Swim Workouts

Shed Your Skin: When Just Enough Just Isn’t Enough

“Swimmers take your mark.” Bang. You’re off the block, in the water, and swimming as fast as you can. You’re putting all you can into this event, striving to Achieve your best time. These are what my days are like. The alarm goes off and I am out of bed ready to take on the day, ready to give it my all. And while every day is not a race day, there is a goal I want to accomplish.

Nothing calms and clears my mind better than a good swim. Lately I’ve been thinking about the relationship between swimming and a normal day at the office. Like a day at the office, a swim workout can either be a good or bad one. Keep in mind, good or bad is not based on the day’s events or the workout itself, rather it’s my mindset and how I approach it.

The question is, do I challenge myself or is just enough okay?

Finding My Pace

My swim workouts consist of a warm up, the main set, and the cool down. My days in the office follow a relatively similar order – an assessment of the day ahead and what is needed for me to be successful (the warm up), the actual work day itself (the main set), and the wrap-up of the day (the cool down). With my swim workout there is a focus and emphasis for the day, it’s up to me to determine how to fully engage myself. Sometimes I have the choice of choosing the stroke I want and other times it’s determined by the coach.

This is exactly how I feel working at BeyondCurious. Each morning we kick off our day with All Hands, where we share our mood and our commitment to the team and ourselves for the day. This daily commitment is something I have chosen or it may be arbitrarily determined by others who are dependent on me to be successful.

This is ultimately where my mindset plays an important role. Do I want to challenge myself? Or, do I just do enough?

Shedding My Skin

With swimming you always get an interval of time provided by the coach. If it’s a “good day” I push myself to not just make the intervals, but work harder to get a best time or even opt for a faster interval if I don’t feel it’s challenging enough. If it’s a “bad day” I just do what is needed to ensure I make the times and complete the workout. This is where the biggest connection to my mindset resides. I have to make a choice – do I push myself?

Recently I had been stuck at this plateau of effort and results in my swimming. I wasn’t getting faster even though it felt like I was working harder. It wasn’t until I got some feedback from a teammate on my stroke technique, incorporating heavier weights at the gym and adding some running into my weekly workout routine that I was able to finally breakthrough the barriers and begin to have a faster time with a stronger more efficient stroke. These are the moments where you shed your skin and transform. The same applies at work. Just because you are working harder doesn’t mean you are going to get better results; it’s when you truly re-think your approach, ask for help, receive feedback, and learn new skills that you move to the next level.

Winning My Race

It’s not always easy. I’ve had very challenging months where it felt like I was in the wrong lane with an interval that felt like I was racing Michael Phelps, and desperately trying to keep up with my swim mates. And there are other times where I knew I was in the right lane, swimming at the right pace. Both situations have fostered my growth immensely.

Over the course of my time at BeyondCurious, I have grown immeasurably. I don’t think any of that would have been possible had I not been in an environment that challenges, supports and teaches me. It’s not always an easy path. You have to be willing to make mistakes and falter. No one jumps in the water and swims butterfly, it takes coaching, mentorship, trial and error, and feedback to succeed.

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