Don’t Panic When You Get In The Water

Sometimes life lessons come when you least expect them.  And sometimes life lessons happen and you don’t realize they happened until a few weeks later.  For instance, all I needed to know about my new job that started last week, I learned in one simple piece of triathlon advice that I got back in June……..

Some of you might remember me talking about my experience with the swim leg of the triathlon I did back in June. The best piece of advice I got before my race was “Just don’t panic when you get in the water.”  Even the strongest and fastest swimmers are no good if they jump in the water and get freaked out over all the swim caps of other racers bobbing around them and the flailing of legs and arms and splashing water.  But if they stay calm, focus on the swim and not everything going on around them and take the course stroke by stroke, then they can easily finish the swim.

Today was my 6th day of work for my new job.  I’m loving every bit of it.  My boss is fantastic.  I love that so far, none of my 6 days have looked even remotely the same.  I enjoy taking mild chaos and making order of it.  And I love that I’m using skills that I know are my strengths.

But it’s also busy.  There are a million details and lots going on, and I’m sort of a hard-on-myself-perfectionist who hates making mistakes and beats herself up when she does make one.  And just like a strong swimmer who starts to panic and take on water because they didn’t focus on one stroke at a time and got caught up in all the splashing going on around them, today I got overwhelmed.  I forgot that I’m organized and professional and good at what I do, and all I saw were the “headlights” of a million to-do items (and one mistake) and I froze.  I got in the water, and I panicked.  {And then I texted my husband who is super level-headed and loving and who put me straight again and I was able to resume the things that needed to get done and fix the mistake and calm down.}

In my triathlon, even though I’m a terrible swimmer and it took me 16 minutes to swim what Michael Phelps swims in about 3 minutes, I was so proud of myself for getting in the water and staying calm.  And making stroke after stroke until I was on dry land again and off on my run, which I’m actually good at.

The bottom line is that no matter how good I am at my job, I’m bound to make mistakes.  Or get overwhelmed or frustrated.  And sometimes there’s no way to prevent that.  But it’s what you do with those mistakes or feelings that count.  If I sit and wallow in my frustration, then it just compounds itself and nothing gets accomplished.  But if I figure out what I did wrong and how I can prevent it from happening again, or if I can figure out ways of being more efficient to prevent overwhelmedness before it happens (or quickly diffuse it if it sets in uninvited) then I’ve won and become a little bit better of a personal assistant…and person.

So get in the water.  And don’t panic.  You’ve got this.  Whatever your “this” is…..you’ve got it.

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About bethanybordeaux

I fiddle around a bit.

4 responses to “Don’t Panic When You Get In The Water”

  1. Momma Daniel says :

    I loved this blog entry! Do you remember the story about “one brick at a time”? It’s theme was also staying focused and not becoming overwhelmed. It’s funny how little snippets of advice stay with us. I won’t go into the stories behind them, but two of my favorite pieces of advice I’ve received from people I respected were “keep a proper perspective” and “sit steady in the boat.” I can see how “don’t panic when you get in the water” could be added to that list.
    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Yes! I do remember the one brick at a time story. I think we both have a pretty healthy list of “isms” that we think through. Thankful for good advice.

  2. pbrowder says :

    I loved this blog and thought of the devotional Proverbs 31 Women. You have an amazing gift of writing and I know are an encouragement to many.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Thank you so much! You are too kind…..I just write what I think and hope it comes out sounding halfway intelligent. 🙂 I haven’t gone through the Porverbs 31 Women devotional, but you aren’t the first one to tell me good things about it! I’ll have to check it out! (after I go through all of Kelly’s devotionals!)

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