It was a warm summer day in July of 2011. I was prepping to meet my then boss for possibly the final time in my capacity as a drug rep. I was ready to deliver the message. After 5 years at my corporate job, I was going to turn in the suit and tie for a swimsuit and towel. I had been waiting for this day. I had approached the end of the bridge and I was ready to jump off.
Ever since 2009, I had known that this day would come. For those of us that have done this, the scariest moments are the ones that lead up to the day, but once the message has been delivered, there is an overwhelming sense of relief that beholds you. That is soon followed by the “what did I just do” moment, and then relief sets in again. Looking from the outside in, I lived in a great world. I had a great job, paying six figures. I had a company car and the company even paid for the fuel, registration and insurance. My health insurance and company perks were second to none. So why would I leave this life when so many people were struggling just to hold down a job? Why would I leave at a time when the economy was shaky at best? And why in the world would I leave when my wife was 6 months pregnant with our soon to be daughter? I was leaving because I was following my passion. I was leaving because I knew deep down inside that I had a greater calling. Thank God I left!
When I left, the road map wasn’t complete. Just like Google Maps, I knew that I would have to update the road map to success on many occasions. What would success look like to me? How would I define it? Success in my humble definition was and still is defined as the legacy that I leave behind and how many people can benefit from it. What I do at Evolution Swim Academy is simple, I teach kids how to swim. Actually, I teach kids how to survive and be safer around water. I know that what I do will benefit thousands of lives because learning to be a safer swimmer is a life skill that opens so many opportunities throughout one’s life. By providing this life skill to so many young children, I am serving my purpose and living out my definition of success.
My clients are very important to me but equally as important is my staff. I couldn’t do what I do without them. A large part of my road map to success is enhancing the lives of those that work for Evolution Swim Academy. Many of these young people will be here for a short time while on their journey to realizing their goals and passion in life. My job is to make sure that while here I make their lives better. I often tell them that we offer the opportunity to brush up on their interviewing skills. My instructors must give constructive feedback after each safety lesson they teach and do so within a two-minute window. What better way to brush up on your skills than to have to speak with adults, multiple times per day, while delivering a strong message that is clear and to the point. This is exactly what a future boss will look for in an interview. You can really see the confidence grow over time. Couple this up with the life savings skills that they teach on a daily basis and I can confidently say that I help in making my instructors better.
What can be better than teaching our youngest students life-saving skills and providing our employees with a fulfilling opportunity to teach kids these skills and brush up on their verbal communication and presentation skills? Working with organizations that help people during their darkest days. I had the pleasure of speaking at a Megan’s Wings Foundation gala over the weekend and I can honestly tell you that it is one of the most fulfilling things that I have done in a long time. I also had the opportunity to meet Kim and Dave Savage, the founders of the Foundation. This is the 3rd foundation that I have had the privilege of working with. The other two are the Jessie Rees Foundation and The Tinkerbell Guild. Working to help these foundations satisfies my craving for being socially responsible and I am in a great position in that I work with millennials who no longer call giving money to charities “donating” but call it “investing” because millennials are not only investing their money but they are emotionally invested as well. So yes, part of my legacy will be to establish strong relationships with foundations that work to heal people when they most need healing. I will tie in my clients and ask for their support when it is warranted and I will also expose my socially responsible workforce to every cause that I am involved with.
I’m proud that I took the leap of faith 5 years ago. It was not easy but I can tell you now that it was well worth it. In the very words of Kobe Bryant, “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.” BE cautious and calculated but move forward confidently, invest in yourself and in the end, no matter the results, you will be better for it.
Till next time.
PS-Want to read a good article on millennials and their donating habits, click HERE.
Felipe Delgado is the founder of Evolution Swim Academy and all of its programming. Felipe is also the director of the Gators Swim Club. He is married to Megan Delgado and together they have four children. Felipe is a 2x Olympian and attended Arizona State University on a swimming scholarship.