Swimming is in my blood. It's what I know best; it's who I am. I can't imagine any other profession. As the founder and CEO of British Swim School, I've noticed many similarities between swimming lessons and business principles, many of which can be applied to both practices. Business owners can utilize the same skills children practice at our facility.
The best way a child can learn to swim is by taking lessons at a young age. In business, you must take risks to grow in your craft. If you allow fear to hold you back in your professional endeavors, try to look at your challenges with the lens of a child and embrace them.
Understand when it's safe to take a risk, and when not to
In swimming, this might seem obvious: Yes, you should jump into deep water. Yes, you should leave the shallow end. But in business, this is not easy to practice. Taking risks have led to some of my biggest wins, but sometimes it's not worth it— knowing the difference can make a huge impact on your overall success.
Know there is more than one way to go forward
At British Swim School, we teach many strokes and ways for swimmers to move. Being adaptable in the water is important. In business, you must be versatile to see success. Most of the time, things within our company don't go as planned or as intended, but you must be prepared with a Plan B, C, D and E and not allow any setbacks to hold you back.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
When it comes to swimming, you will be better at one method or stroke over another. It's important to recognize where you excel and where you need improvement in every aspect of life, including business. This will teach you what to focus on and develop.
Maintain discipline and stamina
We encourage our students to try and try again until eventually, they succeed in whatever it is they were struggling with. Persisting despite failure requires stamina and discipline – which are both built over time through practice.
Take deep breaths and exhale slowly
Deep breaths keep you calm in stressful situations and help you to proceed clearly. Often, our initial reaction is of panic or anxiety; but if you take a few deep breaths and remember to keep your cool, you will feel more relaxed.
Learn how to trust
If a teacher says "jump," it means it's secure to do so. If your manager, business partner, etc., tells you to do something – trust that it's the right choice. Learn who you can trust, embrace their feedback; and if you disagree with these core trustees, consider the reason you may be pushing back. Is it really a bad idea, or are you just stepping out of your comfort zone?
Swimming is an essential life skill, but our aim at British Swim School has always been to make it an enjoyable experience. It's possible to do both, and the same goes for business. When you add some fun to the workplace, it makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
About the author: After an injury set Rita Goldberg's Olympic priorities back, she started teaching swimming lessons locally in England. In 1981, she opened her first British Swim School in the basement of her home in Manchester, and it was there that she began to develop the unique teaching methods that have become a recognized trademark of the brand. The organization now holds nearly 13,000 lessons per week nationally, and conducted nearly a half million swimming lessons in 2016 for babies as young as three months through adults. Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., British Swim School currently operates out of 180 schools within 20 states, and is developing internationally within Canada. For more information about British Swim School and its franchise opportunities, visit www.britishswimschool.com or www.franchise.britishswimschool.com, and like them on Facebook.