I almost drowned at the age of seven. Chasing after my summer day camp counselor, I found myself struggling for air in waters that were way too deep for me to stand in. Those brief moments are some of the longest of my life and even though it was over thirty-five years ago, I can still feel the tightness and panic that raced through my heart. Thankfully, I was rescued.
But even after the lifeguards rescued me, it was hard to put the experience behind me. Ten minutes after the incident, I sat in the locker room draped in an oversized towel. I was shaken, confused and highly embarrassed. While trying to gather my emotions, I overheard a conversation between two older kids. One asked, “Why did we have to get out of the pool?” and his friend replied, “Because some idiot almost drowned!” I tried to feign surprise at the unfolding information, but something about my response must have given me away, because moments later one of them looked at me and said, “It was you, wasn’t it?”
From that moment on, all the joy and excitement of camp was gone. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Each new day brought dread instead of excitement. I pulled away from the other kids and counted down the days until it would be over.
Many times in life, we experience shame when we have a near drowning experience. Embarrassed by our mistakes and failures, we isolate ourselves. We allow the disappointment of one moment—or, experience—to overshadow the potential and possibility of all that lies ahead in life.
A few weeks ago, I shared the following first two strategies you need to REACH the shore when you find yourself drowning:
1. R—Remain Calm
2. E—Evaluate Your Options
Today, I’d like to share the remaining three:
3. A—Access Air: As I struggled to keep the water out of my lungs, I held on to every breath of air that I could. When we find ourselves drowning, we must intentionally seek out the moments, the people and the resources that help us to survive a little while longer. We can only get to the shore in any situation by taking one stroke at a time. Never overlook the small wins, options or opportunities. They all count towards our survival.
4. C—Call for Help: Pretense does nothing but delay our deliverance. People can’t help—or, support—you if they are unaware of your struggle. Image preservation is a poor use of our resources. As a coach, I am constantly stunned by the number of clients who think they don’t have options—or, solutions—available to them, simply because they’ve never dared to ask for help or express their needs.
5. H—Hold Your Hands Up: Despite how tired we become, we can never quit. In school, we used to hold our hands up to demonstrate that we had the answer, a question, or, a need. As I fought the water that pulled me under, I kept my hand up as far as I could. It was my only hope, or, chance of being seen. Keep your hands up in life to stay in the game—whether that means filling out one more application, navigating one more argument or one more disappointment. Find some small hope and focus on it to keep yourself going.
Do Your Work: Where in your life are you drowning and out of control? Spend some time today evaluating your options and coming up with a strategy that isn’t motivated by fear and desperation.
Define Your Wealth: Affirm out loud, “My current reality is not my destiny. I will overcome this test and storm!”
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Coach Felicia is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to "Turn their Worth into Wealth" as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.