Lessons from a World Record – Persistence
It is rare these days that I remember Boesmans and the huge amount of effort that it takes to dive there. I chose to build a cottage, fix it, be off the grid and move in within 4 weeks. Which would have worked if the build wasn’t 2 weeks late and my husband ended up leaving for shift 3 days early. Which meant I moved into a half completed house, with limited water and electricity and then of course, it all broke.
To get to that point had been almost impossible. Days of trying to be at work and then work at creating our new home, all of which meant a list of things to do a mile long and a date that couldn’t shift. Which is pretty much what a world record is about. Well, the date can shift …. But that has all sorts of long ranging implications. So, just like my last 3 weeks.
The list of things to do was long and everything needed doing. The problem was working out which things needed doing more. To move in I needed water, electricity I could work around. Water not so much. Then, to move in I needed a house with doors and windows, I could transport water in if needed. Warm water to shower with became a nice to have. Everything became about what was really necessary and once that was completed, what now would be make it better. Very much like a deep dive in fact where it all about doing the ‘right’ things and the ‘right’ time – prioritising is what I think the corporate world call it J
Boesmans is where I did my world records and it is physically draining. A sinkhole 100 meters deep (maybe more, I am a girl and can’t tell distance well) which means that you have to walk every piece of equipment down. It all has to get done and it is all heavy and every day, you have to walk all your cylinders back out, fill them and then tomorrow, do it all over.
It all has to get down there and most of the time, the only person to do it is you. You can’t choose to ignore the task or give up and wish that it somehow will miraculously happen – so you just do what needs to be done. Your mind switches off and your ignore the complaints of tired and sore and just keep going until the plan for the day is finished. You don’t do more because tomorrow you have to do it all over. You keep to the plan, slogging away at the list until you finally get to that moment when you are diving.
That is just to get everyone down to the water and able to dive. Now take a team and a dive that has to execute a number of specific steps before the main event (221 meters) can happen and you get the master course in persistence. I had a clear view of what absolutely had to be done in order to dive, everyone else had their own priority list and a list of plausible reasons why their task could not be completed.
I remember clearly one of our evening meetings where we sat to find out what had been completed, what hadn’t and what we needed to get done the next day. The team was debating what should be done and what could wait and their choices weren’t aligned with what I felt were the priorities. They had made a decision during the day to not complete a task and that was on my critical path of absolute must haves. It was an almost impossible task to convince them that what they had deemed to be insignificant wasn’t and to get it done. I had to wade through a list of plausible reasons and arguments until we finally got to the point where it was simply a case of, it has to get done. If you don’t do it, who will ?
I felt like a spectator watching everyone shift into “we can’t” mode. These days I have a better vocabulary and skill set at managing these conversation but back then I was focusing on keeping my mind clear and trying to get everyone back on track was actually harder than diving. It was the desire to reach ‘there’ that kept me going, along with the knowing that someone had to do it, it couldn’t just be dropped, it had to get done so it didn’t really matter who felt what or what story they had, it had to get done and I had to find a way to get it done.
That focus on what I wanted was one of the not so obvious aha moments that came with Consciousness Coaching. We get so easily side tracked with how we are feeling and being right and winning and our story and reasons and excuses that we forget about what we actually wanted to achieve. If you are serious about what you want, you don’t let anything else get in the way. You focus on creating that and don’t let anything else side track you, especially old habits.
So next time your dream starts to get hard. Remember that there are always moments where you have to persist and simply choose to keep going. Focus on the next step and ignore the one after, complete it, then choose another. Focus on what you absolutely need, challenge that, make sure that if you don’t do this you can’t get ‘there’ and ignore the rest. Keep persisting and keep completing step after step until it is all done and you are ‘there’. You may be suppressed at what you were able to ‘not’ do in the process, stuff that would have kept you busy but not moving forward.
Dare to Persist.
Dare to choose to live a life you love.