Last week I had a few business meetings I needed to attend, however, I woke up one morning feeling inadequate and unprepared for them. I found myself feeling like I had no idea what I was doing. I recognized this wasn’t an uncommon feeling for me, there have been many times I have felt a sense of inadequacy. I was about to have meetings with people who were far more knowledgable about business than I was. They were going to eat me alive.
If you’ve heard my testimony, then you know I talk about being in the ocean during this time of my life. I often feel like there are moments I am floating, relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery, then there are moments when I am swimming for my life trying not to drown. But what about those in-between moments?
I am doggy paddling.
What I have learned while being in the ocean is I am not a professional swimmer. I don’t know how to do any professional strokes, all I know how to do is doggy paddle.
If you were to swim by me in the ocean, on the top it would appear like I am perfectly fine, coasting along, but underneath the water you would see my legs kicking and kicking and my arms wailing, a complete struggle to stay afloat.
After attending my first meeting, I realized everyone in the ocean is doing the exact same, we are all simply doggy paddling trying to stay afloat.
The thing about living life beyond the walls and in the ocean is we don’t really know how to do it. None of us have been taught how to live a life free of conformity, free of boundaries, free of other people opinions. Most of us are trying to figure this thing called life out. We are all trying to learn how to become professional swimmers in the ocean. While it may appear that others around you have it all together, chances are they are doggy paddling too.
The difference between one persons doggy paddle and the next is the confidence they paddle with. Some people understand that doggy paddling is just as effective as swimming. It may take them a little bit longer, but they are making strides and movement through life just like the person doing butterfly strokes. Some people realize if they are going to doggy paddle, they have to paddle with a certain kind of effort. They have to paddle like they mean it, like they really want to get there. If you want something in life you feel totally unqualified for, you have to walk into like you want it and deserve it. You can’t go in feeling unqualified and unworthy. You see, most people feed off your vibes and energy. When they see you in the ocean, they aren’t looking at your strokes as much as they are looking at your energy and vibes. Someone can watch a person and not know anything about their lack of knowledge or skill level, but if what they are doing seems effortless, passionate, beautiful, and they bring a type of energy that makes them feel just as excited then what they are doing no longer matters, the person is sucked into the energy force.
If I was capable of walking into my meetings with a level of confidence and excitement then people wouldn’t focus on the fact I was doggy paddling, in fact many time they wouldn’t even know I was doggy paddling. They would be focused on how quickly and efficiently I was moving and how great my energy was while doing it.
It’s all about the energy and vibes. I am less likely to jump into the water with someone who seems panicked, scared, and unsure even if they are a professional swimmer. However, if someone seems completely at ease, happy, confident, and have a positive vibe and energy I am more likely to jump into the water without even asking if they know anything about swimming.
I realized just because I am doggy paddling now doesn’t mean I will still be doggy paddling in a year. Every single person has a starting point. There will come a time when I would be able to back stroke through some parts of the ocean and then have to doggy paddle through other parts. The same way I am able to float. The key is to do it like I mean it, whole heartedly.
After realizing this reality, I decided to doggy paddle like I meant it. If I was going to doggy paddle anyway, I might as well doggy paddle with pride. I decided I would add some simple strokes to my doggy paddle. Practice would eventually make perfect. I no longer was going to feel embarrassed or less than because I was doggy paddling. For the remainder of the week I doggy paddled into every meeting like a professional swimmer!
I doggy paddled into my meetings with confidence and energy. I held my head high above the water while my legs kicked and paddled and with all their might. And if my head happen to dip for a second under water, I would keep my eyes open and look around noticing everyone else doggy paddling too! We were all equals. All trying to get to our island of happiness.
Now that you have broke down the walls and jumped into the ocean of the unknown, doggy paddle with a purpose, doggy paddle to your island, doggy paddle like you mean it! And when you run into others who seem like more competent swimmers, remember everyone is and/or has doggy paddled. So be kind, give them a boost, show them a stroke or two that you have learned along the way, and speak life into them so they are able to continue their journey along the ocean with the same type of confidence.