Grab a Paddle

I was never the athlete in my family or at school. I tried many sports, but most of the time, I would carry the bags or assist the coaches with organizing. As I got older, I realized my problem was I needed to look further. Some things don’t require certain abilities I didn’t have.

I was determined to do something; I mentioned running, and I took up golf, and I was ok with that. I do well in kayaking; I can out-kayak my husband, a natural and award-winning runner. I have the mechanics down pat. I took the same class he did, but I got how to paddle.

There are lots of metaphors in life about paddles and boats. Here are some:

  • Paddle your own canoe
  • Everyone is expected to paddle
  • We are all in the same boat
  • Anyone who does not paddle pokes holes in the canoe
  • My favorite: Up a creek without a paddle.

These are all helpful expressions to imagine movement. Like kayaking, you need a paddle to move your work life and use something to propel you forward. You need to get a grip on something to apply the energy to move. You are up the creek, drifting without control if you don’t have something.

So, what can help you at work? There are lots of paddles. Here are some:

  • Taking charge of your skills. Pursuing training and experience and ensuring you know how to do it right. That is the competence paddle.
  • Trying out your new skills and working with others to get feedback. That is the confidence paddle.

Everyone needs those two paddles. When you think of your job, what skills do you need to master? What are you doing to test those skills and get feedback?

If you can get these down pat, you can move on in the direct direction. Over the next two weeks, the blog will be about charting the course for your boat.