The name Florence Chadwick is probably not one that is familiar, but her story is one worth repeating.
As we release this episode on July 4th, I take you back to a journey that started on this day in 1952.
On that day, Florence Chadwick stepped into the icy water. Her goal? To be the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, that 26-mile stretch from Catalina Island to the coast of California. You see, she was the first woman to swim the English Channel…both ways.
The water was bitterly cold, and the fog was so dense she could barely see her hand in front of her face.
Fifteen hours later, she was still swimming.
At her side were boats carrying her mother and riflemen prepared to fire shots at sharks who got too close.
She was on her way to achieving another goal.
But an hour later, she asked to be pulled from the icy water, and she give up on this historic swim.
When the fog lifted, she realized she was less than half a mile from the California shore.
In an interview afterward, Florence Chadwick said, “Look, I’m not excusing myself. But if I could have seen land, I know I could have made it.”
This story has implications in so many areas
The fog could be a metaphor for all the distractions in our lives that prevent us from seeing our goals.
The fog could be a metaphor for our own lack of planning.
And there’s always the question, “If we could see through the fog, would we even know what we’re looking for?”
Sometimes we just don’t know how close we are to success, and we quit just before the fog lifts.
A question for you…
Can you remember a time when things weren’t going so well, and you were ready to “blow Taps” over the whole thing? Then something happened, and you could see “land” so clearly.
You knew exactly the destination and how far away it was.
Did that clarity also make clear the next step toward getting there and give you the motivation to get started?
This episode releases on what we in the United States call “Independence Day.”
It’s not a bad day to declare our own independence.
- Independence from things that don’t matter.
- Independence from concern over other peoples’ opinions when they don’t know what they’re talking about.
- Independence from procrastination.
- Independence from wasting one more day.
When we know the destination and we know the why, everything gets easier.
Incidentally, Florence Chadwick did try again…two months later.
The water was just as cold and the fog just as dense, but this time something was different.
Not only did Florence Chadwick become the first woman ever to swim the Catalina Channel, but she beat the men’s record by two hours.
On the other side of the fog, there’s “land.” If you can see it, you can make it.
Happy “Independence Day” in more ways than one.
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