Observing the two ladies before me as they plopped into the pool, I winced with nostalgia. The Olympic size pool looked intimidating. How would it feel like being in this large water body? Surely, the water would toss me about and maybe I’d find myself in the deep end… Pondering on this, I proceeded to get answers from the young man closest to me. I was reassured but not convinced.


Entering this pool was a necessary evil as I knew I must one day learn how to swim. Therefore, one leg after the other, I found myself wading through the shallow part of the pool, holding the walls with both hands and yelling for someone to hand me a lifebuoy. What a hilarious sight I must have made with my hair sectioned in two parts like a child’s.


Safely tucked inside the lifebuoy and still using the pool walls as support, I watched some young’uns splashing around the pool like fishes. To my chagrin, someone was taking snap shots close to me. Shame-faced, I imagined unintentionally photo bombing the picture while in my position; then I deliberately turned my gaze on the instructor as he taught the ladies from earlier how to do some down-kicks.

This phase is supposed to propel them forward. I heard him saying that It’s important that your legs take on a position similar to that of a ballerina; straight and lengthened from hips to toes. Instinctively, I tried it too.


On noticing me, the instructor beckoned me over and asked me to try going underwater for few seconds. This required letting go of the ring for a moment, I felt this was ridiculous. Reassuring me  that he was nearby, I tried it but immediately came back up because I thought the water would flood my brain.

After two more attempts, I gave up. I comforted myself with the ring and the cool hard tiles of the pool floor under my feet. It didn’t faze me that the other ladies had gotten over their fear and were swimming.
This was my comfort zone and I felt safe there.

But you’ll agree with me that as long as I remained there, I would not achieve the purpose of learning how to swim. This is what fear does, it keeps reminding us of our inabilities, thereby caging us. Is it in starting a new business, addressing a crowd, marketing a product, etc. The eventuality is that we give ourselves excuses which seem justifiable to us.

Getting to dry ground, I realised that I couldn’t do much in the pool because I LIMITED MYSELF! This was a lesson; I could have been able to learn some swimming strokes but I kept holding on to the lifebuoy. Safety demanded that for a learner, I should use one, but I held on to it for too long. I allowed my fear of the water to stop me.

What are your limitations? Are you even aware of them? What is stopping you from taking that first step? Is it writer’s block? Financial constraints? What is stopping you from achieving your goals? It has to start from your mind, discard that limiting mindset and believe that you can do it.

Another lesson is that everyone learns at their own pace. At first, I was beating myself up, comparing myself to the other ladies. No matter how little you make progress, encourage yourself; take cognizance of your achievements. LOVE YOUR PROCESS and stop comparing yourself to others. Life is no competition!

According to Oprah Winfrey, “the key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but on significance -and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on a greater meaning”.


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