Florence Chadwick was no stranger to goal setting. An American swimmer, she w as the first swimmer to swim the twenty miles across the English Channel from France to England (in 1950) and then a year later swim the same distance from England to France. And in 1954 she attempted unsuccessfully to be the first person to swim across Lake Ontario.
Between the English Channel successes and the Lake Ontario failure, Florence set yet another unbelievable goal; be the first woman to swim the twenty one miles from Catalina Island to the west coast of California. On the morning of July 4, 1952, the ocean between Catalina and California was shrouded in fog – Florence could hardly see the boats accompanying her to keep away the sharks. Fatigue wasn’t a big problem, but the bone chilling temperature of the water was. After fifteen hours of non stop swimming, she succumbed to the temperature of the water and asked to be pulled into one of the boats. Her mother and trainer, in a boat alongsideher, urged her to keep on as they were getting near the coast.Yet all Florence could see was fog – she could have been twenty yards or twenty miles from the shore.
She pulled out of the water too cold and tired to continue. Later, she realized that she was only half a mile from completing the swim and achieving the goal. When she learned how close she was when she quit, she blurted out, “ I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the shore, I might have made it!” It wasn’t the distance or the cold that ultimately did her in – it was the fog. When Florence Chadwick lost sight of her goal, she lost the will to continue.
Here’s the post script: two months later, on a day when there was no fog in sight, she competed the swim, setting a new speed record for the Catalina – California crossing. Same island, same coast, same distance, same body of water. The only difference between victory and defeat was the ability to see the goal.
- FIND THE GOAL – IDENTIFY THE GOAL, SET THE GOAL.
- OVERCOME OBSTACLES TO THE GOAL. – PREPARE SUFFICIENTLY, IDENTIFY ALL POSSIBLE OBSTACLES THAT CAN COME BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOAL.
- KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL. Don’t let it go out of your sight. Keep the goal in sight continuously. Continual review and progress checks keep us energized.
- Set an attainable goal. Even if we fail the first time, goals can be reached the second time.