FLOAT - The Life Skill to Master Now!
One of my favorite life lessons, I learned while watching my two young daughters in swimming lessons. It's counter to what is often drilled into our heads about success and winning, but I'm convinced it works!
If you're anything like me, you've absorbed the following messages on how to be a winner:
Don't give up! Make it happen! Persistence wears down resistance!
These are all great and necessary, but let's take things to the next level!
When my youngest daughter swam for the first time, it looked like she was whipping the water. Every stroke, a slap to say: "Take that!" Then, it was time to float; and that's when the struggle began. She just couldn't grasp the concept of relaxing. A competitive person, who often bulldozes her way through life's challenges, was now being told to do nothing and she'll actually succeed!
Floating is taught during swim lessons, because instructors know it can SAVE your life.
Outside the water, I'm convinced it will ENHANCE your life!
When working towards your goals, sometimes the best thing you can do is FLOAT.
So what does FLOATING look like for those of us who can't fathom working towards our goals by relaxing?!
- Floating is what happens after you've done everything you can do towards your goal. That means you must release worry and anxiety. That duo will sink you in water and sink you in life.
- Floating is the trust required when you are about to give a speech or a presentation -- after you have thoroughly prepared. You did all the "swimming": you researched, you practiced. Now, as you prepare to present, I invite you to trust...to float.
- Floating is an invitation to look at things a different way. To see things from a different perspective. Flip over, and Float.
- Floating is choosing to let go, temporarily, as an invitation for that big idea to arrive.
For the last year I did one of the hardest things I've ever done. I wrote a screenplay. I had been writing all my life, but nothing that went on for two hours! I can't tell you how many days I wanted to pull my hair out and cry because I was staring at a blank screen and didn't know what path to take.
When I finally had enough of beating my head against the wall, I resigned myself to shower and go to bed. It never failed as soon as I got in the shower, the right idea would come and I would write until 3am. Several times, I said to myself, you need to take these showers earlier!!
I don't think the shower itself had any magic. It was stepping away. For you, it might be something simple, like going for a walk or something more significant, like considering a different career path. Anything other than beating your head against a wall will do. Flip over and Float!
Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is nothing. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is take a break. Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is sleep!
Did you know that our brains actually learn the most when we are sleeping? It takes all the information we consumed during the day and begins putting it in files.
In the book Brain Rules, author John Medina cites a study in which students were given math problems and then prepped with a method to solve them. But, they were not told about a shortcut.
Researchers let 12 hours pass after the initial training and 20 percent found the shortcut. When 8 of those hours involved sleep, that number tripled to 60 percent!
Do you get the theme here? We "swim" for part of the day (i.e. doing the work); and while we are sleeping (essentially doing nothing) our brains are learning the most. Isn't that something?!
To be clear:
This is not an invitation to the world of laziness. This is about maximizing our efforts.
Swim....work, knock on doors, pray, be creative. And once you've done everything possible and you feel like you're experiencing distress -- then... just like in the water, it's time to flip and float.
It's time to trust that maybe there's a different path or trust in the seeds you've planted.
Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post put it beautifully when she said, "Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen".
What are you going to let happen next?