The best JOB in the world is one that is never treated like a job but treated as a passion. My past is well documented. I grew up swimming as an age grouper in Mission Viejo. I left Southern California for the desert when offered a partial scholarship to attend Arizona State University. I swam all four years at ASU and decided to continue swimming as a post-graduate. Some would say that continuing to swim post college is postponing the “growing up” process that comes after college, but I preferred to call it living out a dream “part 2.” I wanted to go the Olympic Games just one more time (my first Olympics was part 1). I felt that I had unfinished business at the Olympic Games and heck, why not. Look, I was a realist. I was not in a position to win the Games but satisfying enough to me would have been to place in the top 8. Unfortunately, that never happened. I did go to the Olympics but had one of the worst meets of my life. I should have just ended my career in 1996 when I swam at the Atlanta Games. I quickly realized after the Games that swimming had become a job to me and not a passion. I went through the motions, attended all of the meets leading up to the Sydney Olympics but did it without the same desire and fire that I had in 1996. The results would speak for themselves.
After my swimming career ended, I worked in corporate America for a few years before I realized that I was once again just going through the motions, doing what I needed to do to get through the day and feeling as empty as can be. The feelings were eerily similar to those I felt training for the Sydney Olympics. I was working a “job” that I did not have a passion for nor did I see as having a long-term place in my life. It was then that I decided to teach swim lessons on the weekends and evenings, just to get my mind off of work. Little by little, swimmer by swimmer, I started to feel that fire again. I would go home and obsess about teaching methods and training techniques to improve my overall approach to lessons. Not only that, I started to write out plans that I felt would help me teach more effectively and help me better understanding how kids learned and what techniques provided my student’s the highest levels of success. I felt alive again and felt a passion for something that involved swimming but more importantly, involved truly making an impact in the life of a child. This was important because at my corporate “job,” we were taught that we were making an impact in peoples lives by the “job” that we carried out each day. The only problem was, I didn’t feel it and I did not share the passion that was held by the people preaching to us.
That is how I got started and that is how this became a passion and has never been a “job” for me. When people ask me what I do, I proudly proclaim that I am a “swim instructor.” While most people consider this a high school / college job, I consider it my passion and soon, after 9 years of fine tuning and tweaking, I will be proud to say that I am a “swim instructor” and owner of a “shiny new indoor learn-to-swim facility” in the beautiful city of Mission Viejo. I hope that you will follow me there!