I participated on some sort of swimming team for 17 years. And after all was said and done, I found I can apply so many skills to my everyday life. I learned that in the “Real World” you have to…
1. Wake up reeeallyy early in the morning…
Even when you don’t want to. The real world – work, babies, family obligations, friends, and other commitments – sometimes requires you to get up before you want to. Swimming prepares you to get comfortable baring the dark, cold, early morning as you chase down your dreams.
2. Spend time with yourself
I loved pretty much all of my experiences with my teammates – some of the best memories I have. But no matter how many shaving parties, pancake breakfasts, or bus rides, my swimming success came down to me, a black line, and a clock. In the real world, you’ll have friends, family, and coworkers to walk life with. But no matter whose around (or not around…), it always ultimately comes down to you. It comes down to and your will power to push through and get your task done. It comes down to you to make friends after moving to a new place for school or work. It come down to you to make the life you want for yourself.
3. You learn to work with all different types of people
As you know, a swim team includes a large group of people that come from many different types of backgrounds. Swimmers are thrown into lanes (literally) with people that they just can’t get along with. But guess what? They always make it work! That’s what being part of a team is all about. Learning to turn arguments and constructive criticism into something positive in the pool will easily translate to the business world. Like swimming, your jobs will introduce you to many different types of people and co-workers that you may not get along with at first. That’s life! As you learn to manage that tolerance and learn how to work with people individually, it will make your job so much easier as your grow in the “Real World.”
4. Set goals…
I can go on and on about the millions of studies that talk about the importance of goals, and the millions of types of goals out there. Swimming helps you set measurable goals, where your coach, teammates and ultimately the clock holds you responsible (you either qualified for a meet or you didn’t…).
5. And meet them.
Setting goals is great and all, but it doesn’t do a hill of beans if you don’t meet them. Swimming teaches you how to create a road map to meet your goals – maybe it’s to qualify for a swim meet at the end of the season. In building a plan you make a high level road map of what kind of practices you need to do – drill focused, pace workouts, Christmas training #death, and eventually taper #bestweekever! You also consider what additional efforts need to be made – dryland workouts, sleep habits, and nutrition. Just like swimming, you need a plan in the real world to accomplish any goal.
6. Manage your time
Morning practice, school, afternoon practice, homework, sleep. This is the swimmers life at the very basic level. Throw in eating (and we all know how swimmers like to eat), music, friends, family, and everything else 24 hours can seem short. Swimmers have honed the skill of time management. In fact, not only do most swimmers get everything done, but they are known for being one of the brightest athletes.