Swimming in the deep end of the pool

Remember when we were young and didn’t know how to swim yet?

We walked around the concrete perimeter of the pool, watching the big kids splash each other and having fun in the deep end. They made friends there, created new games to play, and weren’t afraid of jumping into water that was over their head. We so badly wanted to jump in and join them, but we didn’t know how to swim. Even if we were brave enough to step into the shallow end, it took a long time to work up the nerve to cross the line. You know the line I’m talking about; that dreaded mark on the pool wall that if you step past, the floor will slip away from your toes and the water will be over your head.

I feel like I’m that kid walking around the pool. I want to play with the big kids, but I don’t know how to swim – not yet.

Learning to conquer my fear and jumping into the deep end of the pool currently relates to my new writing career, and the ton of stuff I’m learning on my way to becoming a published author. However, this same principle applies to anything in my life I desire to attain, that golden ring that feels out of reach, or taking any scary step toward change.

So, how do I learn to swim in the deep end of the pool? For me, it’s been in baby steps.

Honestly, up until a few years ago, fear has been a huge obstacle in taking even those steps.  Fear has a purpose. It serves to keep us from harm and out of danger. But my fear wasn’t keeping me from harm, it was hurting me. It was holding me back from being and doing everything I know I can be.  I’m a creative being, and when I let fear rule my thinking, I can’t create. But when I made myself acknowledge that fear is a state of mind, I also realized that I have the ability to change my mind.

When I can acknowledge that my unreal fear is only a state of mind, I can think a new thought. Sounds easy and life is all peaches and cream now, right? The question really should be: does it always work? The answer is No. I am human after all.

Sometimes, when I slip my plastic, pink-flamingo-water-tube around my waist and wade into the shallow end of the pool, feeling all brave and confident, I may only make it to the 4’ mark before I freeze and turn around. But I always learn something in the process, and each time I push myself further, making it closer to the deep end.

When I first decided that I wanted to pursue publishing my story, I knew I would have a lot to learn before I would ever hold my published book in my hand.  I was starting a new business venture in an industry that I knew little about. Even though I’ve written a kick-ass story, who was going to read it?

Back to baby steps. I started attending writing conferences, writer’s workshops, and becoming a sponge – learning everything I can. I started following blogs by people who’ve walked in my shoes, and are now helping others make the journey. I’ve met some fabulous people who have helped me along the way and have given me some great advice. But I believe the way I was able to take those first steps, before I could even start beginning to open my mind to all that I needed to learn, I had to make peace with my fear, embrace it, and move past it. I had to announce to the universe that – I was ready – bring it on!

When you make an announcement like that, you’d better be ready, because the universe will answer. And it did, and things started to happen. I acquired two wonderful editors and I’m learning from them. After searching for the right agent and the right publisher for years without success, I’ve decided to self-publish, so now there’s that part of the job I also need to learn. Plus, I need to build my online audience, create my author platform, my brand… and the list of things I still need to learn just keeps building. But the good news is;

I’m still lovin’ the journey!

And it just makes sense to follow the blueprint created by those who have already done it successfully and are now willing to share their knowledge, on both the things to do, and the things NOT to do. They’ve already made the mistakes, created the accomplishments, and are now sharing all that fabulous wealth of information, if I’m just willing to apply it.

Since I’ve decided that most of the time, fear is just a state of mind, I’ve chosen to change my mind, and take that step over the line. In the words of Dora the fish: Just keep swimming!

Facing a new venture, or trying to make a change in your life can seem daunting, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone. Each one of us has a challenge to overcome. As an author, I’m working on releasing my first book into the world, and still taking those baby steps, one step at a time. But I’m get closer, and soon, I too will be swimming in the deep end of the pool—no pink, plastic flamingo required.

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