Confidence in what makes you feel secure may be the very thing that is keeping you from reaching your ultimate potential.

It took me three summers of swimming lessons to finally graduate from the children’s swimming “Tadpoles” class to the “Minnows.” I could swim reasonably well. I simply couldn’t pass the final test. The public pool, where I spent hundreds of hours playing, seemed like the Pacific Ocean when it came time for the test. The treading water test was a cinch. The floating exercise was a little tougher. I tended to sink. The hardest thing for me was swimming laps in the deep end! I could swim fine in the shallow end, but for some torturous reason, they made me take the test in the deep end. And I choked!

The reason? I didn’t have the luxury of placing my feet down in times of exhaustion or insecurity. I wanted to know that if I couldn’t make it to the other side, all I had to do was stand up and my chin would be above the water. The only way to keep your head above water in the deep end was to swim! I had to learn to be more confident in my swimming than in my standing.

“People wish to learn to swim and at the same time keep one foot on the ground.” – Marcel Proust

What holds most of us back?

Insecurity disguised in the appearance of security.

People want success without hard work. Achievement without risk.
They want to advance to the top without having to rise to the occasion.

Get out into the deep end of your career and start discovering what you are truly capable of accomplishing.  Here are three quick ideas to help you overcome that insecurity disguised as confidence:

  1. Get a coach that actually knows how to swim. Find a mentor that knows how to manage the deep end and ask them for advice. Don’t take advice from spectators or “experts” that have never actually done what you want to do.
  2. Find and use a style that works for you.  Some people are good at backstroke, others are good at the traditional crawl. Try different methods or approaches to your work. For example, a prospect doesn’t respond to your emails – pick up the phone and give them a call.
  3. Put on a life jacket. Get a couple of people to “swim” with you. Accountability generates action. Tell them what you need to do on a weekly basis to achieve your goals and permit them to “hold you up” by requiring a report on your progress. You will be surprised by the self-imposed motivation you’ll find to do what needs to be done because you want to give a positive update.

Don’t be a wader. BE A WINNER.

~  Steven Iwersen  |  Keynote Speaker, Author of “The Porcupine Principles!”, Relational Leadership Expert


Book Steven for your upcoming event or a special training session for your team – email [email protected] or call 913-406-3824.

Steven is the author of The Porcupine Principles.


“Steven Iwersen knows the secret for teaching principles that improve the challenge of leading others
through significant workplace change and conflict: Tell a good story!  The Porcupine Principles! is an insightful and fun leadership fable that teaches the essence of creating a strategy for successful change management.  I recommend this book to every manager and executive who wants to empower their teams to realize their potential.”   ~  Laura Stack, CEO, Leadership USA