Earlier this month I attended the Class of 2018 Channel Swimmers Awards dinner in Dover, England. In one room, anyone who swam the Channel last year could come together and finally meet one another, and reunite with their pilot and crew. It was an evening I didn’t want to miss, so I made the trek to London and took the train out to the coast with my teammate, Heidi.
At the event, I was serendipitously seated next to the author of one of the most useful training manuals I have ever purchased. I was thrilled to find myself next to Geoff Cox, who wrote The Channel Swimming Manual. Let me tell you, this book holds a special place on my bookshelf. It was my introductory guide on everything I would need to know to better understand what is required to swim the Channel. Informative and supportive, and over 250 pages, it is packed full of great information and sage advice. For years I would refer to it throughout my training, and I’ve been forever grateful for its existence. So, you can imagine my excitement when I found out I was seated next to the Author!
As we talked, he asked where my other teammates were. It’s a long way to come for one night, I explained, Heidi and I are road warriors, but one of my teammates couldn’t make it because he was preparing to climb Mt. Everest. Instead of a look of amazement, I got a familiar head nod. So I went on to explain, “The season opens in a month, so this is a critical time…” but then I paused, because Geoff had that “knowing smile”… the one you get when someone truly “gets it”.
“Of course he is.” Geoff said, thoughtfully.
I thought what I said would at least warrant a raised eyebrow, but instead I got the look that said, “I would expect nothing less.” In his British accent, he said “Of course, yeah, climbing Everest… that sounds about right.”
Curious, I asked him why he wasn’t surprised. (Though I probably already knew the answer, I wanted to hear it for myself.)
“Once you do one thing, you do another and another… I know plenty of channel swimmers who have gone on to do things like circumnavigate the globe on a sailboat, or climb Everest. You guys are all high achievers, it’s what you folks do… you push the envelope… you challenge yourselves. You’re on to the next big thing. Look around, we’re in a room full of high-achievers!”
Looking back, I wish I had the opportunity to talk to every person in that room. Everyone I met had such a positive outlook on life. It’s not that they didn’t have struggles. (If anyone knows struggles, it’s Channel Swimmers!) But they were positive and forward-looking. It’s hard to describe… but there wasn’t a single person in that room who wasn’t living a fascinating life with tales to tell and a positive attitude.
As I walked around, the question I most often got was “What’s next for you?” Do you know how thrilling that is!? Not “what do you do?” But “What’s next for you?” My conversations were passionate and forward thinking… exciting and real. I can’t think of another time I’ve been so exhilarated and motivated. I found myself setting goals, making commitments and packing my calendar with adventures every year for the next 5 years. This doesn’t just happen! What an inspiration it was to be with the Class of 2018 for just an evening.
How can we translate what happened in Dover to our business goals? I would say that without a doubt, community is key. When you have a group of people who understand, support and encourage you, anything is possible. Additionally, when you find a community that “gets it”, their deeper understanding will help inspire your next steps and keep you focused on your larger vision. Soon, you’ll be telling everyone what’s next for you!
Speaking of which, I’m curious… What’s next for you? Please comment, I’d love to hear from you!