The One Thing Necessary
This is how I teach people to swim (yes, that is a metaphor and it isn't).
I grew up as a competitive swimmer. When it came time every spring to choose my summer job, the options were easy—lifeguard, swim team coach, and swim instructor (most summers, all three). In my role as a swim instructor, I’ve taught many, many people to swim. By “teach to swim,” I mean taking someone from being unable to stay afloat under any circumstances to swimming the length of the pool. I’ve taught adults, children, toddlers, folks with disabilities—you name the swimming challenge, I’ve taught them to swim. In the process, I learned that there is only one challenge that keeps someone from learning to swim.
The challenge is being comfortable in the water. I can't teach you to swim if you are not comfortable in the water.
Fear will get the best of you—will eat your lunch—every day of the week. You think I’m kidding? I’m not. I’ve waded out into the deep end with toddlers and kept twenty-year-olds white-knuckled on the wall, practicing blowing bubbles in the water. I’ve taught swimmers with muscular dystrophy to swim the length of the pool, while strapping teenagers have sat paralyzed by the steps, gripping the handrail. The difference was that the toddle and the kid with MD were comfortable getting her face wet, the corporate executive and highschool football player were not. We could not move past that, no matter what the age, accomplishments, stature, AGI, etc.
Getting comfortable in a field of study, a field of work, and a field of life is a big deal. Being able to say, “I can survive here; I can stay afloat; I’M NOT GOING TO DIE,” is a big deal.
Until you master that, you cannot progress at all.