At seven years old Michael Phelps lowered himself into a swimming pool for the first time.
His hair stayed dry.
Back then young Michael would keep his head above water and just float around because he was afraid to put his face underwater.
He did this for months.
With all that floating on his back it’s not surprising that Michael’s first swimming technique was the back stroke.
A skill he learned on his own, without coaching.
(Sounds pretty ordinary, doesn’t it? Many children start their swimming experiences in similar ways.)
Now at this point was Phelps an obvious Olympic swimmer?
The question is absurd, I know.
Most of the time we don’t start out as champions.
My introduction to swimming came earlier.
My mother took me to swimming lessons when I was 3 years old. Four years earlier than Phelp’s age when he started.
Alas, my earlier start didn’t lead me to Olympic stardom. In fact, I never swam competitively.
Embarrassing Story: When I was 7, my mother made me wear a goofy floatation device at summer day camp. (I guess she wasn’t convinced the swim lessons had paid off.)
None of the other kids had to wear a floatie. Just me.
The camp counselors were instructed to make sure I wore it during pool time….this caused my interest in swimming to tread water for a few years until I shocked myself by earning The Mile Swim badge at Boy Scout camp. I was 13.
Ever swim for a mile straight without stopping? It is harder than it sounds.
Since then I’ve been completely comfortable and confident around water.
I’ve just never come close to being a great swimmer. Because that’s something I don’t desire.
I’ll bet the mile swim was much easier for Michael Phelps when he was 13. In fact, he was competing in his first Olympics at age 15 (in 2000.)
Yet Phelps won ZERO medals in his first Olympics.
Okay, so what does this have to do with blogging? Why am I comparing my swimming experiences to Michael Phelps?
Because if you want to win a gold medal in blogging, you need to get rid of two things:
1. Your preconceived notions about what it takes to get there.
2. Your expectations on when you will reach success and how.
Your story doesn’t have to emulate my story or anybody else’s story.
To win a gold medal in blogging, you need two things…like an Olympic athlete, the first thing you need is desire.
Desire will carry you through the current situations in your life that appear to be holding you back.
Remember, how your situation looks today doesn’t mean anything or predict your final result.
When Michael Phelps left the 2000 Olympics with ZERO medals, did anyone think he would go on to win 28 medals?
Or when seven-year old Michael was floating around in the pool afraid to swim with his head underwater, did anyone think he would be in the Olympics 8 years later?
This is why I compared my early swimming experience to Phelps. And why it’s inspiring to see how successful people got started.
It’s not how we start. It’s how we finish.
Our early experiences don’t define us.
You don’t have to be “gifted” in blogging at a young age or be a professional writer or a web developer to succeed.
Your story will not be a linear progression like most Hollywood scripts. There will be highs and lows, unexpected challenges and unforeseen obstacles along the road to success.
I’m quite average when it comes to swimming. On the other hand, I have reached a level of success as a blogger.
My role today as a blogging coach is to teach people who have a desire to blog to get in the pool for the first time.
Then I teach them how to float.
Then tread water.
Then dog paddle.
Then do the backstroke….I help bloggers become their best at what they do online.
And YOU just might be the next
Michael Phelps Heather Armstrong I have the privilege of coaching.
Nobody will know unless you dive in.
If you want to progress at a faster pace, do what Phelps did:
He found a teacher.
Or maybe the teacher found him.
When the Student is Ready, The Teacher Appears
The first time Bob Bowman saw 10-year-old Michael Phelps, he was playing games with his friends behind the pool.
Bowman could see right away that Phelps was competitive. He hated to lose at anything.
It was at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club where Coach Bowman began working with young Phelps.
Eventually the two of them transitioned to the U.S. Olympic team where Bowman continued to work with Phelps and other swimmers over the years. He has also coached at several university swimming programs.
Bowman saw the potential and devoted himself to Michael’s success. His coaching has been a huge factor in the Phelps legacy.
Where would Phelps be today without Coach Bowman?
Finding a coach is the second thing you need to win a gold medal in blogging.
Without a coach, you won’t grow. Or the growth will be extremely slow.
If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry… I can be your coach.
Blogging is something I will help you learn without us ever having to meet in person.
The internet provides many golden opportunities to learn new things.
Here at Build Your Own Blog I take new bloggers from dog paddling to breast stroke champion.
If you’re willing and have the desire to succeed, I’d love to help you get where you want to go.
[tweetthis]I found a blogging coach on Build Your Own Blog![/tweetthis]
Show Me Your Gold Medals
Some of you might be thinking, “Okay Matt. What about you? Have you ever won a gold medal in blogging?”
First of all that’s a subjective question. There are no medals handed out for blogging. There is no global committee that judges bloggers on events like the 500 word blog post sprint or the keyword hammer toss.
What if my answer is no? So I’ve never won a gold medal in blogging. Does that change the message here?
Here’s something to think about: Michael Phelps trainer (Bob Bowman) never won a gold medal in the Olympics.
True story. Bowman is a fantastic swimming coach even though he has never actually won an Olympic gold medal.
You see, sometimes the student outperforms the teacher.
Pretty exciting, isn’t it?
I have no doubt I’ll see blogging students from here go on to achieve way more than I ever did.
Like Bowman had the privilege to coach Phelps, I get to watch you grow into a blogging gold medalist (whatever niche you compete in.)
Will You Win Gold?
Tell me in the comments if you have a desire to win a gold medal in blogging. Whatever your “gold medal” looks like, I’d love to hear you describe your definition of success.
Then together we can begin one of the most pleasurable experiences in life…
Passionately pursue your dream.
[tweetthis]I’m going to win a gold medal in blogging one day![/tweetthis]
Photo Credit: Michael Phelps by Marco Pakoeningrat CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit: DSC_3966 by Nicole CC BY-SA 2.0