One of my favorite stories is that of the persistent Florence Chadwick. She was a long distance swimmer who set out to swim the 26 miles from the California Coast to Catalina Island in 1952. The day of the swim, a fog started to set in. She swam for 16 hours before giving up. Once she was in the boat, she came to find out that she was only 1 mile away from her goal. She had completed 25 of the 26 miles, but because she couldn’t see her destination, she had given up.

However, because Florence had the mindset of a winner, she got back to training. She trained for two months, and then attempted the swim again.

It was the same distance.

The same fog set in.

But this time, she was successful! Even though she couldn’t see her destination, she still completed her goal.

What changed? 

This time, she visualized the Catalina Shore. Even when her eyes couldn’t see it, she could see it clearly in her mind. For the last two months, she had not just been training her body, but training her mind.

I love this story for many reasons. I love that Florence didn’t have to be perfect. She didn’t have to “nail it” on her first attempt. Florence just had to be persistent.

I also love that this story is a great example that it doesn’t matter what the outside conditions are; what matters is that our goal, our focus, and our vision are crystal clear. It is what we create inside ourselves that determines success. In fact, some of the greatest stories of achievement, the ones we find the most inspiring, are the ones where there were extreme outside obstacles to be overcome. 

A few years ago I was taught another mantra, “Action cures fear”. Whenever I feel afraid, or stuck, or insecure, I remember to take action. Any action is movement. One step can lead to the next. Success does not happen without movement. 

I also remember that “success is a habit”. It is something that you do. 

I think that, particularly as women, we can get stuck in our own heads. That sometimes it feels like action is the realm of men. I have found that my over-thinking can be a weakness. I can plan and plan and plan, but without action, all my plans are useless. That my analysis paralysis brings on doubt. I begin to give in to unbelief. I wonder why I should be successful or how I will achieve my goals and what will people think of me if I do?

Action cures fear. Vision is the assurance of success, the fuel that drives our actions.

I hope that you remember, today, that you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to take action and try. Be persistent. Train your mind to focus on your vision, despite the outside circumstances. Get moving and take action. You too can achieve your goals and live your dreams. Just like Florence. 

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