We had a compelling conversation with one of our swimmers last week discussing the future, goals what was needed to get from here to there. We coaches have these threads of conversation regularly. Our swimmer spoke of things possible in the future, even opportunities to swim professionally, though the next words were, “But I know the odds are really slim.”
We thought about this for a minute and replied that the odds were actually really good at pulling something like that off. Raised eyebrows questioned, “How could that be?”
Pretty simple we said, “So few people really go all out.”
How hard is it to get a 3.5 GPA? Not that hard really. You need to go to school every day, sit up front, take some notes, turn in the assignments, study some, and take the tests. But having a 3.5 GPA doesn’t mean you have actually learned much of value. Can you figure things out? Can you manage to get from Monday morning to Sunday evening on your own? Is your first response to any problem to call a parent or friend – or coach – to get the answer?
We now had the swimmer’s attention.
We rattled on…in fact when you look at any profession it doesn’t take much to be in the top 10% because the competition is so relatively weak. Very few folks actually take their profession seriously enough to push to the upper limits of their ability.
We think at every swim meet – and we mean every single one – there are plenty of swimmers of similar ability. What is it that consistently separates the ones who are closer to their potential? In our opinion it is basic; achievers are doers and those falling short are either “tryers” (“I tried to do it”) or uninspired for whatever reason(s).
So if you actually want to be a professional swimmer you can do it. If you have made it to the national level – junior or senior – you actually have enough talent. The remaining component is your willingness to do WHATEVER IT TAKES.
And we do mean whatever. Eat, sleep and breathe swimming 24x7? In our opinion that’s not healthy. Make your goal a priority such that all else fits around it – absolutely.
Be willing to fail – absolutely. Listen, pay attention, be a student of the game – these are all musts. This list is endless but it begins with a willingness to do whatever it takes.
Want to be a great coach, doctor, teacher, landscaper, musician or parent? Be willing to do whatever it takes. When you do that the odds shift dramatically in your favor. We like those odds a lot