Finishing Badly…

It’s been the Cheshire Country Swimming Championships 2024 over the last 3 weekends. As the oldest competitor, I was just happy to qualify and race.

What I didn’t expect was to witness a number of swimmers not finish their races. Not because they physically couldn’t, but because something mentally was stopping them and making them pull up many lengths short.

There was a suggestion that there’s nothing worse than stopping in the middle of a race and embarrassing yourself in front of hundreds of spectators, swimmers, your friends, and the coaches. I wasn’t so sure. If that was true, the swimmers would feel compelled to finish. Instead, it’s far more likely that there’s something much worse than finishing…finishing badly.

  • Not meeting their own expectations > fear of failure
  • Not meeting expectations of parents > fear of rejection/feeling unloved
  • Being beaten by younger swimmers > fear of embarrassment/shame/what will people think?
  • And so many more…

I use swimming in my writing a lot because it is such a great metaphor for our careers. Stopping before the race is complete, is the equivalent of being at a standstill in our careers, that feeling of being undervalued.

I remained stuck in my own career for a number of years, under the guise of needing the stability and flexibility while having a family. While this is true, there was also a part of me that was really scared of change.

  • Fear of the unknown > fear itself
  • What if I made the wrong choice? > fear of failure
  • Doubting my own capabilities > shame
  • Do I have the bandwidth? > fear of overwhelm > not being able to > shame…

If you are feeling stuck in your career, ask yourself, “what are you most worried about?” and see which fear it reveals. This is why the second foundational layer of my Career Pivtos® Compass methodology is Overcoming Limitations. If you try to create a career pathway based on fear, the results will be wildly different to if you identify the underlying cause of the fear, let it go, and plot a powerful course forward unhindered.

Want to learn how to do that? Join my next intentional Careers™ WebClass here.

My coach thought I was (in his words) “hardcore” because I don’t really get race nerves. I have already worked out for myself, the worst that could happen is I embarrass myself in front of people. Can I live with that feeling? Yes. It is liberating if you think about it.

Keep opening up,


PS Register for the next Intentional Careers WebClass here.

PPS Join the waitlist to be the first to hear about my brand-new Intentional Careers Accelerator – 3 Day Live Events in April and October 2024. To get yourself on the priority notification list to find out more, simply register your interest here.

PPPS In the latest episode of the Women in STEM Career & Confidence podcast, I interviewed Dr Margaret Dominiguez. Margaret grew up on a pig farm in Mexico and her love for Physics fuelled an incredible meteoric journey to becoming an optical engineer at NASA.
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