The Impossible Goal
It was the morning of July 4, 1952.
The California coast was covered in fog.
Twenty-one miles to the west, on Catalina Island, a thirty-four year-old woman was about to attempt the impossible.
She waded into icy water and began swimming toward California with one laser-focused purpose: to become the first woman to ever swim the twenty-one mile distance.
Who was she?
Her name was Florence Chadwick.
Considering who she was, her goal for that day wasn’t so unbelievable.
You see, she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
But on that chilly July 4th morning, the water was numbing cold.
Not only that, but the fog was so unbelievably thick that she could hardly see the boats that were in her own support party. (They were there to scare away the sharks, so she could safely accomplish her goal.)
Hours went by and Florence swam on and on.
The average person would have given up from exhaustion, but not Florence.
Fatigue had never been a real problem for her, because her training had prepared for such endurance.
But there was something she wasn’t prepared for that day.
The bone-chilling cold of the water was something that no one had expected on a July morning.
Finally, after more than fifteen hours, she couldn’t go on any farther.
She was numb and exhausted, so she asked to be taken out of the water.
When she made that request her mother and her trainer, who were right alongside her in a boat, begged her to go on.
They told her they were sure that she was close to shore.
But all Florence could see was dense fog, so their pleading fell on deaf ears.
At her request, she was finally was taken out of the water.
And it was just a few moments later that they made their shocking discovery.
The Shocking Discovery
As the boat motored toward shore, they were stunned to discover they were less than a hundred yards from success.
The only thing Florence could say was, “If it had not been for the fog, I would have seen the shore. And had I seen the shore – I would have made it.”
The fog had made it impossible to see her goal. She felt like she was getting nowhere.
And this wasn’t just some “excuse” that she was making for her failure.
The Second Attempt
Because just two months later, Florence stepped into the water off of Catalina Island and tried again.
This time she swam from Catalina Island to the shore of California in a straight path for 26 miles.
It wasn’t because it was a clear day.
The same thick fog set in again.
But this time Florence kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind. She stayed focused on the goal.
And that made all of the difference.
Not only did Florence Chadwick become the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, but she did it two hours less than the men’s record!
What You Have in Common with Florence
I know what your biggest problem in life really is.
It’s your biggest problem in your business and it’s your biggest problem in your personal life.
Before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what it’s not.
- It’s not lack of money.
- It’s not stress.
- It’s not a lack of motivation.
- It’s not your spouse, your kids, your employees, or even your clients.
It might seem like it’s one of those things, but it’s actually something much more subtle.
Your problem is the same as Florence’s problem.
It’s the fog.
You’ve lost sight of the goal.
You’re treading water, but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere.
This fog is a product of all the busyness of life.
It comes from all of the distractions in life.
It’s all those problems in your life.
All of these things cloud your vision and hinder your progress.
How do I know this is your real problem?
Because it’s my problem too.
In fact, it’s the main problem we all have.
You see, the common problem that all western, modernized people have is the “fog.”
We can’t see the shore anymore.
We’ve lost our bearings.
And all of the luxuries of our modern world (TV, smartphones, social media, etc.) just seem to be making the fog even thicker.
This all manifests itself in our lives as a lack of time, a lack of focus, a lack of energy, a lack of efficiency, and an absence of creativity (we’re stuck in a rut in life and at work).
If we don’t do something about it, then we’ll never get unstuck, find the time or the energy, gain clarity, or find the other solutions we’re really looking for.
Instead, we’ll give up or – worse yet – end up on the wrong shore.
3 Lessons From Florence
Here are three lessons we can learn from Florence that can help us make it through the fog:
1. Know what your goals are.
Florence Chadick had a clear goal that day.
She wasn’t just aimlessly out for a swim.
She knew where she was headed and what she needed to do to get there.
You must become just as clear about what your goals are for your life, your business, your family, etc.
Where are you headed in each of these areas?
What will be needed to get you there?
Without this kind of clarity, you’ll be lost even on a clear day.
2. Have a support team.
Florence had a great support team. She had her mother, her coach and the others in the boats who were fighting off the sharks.
Without this team, her attempt would’ve truly be impossible. (Her main mistake during her first attempt was not listening to advice of her support team.)
Every truly successful person has a support team.
Every person needs someone to “fight off the sharks” and to encourage them to keep going, if they’re going to accomplish any truly great feat.
Do you have a support team? Or are you attempting your goals on your own?
Do you have someone to cheer you on?
If you don’t have a team, begin building one today.
If you already have a team, then ask yourself this question: “What is one position I am most lacking on my team?” Then go and find that person!
3. Keep your goal in mind.
During her first attempt, Florence’s fatal mistake was that she lost sight of her goal.
On her second attempt, she remedied that problem by keeping her goal in mind even when she couldn’t see it.
Whether you’re tired, discouraged, lost, or overwhelmed, you must learn to always keep your goal in mind at all times.
Because when you lose sight of your goals, you lose.
Keep your goals in mind at all times and they will keep you going and keep you on track to reach the shore.
If you have any other suggestions for making it through the fog, then post them in the comments.
I will be posting up an audio recording that will reveal three surprising keys that I recently stumbled upon that will help you to gain clarity, get unstuck, and come up with creative solutions in your life or business.
Photo by Mike Johnston
- Are Your Goals Worthy Enough For Yourself And Your Business…? (baybusinesshelp.com)