My 12 year old daughter and I had a conversation today about being afraid of trying new things. I shared a story about when I was younger and my dad took my brother and me to swimming lessons every Saturday morning.
Being a child of the 70’s and 80’s – my Dad would drop us off at the front door of the YMCA – probably go smoke a cigarette for an hour in our ugly green Chevrolet and then come back and pick us up. There was never a hint of helicopter parenting going on back in the good old days. How did we all survive?
About three weeks after the swimming lessons started my parents received a call from the swimming instructor asking if I was okay. My dad said I was fine and asked why were they concerned?
They informed my dad that I had not attended any of the swim lessons so far and they were worried that I was sick.
What my dad did not know is that I was deathly afraid of taking swim lessons. So every Saturday morning I would head into the ladies locker room, sneak past all of the old ladies and hide in the bathroom stall. I would then take a shower to make sure my hair was wet before I headed back to the car. I also made a deal with my brother to make sure he didn’t tell our parents. My Dad was one of the nation’s top sales executive for Procter and Gamble – I learned how to negotiate from the best. He should have been proud of me – not mad at me?!
My father told the instructors that I was absolutely fine and to please take me by the hair on my head if necessary and throw me into the pool. Sink or swim – it was up to me.
My Dad is truly the most amazing man and I am fortunate that he and my mom have always been my biggest cheerleaders. My Dad taught me how to swim by throwing me in the pool and showing me not to be afraid…and I have been swimming ever since.
Starting a business is all about jumping in the pool. The only way you are ever going to find out if you are going to sink or swim is to stop standing on the sidelines (or hiding in the locker room) and jump in.
With every small business, there are still plenty of days with rough waters, but I know I can always call my Dad and he will tell me to just jump in and keep on swimming.
My Dad, “Grandjohn”, with our kids, Katie and Griffin – Summer 2015
Love ya – Jen