aren't on the last one.  The end isn't close enough yet to give you that extra motivation.  We know this.

Set 3...  It's just the woman to the right of me and I now.  everyone else has dropped the interval.  We both hurt.  My legs are burning.  I don't see how we are going to finish.  We make it in with 3 seconds to spare.  We are hating it.  Our coach is cheering us on.  We can tell he is a little surprised we are still making the interval.  It's time to go...

Last one.  Gosh, I just want to be done.  We're racing against the clock.  I can see that a 10 yards from the finish I have just 9 seconds left in the interval.  That's when I realize... oh my gosh.  We made it.  We survived the "impossible" set.

When I was still selling Mary Kay, there was a popular saying:  If you could not believe in yourself, borrow the belief that your sales director has in you.  When you have belief, you can accomplish things you never thought possible.

It's pretty true of all things.  Yesterday, my coach and my team mate believed I could beat the interval.  I didn't believe it myself.  But I allowed their belief in me to carry me through.  4 weeks ago, we would do the same drill on a 1 min 30 sec interval, and that seemed hard.  My belief in myself grew this morning.

My coach described our progress as a team as "miraculous".  I have to agree, because even more important than the fact that we all made it for at least some of the sets is that we all pushed beyond our previous boundaries.  Even the people who finished behind were doing a 1 min 30 sec interval.  Those people 4 weeks ago were falling behind trying just to make that particular interval.  We have all gotten better, and it wasn't until that very moment that we realized how much.

I ask you today to think about what area in life you need to "borrow" belief in.  Then find someone who truly believes in you, and ask them if you can borrow on that belief.  I know that they will be happy to oblige you.  And if you can't think of anyone else, please, by all means, let me know.  I would love to believe in your impossible for you until you are ready to handle it for yourself.

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