“That is fantastic!” is what my text message read from my training partner when I told her about my swim progress this morning. Since it is the first week of the month, I am doing my time trials in swimming. On Wednesday I did my 100 meter time trial that needs some improvement. This morning I did my 1,500 meter time trial. Last month I did it in 33:10. Today I did it in 32:32 – and my maximum heart rate was 12 beats per minute lower. I am not only improving my time, but also my efficiency. I was thrilled. But what was the most encouraging to me was to read my friend’s response. Fantastic.
Words are more powerful than we tend to think. A 38 second improvement on a 1,500 meter swim is 2 seconds per 100 meters, 1 second per lap and only a half second per length of the pool. Maybe when I master a flip turn it will improve exponentially, but today my friend shared her joy for me with a word that made me feel like I am accomplishing something. And it gives me the motivation to push on. I am sure to some fast swimmers my improvement may only be decent progress, but to me it is bigger than an Olympic pool. Believing in myself to improve is something I struggle with quite a bit. It is not due to physical challenges as much as it is a struggle in my mind. I was not athletic as a child and when I began as an adult I had a lot of ground to cover to improve. It also doesn’t help that (right or wrong) the motivation to improve in other areas in my life usually came with a “good job, now you can do better.” I rarely had that moment to bask in my accomplishments (academic or career) before the next level of improvement was set. Classic over achiever mentality. When examined closer, it is possible that an accomplishment may actually feel like a small failure if not given a little recognition or encouragement. Baby steps are steps in the right direction, no matter how small.
Fantastic. A simple three syllable word that gave me the jolt I needed to get back in the pool after work this afternoon. Today marks the end of my first week swimming 6 times in the week. And after a total of 5,000 meters today, I still feel charged. (and will most likely sleep very well tonight!) Pass on encouraging words when ever possible, you never know how deeply they may impact someone.