TiAT- Drowning Disappointment
We all have defining moments in life. Some of those moments we fail to make them a teachable moment; and other moments we capitalize and make them into a phenomenal experience. One of my defining moments was when I was nine months from getting out the U.S. Marine Corps, I had to do a tour to Okinawa, Japan. Before I went to Japan with another 1,000 fellow Marines, I had to pass a of series of tests, medical exams and be qualified to help my direct comrades.
A month prior to us leaving to Okinawa, we were all tasked of completing these responsibilities else we couldn’t go on vacation. During my vacation, I was scheduled to be married. Therefore, I couldn’t mess up.
In that week, I missed my swim qualification time. When I say “I missed” my time, that meant I couldn’t even get assistance. I didn’t know how to swim. My initial qualification wasn’t very good, but good enough to pass. I had to take additional lessons during boot camp to pass. Again, it wasn’t very good but at least I knew how to tread water and swim with a backstroke. Unfortunately, that was also the last time I swam.
Supposedly, I was to qualify in another two years but somehow I slipped through the cracks (big smile). It was put off until later. Well, that later was now.
My commanding officer wasn’t just my boss’ boss, he was also my boss as well. The expectation he set for everyone included me, but the rub was that I was my own boss too. No one micro-managed me. I had a lot of freedom. This freedom would come back to bite me in the worst way ever.
The day had come for me to qualify. I tried and tried. The time came and went. Matter of fact, I spent more than the allotted time and missed other appointments. At the end of the last day, I failed to meet this goal. With trembling fear, I walked into my C.O.’s office and explained the day’s events. His blue eyes said everything, but the words hurt more than anything. “You left me with no choice. I have to deny your leave.” I was drowning with disappointment.
When he told me I wasn’t able to go on my 3-week vacation, I was literally crushed from the inside out. I made the phone calls home to everyone and prepared them for the worse. To my surprise, my C.O. had a change of heart under one condition I still had to qualify before we left for Japan. With all that was going on, I gave my word I’d immediately return after my wedding and I would spend everyday in the pool until I qualified. He honored my word and I did as I said.
I qualified to swim after approximately a week later spending about 3 hours in the pool a day. On one of those days, I almost drowned. I felt all my efforts were going to make me a drowning disappointment. But I never gave up. The difference from learning how to swim from boot camp to this time was I didn’t want to let anyone else down again. This accomplishment wasn’t only for me, but for all that supported me.
Being a drowning disappointment was only temporary. Now, I swim with authority. Since learning how to swim, I’ve swam in the ocean to rivers. This experience has taught me that I can really do anything I want if I put my mind to it.
Dream Big. Be More. Do More. Live More.
I write this because my business is personal because this service is for the advancement of all humanity. My failures and successes are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA
March 10, 2018
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