Swimming Up Stream?

You know those days when you mysteriously find yourself putting your cell phone in the fridge, when you mean to replace the milk? Then you put your shirt on backwards or inside out, and leave the house. You try to pay your lunch bill with a gas or airline mile card vs. a credit card.  And maybe you even try to open the door to your office by repeatedly clicking your electronic car key and waving it madly, wondering why nothing is happening?

Yes we all have those days.  I won’t admit how often I do…but that’s another story.

Then there’s that same feeling of things working against you, but in a larger context.  That feeling that as good as you might be (like the coveted salmon), you keep finding yourself swimming against the current -up stream.  You’re doing everything in your power to get to the spawning grounds where all your hard work can really pay off.  So you swim and swim and fight and persevere, but the damn bears are standing in the water pawing at you, and other natural obstacles like rocks and gullies and broken tree branches keep slowing or stopping you from sprinting (or whatever they call it in fish racing terms) ahead to the finish line.  🙂

It’s exhausting!  Trying to be super successful is, honestly, just a tough life.  It’s a more difficult path.  But it’s one that most of us here signed up for and are committed to.  Being an entrepreneur, a young professional, an ambitious student, or just another “young punk” trying to change the world, you do get beaten up a lot, but you’re also among the most coveted of fish with more potential and value because of who you are and all that you do.  Don’t forget that.

That said, a few tips to keep you strong:

1.  If you notice you can swim with the current (meaning go where the opportunity is, money is, support is), JUMP IN and swim!

2.  If you’re not up to fighting the treacherous currents raging at high season and question your ability to make it  through, save your energy for the next season and attempt your bigger bolder moves when you can really give it your all.

3.  Swim with friends and family (close contacts, advisors, invested others) close by and on your team.  They’ll help keep you motivated and even throw you a life raft (or tree branch) when you need it most.

4.  Don’t let fear get in your way.  Let’s face it, you probably won’t drown – you are a fish after all (ie: young & successful).  You’re strong, tenacious, resourceful and ambitious, and that can take you a long way.  Worst case, you end up downstream and have to start over.  No big deal.  Give it as many shots as you can while you’re still up to it.

5.  When all else fails, keep swimming.  Never lose sight of your goals and what you’re trying to accomplish.

A few years ago I saw a big competitive long distance swimmer talk about her strategy for success over the long haul.  She said don’t try to compare yourself to others, don’t look behind or forward, just keep breathing and watching the water (or the road, the path) and keep going.  Focus on your swim, on making every stroke count. Works for the best swimmers in the world, so that’s got to say something.

Jennifer Kushell is the Founder of YSN.com – Your Success Network, the place for tools, insights, and inspiration for success in your life & career.