Until today, after almost two years, I still remember and celebrate my English Channel Swim, which was successfully completed, on August 12th, 2011, in 14 hours, 33 minutes.
Many days and months have passed, however, it is an event that has left a huge print in my life. A swim across the English Channel is a challenge that requires a demanding physical work out and a very special mental training, which I would like to share right here… About three weeks before my swim, someone asked me: Is your mind ready for the English Channel?
Today, when I remember this conversation, I recall everything that came to my mind at the moment to answer that question… it was like a swirl and storm of ideas, that I had to put in order and ready so I could to be able to demonstrate my interlocutor I was ready, however, I just answered: “Of course, I´m ready”
I have thought so much about this response, and in fact, there was so much to explain in order to demonstrate I was ready that I just assured it, and this positive thought left a big mark in my will in order to challenge myself the day of my swim.
However, even I had no sports psychologist helping me, I was lucky enough to have people I admire in my mind, that helped strengthen my will, every day and mainly at the most complicated and difficult hours during my swim.
On one hand, the love of my family and children, Andrea and Eduardo, as well as the memories of my dad, Noel J. Hawley Nandin, were the gasoline that helped me take stroke after stroke, however, love is a huge feeling but I needed will and determination, and when the big day came and I was in the middle of the Channel swimming by myself, cold and feeling that I was about to give it up, I used a strategy for not losing focus and continue swimming. I started counting and that set my mind in a rhythm I needed to continue but also I brought to my mind, a special help….the thought of the people that had set an example in my life and fought beyond their physical endurance and beyond what might have been reasonable, in order to achieve their goals.
Before the difficulties that life presents itself, even in moments of doubt, sorrow, pain, hard work, maximum effort or any difficulty that may come, keeping in mind the inspiration from someone who has already reached their dreams in spite of the tiredness, difficulties, problems and other obstacles that they had to overcome, is always the gasoline additive that moves us and that is how that extra energy helps us reach our goals.
My body was not the only thing prepared to accomplish the English Channel Swim, so was my mind. Every person has their own challenges and sometimes reaching them goes beyond the physical, academic and or professional preparation, it seems to me that the secret is to have your mind ready and prepared for everything that may appear in front of you, and that way to be able to overcome every obstacle. At times, you have to have the strength that someone who has already being throughout a similar trial can share with you; this can become a great impulse to keep on going.
By the way, all my recognition to my coach Nora Toledano, who taught me again, this weekend, that not only the physical work out and training is important but also, the determination and will, I mean, your mind has to be ready to reach your goal. She swam for 9 hours successfully, the Swim Across the Sound. Nora Congratulations!
When you are preparing yourself for a Challenge, have your mind ready and do not doubt but strengthen your mood, and keep it up, until you reach your goals. I shall put all of this into test soon enough…
I wish you every success and lots of brains!