One of the benefits of working from home (and for myself) is that having abandoned a very long commute, I gained the opportunity for “me” time early in my day (if I plan it right). The other morning I went down to the International Swimming Hall of Fame to swim laps, only to find that the pool was closed to the public for a meet. I felt disappointed…but on my ride home, I noticed the ocean was perfectly flat, shining like glass. A moment of guilt bubbled in my belly, imagining going to the beach on a workday; then I decided: this is really a benefit of a flexible schedule & working for myself! So I quickly changed at home & crossed the street to the beach for some quick “laps”.
I dove into the ocean with my goggles & kick board, paddling past the tourists on vacation & the retirees half asleep to align myself with the shore. Then I set off down the shore, swimming parallel to the beach. Any swimmer knows the ocean is a different swim than a lap pool, most notably because of the salt water (and in this case, the tourists frolicking around). The other major difference is that in the pool, it would be rare to feel little nibbles that send you unexpectedly flying to your feet….which is exactly what happened after about 5 minutes of kicking.
As I looked around above water I didn’t see anything formidable…no sharks! (Whew!) What I saw when I put my face in the water was a big surprise-a school of fish had been swimming beneath me the whole time & I had not even realized it! I was leading a bunch of little fish down the shore, which made me a little nervous at first (haven’t we all felt nervous as “new” leaders?!) but then I settled back into my kicking routine, eventually feeling confident again.
As I swam down the shore I occasionally dipped my head below the surface of the ocean. It made me smile to see some courageous fish approaching my board, while others tried to get right up to my goggles. Even more surprising, the further I swam, the bigger the school became! Lots of metaphors here…I will let you use your imagination;)
As I approached the landmark to turn around to head back to my starting point, I wondered if my new little friends would continue without me up the shore. I had grown comfortable with my new little buddies & the thought of swimming home alone suddenly felt like it would be a little lonely. As it turned out, when I made the turn, they broke out of formation into a random little swarm beneath the sea…then when I started the other way, they made their way back into formation! They followed me all the way back until I made it to my exit point.
Whether it was my confidence, my large shadow or the color of my black swimsuit, it brought a little sunshine to my morning to think that even at the most unexpected times, when you lead-others will follow. It made me smile; soaking in the sunshine, getting a little exercise & playfully thinking about blogging this little light fish story for you. Have a wonderful day…and remember: We are all leaders, even when we aren’t sure anyone is watching!
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