The sun was shining in the late afternoon with the grey white clouds moving across the deep blue sky. A big palm tree swayed and the green leaves from the other trees shook against the blue canopy in the wind. Water splashed as children jumped into the pool and the sound of swimmers doing lengths of crawl echoed under the roof of the big half Olympic-size swimming pool in Linden, Johannesburg.
From the pool, leaning against the wall in the shallow end, I took in the view after doing a few lengths of crawl and breaststroke. A relaxed calm ran through my body as I gave my muscles a chance to relax. I was thinking that there’s no exercise like swimming that makes me feel so good.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was growing up at Kalk Bay living in our family house against the mountain, I would go down to Woolies Pool across the road and swim in the mornings or afternoons. I hadn’t been taught to swim or been able to teach myself. So I had to use red, white and blue water wings. But by the time I was six years old I felt embarrassed to swim with them on. Children my age had already ditched their water wings. I got rid of them but didn’t really know how to swim and had to keep to the shallow end of the pool.
All that changed when I went to Kalk Bay Primary School. We were sent to Mrs Currie to learn swimming in the summer down at the pool at Kalk Bay, across from the railway station. She would get us to swim holding a small board in front of us and we kicked like mad to get across the width of the pool. With the correct training I was able to swim properly. What a feeling of confidence. Swimming was no longer a nightmare after that but enjoyable.
Some years later I had to swim trials in the pool at the SAS Saldanha Bay naval base to get selected into the diving course at Simon’s Town. I gave it my all but it was tough against provincial-level swimmers. I felt I hadn’t done well but was selected for the diving course.
On that course I had to learn endurance swimming. Dropped off at Roman Rock Lighthouse we had to swim back to Simon’s Town harbour on the first day. We had to swim the obstacle course several times a day depending on the mood of our instructors in weather and water temperature that was cruelly cold. We could be woken up at midnight, had to get into our Speedos and swim in the inky darkness in Simon’s Town bay in the winter and the rain.
Swimming like any skill you need to learn in life or business requires that first step. Layer by layer learning takes place and with the correct training you eventually can handle challenges you never dreamed would be possible.
Taking your first step in turning your idea for a business into reality is much the same process. Even if you only have a shoestring budget to begin with, take your first step now.