Hate ’em. Can’t stand them. I am a big picture kind of person and the details tend to get in my way. A coach friend of mine calls me a bottom liner. Just the facts, please. No details, no drama, just the facts.
Serves me well in some areas and not so well in other areas of my life. As difficult as it is for me to admit, I am finding that details are important and a necessary evil in life. I am sure you have heard the adage, “the devil’s in the details”. In other words, it is often the small details of a project or task which make it difficult or challenging. Details can often prolong a task or make it more convoluted and less straightforward. The bottom line becomes a novel and that frustrates me!
Success or reaching goals is very rarely haphazard. Success most often comes as a result of planning and projecting. Then reevaluating, and more planning and projecting. You see, success is in the details!
Let me share a recent example. I am training for the Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon with a friend of mine. I never learned how to swim properly as a child. My swim lesson took place when I jumped off the pier at White Lake and my dad said, “now, swim!”. Just thinking back to that day makes me laugh. Good thing the water was only 3 feet deep.
So, when I decided to sign up for this triathlon, I knew that the swimming leg would be the most arduous part for me. However, I was determined to swim!! I joined a fitness club that has a pool, bought all the proper equipment (goggles, swim cap, tri suit, etc.), jumped in the pool. And I discovered that I could not swim laps. I could swim a lap, but I could not swim the laps required of me for the upcoming triathlon. I was scared to death of putting my head under water in the beginning if that gives you some idea of where I began on this swimming journey.
I knew I was in trouble. I also knew that the devil had to be in the details. I was not doing something right. I mean, I can bike and run for miles. Swimming can’t be that different, right?? Well, my friend, success is also in the details. I called a friend of mine who grew up swimming and swam competitively all through high school. I shared my story and my fear of water and she agreed to teach me proper swimming technique.
The first time we met, I was full of fear. I am sure she has no idea to this day just how scared I really was. She helped me with the details, putting my head in the water, breathing, my stroke, turning my head, creating a pocket with my armpit for breathing, etc. I was overwhelmed with all the details. I truly wanted to call my other friend and tell her that she would be flying solo for the triathlon.
I tried to swim on my own several times after my first lesson. I left the pool each time very frustrated and exhausted. I wanted swimming to be easy for me, for it to come naturally. And it did not, to say the least!
I met with my “swim coach” again and she helped me by watching me and critiquing me. She showed me that I was sticking my head out of the water like a turtle instead of keeping it down in the water. I worked on this until I got it, but I was still exhausted and I couldn’t find my pace or rhythm. I left the pool frustrated again.
The 3rd lesson was by far one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. My “swim coach” told me to change my breathing pattern and it was almost as if the water parted and I crossed the Red Sea!! I got it!! I got it!! I could finally swim laps! All of the details finally came together and I experienced success! I will never forget that feeling or the look on the faces of my dear friends, my “swim coach” and my training partner.
In the beginning, I wanted to jump in the pool and swim. I can do this!! I can WILL this to happen!! Well, maybe not. Success is truly in the details, my friend. I used to avoid swimming and go biking instead. Now, I want to swim everyday. It feels as if I have been swimming all my life.
I am also learning this same principle in other areas of my life, budgeting, parenting, coaching, friendships, cooking, etc. Details, as much as I would like to hate them, have become my ally. A week from today, my friend and I will become triathletes…and I almost let my fear of swimming prevent me from experiencing this challenge.
Where do you want to experience success? What areas of your life are lacking in details? Look at the details and develop a plan for moving forward. Start small and you will end big, with success!!