As you all know, I have been spending a great deal of time over the last year trying to reduce my stress levels. It has made me question just about everything I do. I have analysed (perhaps over analysed) it all; from the time I spend cooking to work, hobbies and exercise.
Along the way I have been really conscious that I have to learn; it is ok to give things up. I don’t have to continue doing all that I do, just because I feel obliged. I have also noticed some things would definitely be easier to give up than others, simply because they are a smaller part of my life or don’t have such an impact on big things like finances.
Several times over I had considered giving up my coaching, just because it would be something ‘easy’ to get rid of. Something kept telling me not to.
Two days ago, I had an epiphany………….. it occurred at 5:50am as I walked to the pool ready to coach. It was a true winters morning, dark and cold with the stars twinkling in the sky. As I rounded the corner with my breath visible in the air, I caught sight of the pool.
I wish I had a photo to share but I don’t, so I will just have to describe it. It was this beautiful deep, clear blue colour. Above it, hovered a massive cloud of steam so thick you could barely see the flags marking the ends. From somewhere in amongst it, I could hear the rhythmic sound of the earliest swimming regulars making their way down the pool.
I am pretty sure at this point most people, especially at this time of the morning (when they could be tucked up in a warm cosy bed) would have either let out a groan or let their shoulders slump at the sight. I only felt one thing…….. excitement!
If after almost 35 years of involvement in swimming, 3 years of coaching on top of work, family and everything else I do, can still make me feel like that……………………… I am pretty sure I should not be quitting this one particular thing that I do.
It is like swimming is part of me, one of the few things that makes me feel excited, happy and ME. Every time I step out on pool deck, it makes me feel alive……. especially at 6am in the freezing cold! The pool is one place that I frequently lose track of time.
It is strange because I almost get the same level of enjoyment out of doing it myself, coaching others to do it or just watching and listening to someone swimming. I guess this is what you would call a passion!
As a coach, one of my biggest aspirations is to help guide kids to find their own passion. In the end, it doesn’t matter what exactly it is, but having a ‘thing’ that you do, that brings you back ‘home’, is so important. It could be playing the piano, swimming, running, gym, reading, writing or gardening.
It is easy to be put off by politics or time constraints, but before giving anything up, I do encourage you to really explore how it actually makes you feel. If it is a negative feeling, sure get rid of it, but if you think you might miss it……. think twice.
18 months ago my son told me (when he gave up swimming to pursue his passion) ‘You should keep coaching Mum, even if I am not there because you love it and you are good at it’
Seems like I have wasted a lot of time and anxiety questioning this one when he told the answer months ago. Sound advice from a child. Their simplified view is often exactly the right way of looking at things!