Stefanie Edwards Marketing Coach

What swimming taught me about learning HOW to do something

me swimming in the pool - learning to swim

When I think about learning how to do something, I love to think about the example of learning how to swim. I have this book I purchased from an amazing swim trainer. 

Now I could read the book. I could study the diagrams and learn how – the operational process – of swimming, but until I actually get into the pool and start applying it for myself, my body does not know how to swim. I have an intellectual comprehension of swimming, but that is never going to get me across the pool and back. 

Thankfully for me, I know this and so instead of cracking the book open and studying over it for hours, I found a coach to train me in person while I was in the pool. She watched what I did and she modified my actions to improve my technique. I was amazed at how much my swimming improved and how much I was able to enjoy swimming more because it became less effort. I wasn’t as tired because I was swimming correctly. 

All of these benefits I got from applying the lessons and working my body through the actions instead of just staying stuck in the information stage of learning how to do something. 

This example may seem like common sense and you might find yourself saying, “Of course you have to get in the pool to be able to swim.” But let me challenge you to apply this theory of learning – of discovering the how – to how you move forward in your business. I was recently coaching with someone and they said something like this, “If I can just figure out how to pull this off, I will be set.”

Let’s break this down to see why this is a problem for their success.

  1. It leads without doubt by saying IF. The don’t fully believe it is possible, they are open to see how they will fail and not figure it out. 
  2. The success will come when they figure out HOW to do it. This limits their course of action because they are looking for the playbook – the how of doing the task – before taking action. What if you learned more from doing and investigating options than you did just googling options? 
  3. This thought led them to think many other doubtful thoughts. Which left their self-confidence low and when they felt doubtful they kept questioning themselves. When they didn’t feel capable, they failed to take much-needed action. Because our thoughts create our emotions and how we feel leads what we do. 

So if you want to take action look at how you are feeling. Are you doubting your ability? Do you have shaky self-confidence? Do you feel incapable of success? If any of these feelings or something similar is popping up for you, take time, and explore why you feel that way. Write down the reasons you feel that way and then explore those thoughts. One of those thoughts is creating that feeling and if you can work through that way of thinking, you can transform your feelings and actions. 

And with a more confident feeling in place, explore how you will move forward, how you will take start taking action, and figure out the how as you go. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is taking ownership for creating the how process. As you figure out how to do something, it feels really amazing that you were able to solve your problem, create a new solution, open the door to new opportunities. Whatever it is you are doing, you become more capable and more powerful as you embrace the responsibility for figuring it out. It’s an amazing result of taking action and I challenge you to experience it for yourself.