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Don’t worry about everything, just swim

Louella Schooley

Tuesday night saw the Norfolk Network become immersed in the world of ocean swimmer, Tracy Clark. But this remarkable woman wasn’t really there to talk to us about how to swim The English Channel, The Catalina Channel or The Gibraltar Strait. Instead she stood in front of us and talked for an hour to tell us how to conquer our fears.

In reality not a single person in the room was, or would ever be, capable of swimming for 12 hours 46 mins in water that was 12 degrees or below. Nor will we ever be capable of swimming an ice mile in less than 5 degree water. No amount of training would probably get us there because shark-phobic Tracy Clark is truly unique in her determination, desire and just plain old grit. What we could all learn about was something much simpler… how to be brave.

Tracy Clark tells the Norfolk Norfolk how to avoid sharks.

As a 40 year old, new to the art of ocean swimming, her biggest mountain to overcome was the “naysayers”, the “of course you can’ts”, the “at your age-ers?”, the  “two legged-sharks” as she called them. There were so many of these that it might have been enough to put a less determined character off. But not Tracy.

Amongst all these “you won’t make it” comments, was one little glimmer of positivity – her husband. His wonderful response to the news that she was going to swim the English Channel was, “Yes, I believe you can do this but you’d better find a training pool first.”

So she grabbed hold of this belief and held on tight. It wasn’t easy but she worked and she worked and she worked. So darn hard, that she succeeded in becoming the 14th person to swim the channel. She didn’t let either her fear, or others negativity stop her from chasing her dream.

What did I take away from all this networking event? I’m as afraid of sharks as she is. Are the two legged kind worse than the big scary sea-dwelling types? Probably. What skills do we need in business to overcome our negative thoughts or the negative comments from others. Nothing that we don’t already have inside us. Determination, grit, belief and just one little person who can offer up something positive every now and again.