5 Things You Need to Stop Telling Yourself to Be Successful in the Pool

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” – Rudyard Kipling

The reasons that we lie to ourselves are profoundly varied. Sometimes we do it to get ourselves out of having to do the hard work that is required of us in the pool. Other times it is to protect our ego in the case of disappointment. In most cases, these little lies act as roadblocks to the things we want most.

Qualifying for a team. Being a more consistent swimmer. Breaking a world record.

Whatever your swimming goals are, here are five little lies that we tell ourselves that hold us back from fully punishing our goals in the pool:

1. I am not allowed to fail.

The myth of perfect and blemish-free action is a strong one. It’s hard to say where it originated from, but success is inherently difficult. And that means there will be times where you screw up, times where you get things totally wrong, and moments where you come up so short that you can do little but laugh.

Failure is part of the process. Failure is okay. And it is an absolutely essential learning tool that will help coax you down the rocky and bump-strewn path that is your own version of swimming success.

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2. I have to do this completely on my own.

Swimming is one of those weird sports where people train as collectively as a team, but when it comes to race time you are standing by yourself on the blocks. As a result, we tend to believe that we need to do everything on our own. As though having a good support system or asking for help somehow waters down what we are trying to accomplish.

Surround yourself with knowledgeable, successful and supportive people. Not only will they have your back on those cold and dark mornings when you’d rather punch yourself in the face than roll out of bed, but they should also be an inspiration and a sounding board for you.

3. I don’t deserve success in the pool.

First things first, why ya gotta be so hard on yourself? What makes the next guy or gal so worthy or deserving? Kicking butt in the pool doesn’t need to be limited to ‘other’ swimmers.

Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahwaks has lived with doubters and naysayers through every phase of his career. Nowhere was the naysaying stronger than when he was drafted into the NFL, a pick that was lambasted by NFL analysts across the league. 31 teams passed on him before he was finally drafted by Seattle. Looking back on those days, long before he led the Seahwaks to a Superbowl victory earlier this year, he thought back to something his father told him:

“I remember my dad asking me one time, and it’s something that has always stuck with me: ‘Why not you, Russ?’ You know, why not me? Why not me in the Super Bowl?”

4. There’s a right moment, and I am waiting for it.

Procrastination at it’s finest, ladies and gentlemen. You imagine an ideal set of circumstances with which you can use to act or really move forward chasing your goals, and you refuse to budge until they have manifested themselves.

Here’s the bad news: that “right” moment doesn’t really existed. There are no perfect or ideal circumstances. You won’t always have the best facilities, the best training mates, the best equipment, or even feel absolutely perfect. But here’s the good news: you have right now. You have this moment, and that is all you need.

5. I won’t be able to take not achieving my swimming goals.

This is a natural fear – believing that coming up short will so destroy you, the hurt and embarrassment and overwhelming guilt will completely and utterly ruin you.

The reality is that you are waaaay tougher than you realize. Need proof of this? Just take a peek at your own recent history. When was the last time you came up short on a big goal? Got DQ’d at the big meet? Did the proverbial soiling of the bed on a race that you had prepared months on end for?

Now, think about how you reacted in the immediate aftermath. Yes, it stung. Probably a lot. But then what? You got over it. And hopefully used the memory of that disappointment as a lesson and as fuel moving forward.

In other words, you got this. You’re gonna be okay.

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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