Moving Forward

Cute little girl learning to swim with coach at the leisure center

We all have a purpose.  It may not be to lead a nation, but it could be to simply lead a child.  One thing that is certain and that is:  whatever the purpose, there will be challenges in your path.  Our job is to grow as leaders so that we may fulfill our purpose.  In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, Tony Robbins said that one of the secrets to his success is that he never stops trying to improve.  “Either you grow or you die.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Like a lot of people, I don’t particularly enjoy exercising.  It’s hard and many times it isn’t fun.  For a long time, I simply wouldn’t do it.  After I got out of the military (and away from those dreaded early morning workouts), the last thing that I wanted to do was exercise.  However, as I got older, I realized that exercising is necessary if one wants to stay active and independent as long as possible.  My favorite form of exercise now is swimming.  I normally swim laps in an Olympic size outdoor pool.  It is a great way to exercise my muscles and do cardio at the same time.  Also, it is a great way to keep cool in the Texas heat.  Recently, I showed up at the pool to do my workout and found out that it was closed due to the weather.  The good part about the facility that I use is that it has an indoor pool as well.  Since the outdoor pool was closed, I decided to use the indoor pool instead.

I found that swimming indoors is different.  First of all, the pool isn’t as big.  Second, when one pool is closed, there are a lot more people trying to use the confined indoor space.  After a few minutes of trying to swim laps, I gave up and simply began to tread water.  Treading water involves staying in one spot and simply keeping your head above water.  It is a basic swim stroke that every beginner learns as a way to survive in the event that you accidentally fall into a pool.  During my workout, I found that treading water is actually more difficult than doing laps.  It is much easier and much more enjoyable to move forward than to stay where you are.

In life, everyone faces circumstances where they must decide to stay where they are or move forward.   Maybe it involves starting a new business or starting a family.  The process is the same.  Change can be hard and uncomfortable but as the saying goes you’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit.  When facing a similar challenge, I rely on three steps to help gain clarity and commit to moving forward.

Seek wisdom – Many times, you are not the first person to face a particular challenge.  Find others who have faced this challenge and learn from them.  The additional benefit here is that you will find others who were successful with this challenge.  If they can do it, so can you.

Make a plan – If you want to accomplish anything, you must have a plan.  A mentor once told me “Life is like a house.  You can’t be successful in building either one without a plan.”  As I got older, I found this to be excellent advice.

Just do it – Nike’s slogan is simple but very true.  If you want to accomplish something, at some point you just have to do it.  Realize that with the first two steps you are preparing to accomplish your assignment.  Now, you just have to find the opportunity.  When you do, go forward with confidence.  Preparation plus opportunity will always equal success.




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