We Are All a Work in Progress

Martha CarlsonBy Martha Carlson

I recently had the privilege to participate in the swimming competition at the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama. The Games, a 19-sport, biennial competition for men and women 50 and over, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. The vision of the National Senior Games Association is to promote healthy lifestyles for adults through education, fitness, and sport.

One Thing

Swim competitions, like many individual sporting events, involve a lot of down time between races. This gave me the opportunity to meet and connect with swimmers from all over the country, of all different ages, and with very diverse backgrounds. Yet despite the multitude of variations, everyone I spoke to had one thing in common – they all viewed themselves as a work in progress. One swimmer was focused on improving her underwater kick; another mentioned a goal to work up to racing the 100 yard butterfly at the 2019 games. Others were contemplating adding a new stroke to their regime.

Fin Starts and Flip Turns 

I’ve been swimming for over 40 years. Still, each year – and each competition – brings a new challenge or goal to focus on. Starting block technology has changed greatly and many blocks have a “fin” on the back that you can use to push off with, similar to a starting block in a track meet. Admittedly, even climbing up on the blocks is a little daunting lacking the balance of youth so getting comfortable with the fin was a recent challenge. Similarly, I’ve lost time in my flip turns over the years and have been working with my coach to finesse my form and push-off. I’m signed up to compete in the Long Course Nationals in Minneapolis in August and have never competed in long course. I, too, am a work in progress.

No Mo’ Status Quo

CEOs and executives who engage in coaching are also works in progress. I am often struck by the courage and humility of our clients who continue to strive for excellence in their work despite tremendous track records of success. No one engages a coach because they want to maintain status quo. Often the biggest challenges is getting my clients to narrow their focus to the one change they can make that will have the most significant impact on their leadership going forward. Even more typical is the client who, when one goal has been achieved, quickly identifies another to pursue. Much like athletics, leadership development is a journey rather than a destination. Coaching benefits a leader in the same ways it benefits an athlete – providing focus, accountability, and feedback and throwing off the inevitable discouragement of setbacks encountered on the road to achievement.

Are you satisfied with the status quo? If not, contact The Bailey Group – we’re ready to assist!