"You don't know how to swim?"

Me: “I am taking a swim class.”

Everyone: “You don’t know how to swim?”

A few weeks ago I started a swim class. Every Sunday morning I arrive at the pool at 7:30 AM eagerly awaiting an hour of shivering and scolding. (Fortunately, I am joined by my friend, Jackie Sheffer AKA star pupil.)

I do know how to swim. I know how to swim enough so that I do not drown.

I am learning to be a great swimmer to compete in a triathlon this summer.

In our training and leadership development company, XperienceU, we work with leaders and teams who already have the skills they need to “not drown.” We are facilitating experiences that create space for people to learn and practice the leadership skills and behaviors to find next level solutions.

We use skills everyday that we may do well, but not great- we make presentations, engage in difficult conversations, lead teams, etc. When we approach our work with an intentional solution-focused mindset, we increase the opportunity to excel.

Before I walk into a coaching session, facilitate a workshop or start a new project, I ask three questions to help me focus on the outcome I want. I applied the simple solution-focused strategy to my swimming:

What do you want?
To swim efficiently in a triathlon this summer.

How would you know you got it?
By completing the swim portion of the tri, having enough energy to complete the race.

Suppose you finished the triathlon swimming more efficiently than you could have imagined, what did you do to get that result?   
I was was attentive in swim lessons, asking questions and confirming I was executing correctly
I practiced with intent three times a week
I completed 10 open water practice swims


Slowing down to check in with ourselves to clarify the outcome, is critical to taking the skills we have, and making them great. I have not achieved the swimming proficiency I am capable of achieving, I do have a plan to get me to the next level.