I have been a squad swimmer for about 17 years, 3 times a week, minimum of 3.4 kms per session. Regular. As. Clockwork.
For the last 8 months my swimming has not been up to par. Effort has been present. Certainly willingness and commitment. But my times have been down.
Last week my coach got me to do one thing completely differently. I had to stretch my arms out so much, over exaggerating the movement so I felt like I was slightly sculling the water before I shifted into the catch part of the stroke. Phew…it felt so weird. It was hard. It hurt muscles I had not felt for a while.
Then my coach added a few other little changes. I had to pause my head turn to breath. Now that made me feel very discombobulated. And I had to keep my kick continuous. Ok, so this is like learning to drive a manual car, when you feel like arms and legs and head and eyes are all going everywhere and surely I will never be able to get this.
Really really weird, really uncomfortable, difficult. And occasionally I was feeling myself move through the water in a much more efficient way. But only occasionally.
The changes in my life outside of the pool have been massive. Scary. Disorienting.
I know inside I am being called to a much higher ‘something’ but while I sense the something, I am unsure exactly what it is, or if I know what it is, how to describe it or make it manifest. And on the way to this, I have had to let go of many things.
The wonderful metaphor of the swimming, the gift it has provided for me this last week, has been the opportunity to look at deep change.
I knew I needed to do something different. My swimming was going backwards.
The change, while on the surface looks minor, in experience is massive.
I had to get the objective view of a coach, because I would never have been able to see what I couldn’t see was wrong with my stroke without him.
And then I have had to feel like I am way off course while I adjust to the new way of being. I had to be willing to let go of what felt normal.
I have been considering the famous comment of Albert Einstein. ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.’
What has been my thinking in the past to the present, and what do I need to change in my thinking for a different result? Surely this change will also feel really uncomfortable. Even alien.
Therefore, lets examine my sacred cows. All of them. Sacred cows like….
I couldn’t do that?
This feels uncomfortable.
Would this be trying to squeeze a round peg into a square hole?
Does this fit with my integrity?
Does this fit with the picture (rightly or wrongly) of who I am?
This is where the need for a coach is so important. We cannot see what we cannot see. Until we can see it. Or as Clare Graves said, people cannot be until they are.
But not just any coach, because there are many who will overlay their world view on yours. Having me go out and sell cigarettes to make a living would be a violation of my life. Not the slaughter of a sacred cow. I would much rather do something more honest for me, like wait tables, or clean toilets, even if selling cigarettes earned me many times more income.
Seeking the advise of some hard headed commercial person, they would have me sell the metaphorical cigarette. (Also known as prostitution, which really is about selling your soul) Not because they are bad people necessarily, but because their world view is so different to mine. The money first, always…forget about the soul, or integrity…
So to find a coach who see’s me, knows me, my truth, my gifts, my shadow…and who wants to see my light shine brighter, not duller, this is the kind of coach you need. Just like my swim coach, I trusted him to see what I needed to do that would make a positive difference. But without his input, I would be still lost, maybe never figuring it out.
And then it’s the practice, practice, practice as the change takes hold. It feels awkward, ugly, strange. I am unsure if I am doing it right. Again, that is what the trusted coach is for. Go left a tiny bit, more elbow, keep your little finger up….micro adjustments on top of the macro. Without this I would not be able to embed the change. And I may go off course.
To pay for someone to see what we simply cannot see, and to be able to do it in total alignment with the truth of who we are…this is a worthy investment. That is, if you are up for the very ‘in your face’ truth…because often what we cannot see about us is scary ugly.
Lucky me, I have many coaches in my life…because I want the lessons and the oversight to come hard and fast, delivered with love.
What are your sacred cows…? What needs to change in your thinking? Doing? Please share here…
And yes, if you are interested in having me coach you, send me an email reply and we can talk.