It has been almost eight months since my wife and I signed up my little daughter for her first swimming lesson. And even though I’ve witnessed her triumphs and her struggles every step of the way, I’m still shocked and amazed that my baby girl is now practically swimming on her own. After all, she’s only 3 years old and it’s crazy how far she has come in just a short period of time.
If you saw her in a swimming pool today, you would think that she always loved the water and that swimming came naturally to her, but it was actually the complete opposite.
I still remember the first time I stepped into the swimming pool with her when she was scared to death and shivering with fright. Every splash of water that touched her caused her to scream as if acid was burning her skin. I still remember her first swimming lesson which was an absolute disaster.
She kicked and screamed for the entire half hour lesson. Every time I put her on her back, she struggled and tried to flip over. Every time I put her head in the water, she would choke and gag.
Every time the instructor tried to teach her something, she would flail her arms wildly. At the end of her first lesson, I wasn’t sure that swimming was going to be her thing.
Daddy, I don’t want to go swimming anymore!
I didn’t really blame her for saying those words. After all, it was clear that she didn’t have fun and neither did I because she was fighting me the entire time.
And even though it was just her first lesson, my wife and I questioned whether she was too young to learn and whether swimming lessons were going to work out for her.
But since we paid for a package of 8 lessons, we kept taking her and with each subsequent lesson, she started fighting us less and less. In the beginning, we had to drag her into the pool but by week 3, she started having fun out there.
It all started with her kicking her feet and splashing me with water which made her giggle. Then she started blowing bubbles in the water and getting her face wet.
By week 4, something must have clicked inside of her brain because all of a sudden she started jumping in from the side of the pool. She started going down the water slide. She started dunking herself in the water and propelling herself forward. The rest is history!
Nothing Will Change Unless You Work At It
You can’t start something new and expect to become an expert right away. The problem with human nature is that we tend to stick with what we are already good at and practice what we already know. When my daughter first started swimming, she hated it because it was foreign to her.
The water made her eyes hurt and she kept choking and gagging whenever she forgot to hold her breath. When my wife and I contemplated taking her out of swim class, little did we realize that we both experienced the exact same feelings when we first started our online business.
I still vividly remember the grand opening for our online store. Actually “grand” is the exact opposite word to describe that day. We didn’t make a single sale and we second guessed ourselves the entire time. By the end of week 1 and zero sales, I wondered whether this whole online thing was going to work out for us.
My wife questioned whether she would be able to stay at home with our kids without making major sacrifices. We both thought about closing up shop and calling it a day in order to save face!
After all, it was both disheartening and embarrassing to tell our friends that we hadn’t sold a darn thing whenever they asked.
But since it was so cheap to maintain the website and we didn’t have any better business ideas, we stuck with it. And slowly but surely our fortunes started to change.
We kept the information mill churning and experimented with different customer acquisition strategies whenever we had free time.
We made subtle tweaks and constantly improved our product selection and our website. Then at around the 6 month mark, something clicked and we started getting both search engine customers as well as large orders from event planners and buyers with large spending budgets.
No One Is Born An Expert
While I would love to say that my wife and I are special and that we simply have an innate talent for business, that would be a big time lie.
In fact prior to launching our online store, we had zero experience at running a business or putting up websites. We had no knowledge of web development and we had never started a business before.
As a result, we struggled big time early on. But you know what? Eventually, things sunk in and we started seeing the big picture. Whereas we started out by copying other people’s strategies, we eventually started coming up with some of our own and going with the flow.
The point I want to emphasize is that our success didn’t have so much to do with talent or smarts as it did with actually trying something new and learning from our mistakes.
Not Being Good At Something Is Your Choice
We are all humans and by nature we are programmed to stick with things that we are comfortable doing. We tend to put more effort into our strengths and we “like” doing what we are already good at. But at some point, you have to take a step back and remember how you became good at the things you do.
I absolutely hate it when someone emails and asks me something along the lines of “Steve, I’m comfortable with creating websites and the technical stuff but I’m just not good at marketing and sales. Can I still succeed?”
Well S#$%, if you are not good at marketing and sales then you need to start learning or hire someone to teach or help you out! Just because you aren’t good at something now doesn’t mean you can’t become good at it later. You just have to have the right mindset and keep an open mind to learn.
So what am I trying to say here? Instead of resigning yourself to “not being good” at something, why not give it your best shot and try to learn?
If you are willing to put in constant effort for many months or years instead of giving up after a few weeks, you will go far. I guarantee it.
If my little 3 year old can go from choking and sinking like a rock in the swimming pool to the doggie paddling toddler she is today, so can you!
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