personal effectiveness


“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
– Thomas Edison

Amid the Olympic coverage, I have reflected on my first experience with swimming. I was about eight years old. My cousin was learning to swim, and since I was staying with my aunt and uncle for the summer, I was thrown in, too, and told to swim the width of the pool. After a moment or two of sputtering, I began making my way to the distant wall. When I had made it about three-quarters of the way there, I began to struggle. Fearing that I could not reach the wall, I turned around and headed back from where I came… swimming another three-quarters width of the pool. The end result was that I had traveled fifty percent farther than I needed to and yet had not reached my goal.

How often we do this in life! In a moment of panic, we take our eyes off the goal and expend energies unnecessarily on things that will not get us where we want to go. In the heat of the moment, we redefine success to be something that looks more achievable – or worse yet, more comfortable – when, in reality, if we simply looked up, we might see that we were closer than we thought to the original goal we sought.

So many of us have our heads down in work and in life. We let inertia and momentum drive us. What if we all chose routinely to look up, assess our progress and recalibrate our course toward our goal? How much more productive would we be in our jobs? How much more satisfying would our relationships be? How much more effective would we be in every aspect of our lives?

Do you miss feeling driven toward something instead of driven by something? Try looking up and locking your sites on the goal in front of you. It’s okay to take a breath every few strokes, but keep swimming in the right direction.

Clifford A. Bailey
speaker, writer, CEO

This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 6:10 am and is filed under Effectiveness, Emotional Intelligence, Musings, Success. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.