When I was in fourth grade, we took a swimming test. We were asked to swim freestyle from one side of the pool to the other. We were judged on our form and ability. We were then divided based on our skill level. (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)
As was always the case with my die or fail attitude, I wanted to be the best with all of the kids. I wanted to be in the most skilled group, no matter what. And after my second or third day in the pool, I got my wish. I went to the deep end with the other best kids. And what were they doing in that group? Treading water. That’s it. You couldn’t swim like the other groups. You just had to tread water. And I could feel myself going under and being unable to keep up.
So, I asked to be knocked down a level. I asked to be placed lower than my ability. And they allowed me to be in another group. My teacher would ask me everyday if I wanted to try again in the deep end, but I refused. I liked where I was. It was easier.
And I think that’s so important, even now. I wasn’t admitting defeat. I was recognizing the skills that I had and that I just wasn’t strong enough. I had to build up to it. It didn’t mean I wasn’t capable. It just meant that I was able to recognize when I was ready.
And you can too. Just don’t let other people define your limits OR your success. Only you can do that.