A few days ago, while waiting for a friend to visit a museum along with her, I was watching the museum staff giving out instructions to the guests so that their visit began at a certain room and they were able to follow a route that finished on the proper hall. I was surprised to see very few people followed the museum guide they were handed at the entrance; instead they did what seemed adequate or convenient.
Probably, a visit to the museum did not require the formality of following instructions but I kept thinking about this matter, and started to recall several situations such as buying an electronic devise, in which is very common for us not to read the instructions guide, we start using it and learn along the way…; which leads us to several mistakes that we might think are not important, but could have been spared if we had read the instructions guide previously.
All of a sudden, I received an e-mail on my phone, it was from my swimming coach, it contained my training schedule for the starting week, and it was then I realized how important it had been for my open water swimming career to receive instructions from people that know, and have the experience and authority to guide my projects.
The process of following instructions is sometimes difficult, but in my point of view, it is the easiest way to get to a goal, it helps you plan your work, prevents injuries you might suffer by overtraining or by performing an inappropriate exercise for your discipline, but above all, it guides you all the way.
In my case, part of the process of following instructions included the millage I was supposed to swim each week, the amount of time I should swim in cold water, and even the amount of weight I had to gain; and in order to avoid mistakes and, unnecessary risks, I followed instructions literally. I even remember Mike Oram instructing me:….PUT THE GOGGLES ON AND KEEP ON SWIMMING…Today I thank him for this almost military order he gave me!:)
It is not always easy, but following instructions is a part of a learning process that guides you to be a better person, it makes you strong, more confident, helps you discipline yourself, and above all, it allows you to work as a part of a team to achieve huge challenges.
Keep in mind these recommendations:
Approach someone that has the knowledge, experience and preparation to guide your project towards your goals.
Trust your coach and what he is teaching you… sometimes we think these are insignificant aspects, but when what matters is to achieve your goal, there are not insignificant aspects, everything is important.
Acknowledge the authority of the person guiding you and the team work shall be easier and faster, you shall begin to enjoy the process, remember the path is a very important part of the challenge to get to your goal.
Today I turn back and acknowledge a large path of instructions I had to follow to finally achieve my huge goal, to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming: The English Channel, The Catalina Channel and the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim.
Enjoy the process and always keep in mind that huge sports achievements are always accomplished by a team. As soon as possible, look for a guide or coach to work with as a team and, that can guide and help you on the way to complete your challenge and everything else shall be easy, just follow their instructions!
I wish you every success,