Be an Observer of your Thoughts

Whilst engaging in my regular Sunday morning swim, where I can’t talk to anyone under water, I found myself doing a lot of thinking. This particular morning’s thinking centred around my inability to do tumble turns.

The Tumble Turn Challenge

After a really long break, I have been back to swimming now for almost a year and I have successfully avoided doing any tumble turns for all this time. My excuse has been that whilst I do know the theory of how to carry out the action, it is certainly not with ease. On the odd occasion that I have given it a go, I either missed the wall, had a great deal of water up my nose or felt so out of sync with my breathing, that swimming the next lap seemed an effort of enormous proportion! I told myself that one day I would learn to do it as effortlessly as all the other swimmers in my lane, I just had to find the right time.

When is the Right Time?

I got to thinking about the parallels between my reluctance to taking up the tumble turn challenge for a whole year, and other challenges I have shied away from in the past. I wondered if I could crack the code of what it was that stopped me this time, then perhaps I would be able to circumvent my inaction into the future in other areas. I needed to become Sherlock Holmes and investigate exactly what it was that was stopping me taking action!

As an Occupational Therapist for over 27 years, and a Coach who specialises in Workplace Culture and Training, it was time to coach myself and discover this little known part of my mind. I knew the theory of how to do it, I knew full well that it would improve my times once I mastered this skill, and I had experienced a little embarrassment at being the only swimmer not able to tumble.

So where did that leave me in the “just do it” stakes?

I became an observer of my thoughts, listening to my silent words as I watched myself decide that “enough was enough” and that it was time to face the music! Here is what I heard myself think……..

Mantra: “If you never get started, you will never learn to tumble!”

Question: “But why do you want to tumble?”

Reply: “Why not?” It’s a challenge you have been thinking about and never really given a chance to master. You know you could do it if you put your mind to it.”

Statement: “But it is sooo uncomfortable! I can’t breathe properly and I’m always gasping for air before I come up.”

Response: “You know that is temporary. The better you get at it, the easier it will become. Just look at the others, they don’t seem to be having much of a problem.”

Question: “How will you feel if you don’t ever master this skill, or at the very least, have a really good go at it?”

Reply: “I will always be wondering if I could’ve achieved it. I will feel that I let myself down by focusing on the temporary discomfort, rather than focussing on the outcome I am after. I think that feeling is worse than the water up my nose!”

Question: “What could you do that would leave you feeling satisfied that you did not let yourself down?”

Reply: “I could commit to trying to tumble each time I get to the deep-end; at least for this session to see how it goes.”

Question: “How do you think you will feel after following through with this plan?”

Reply: “I will be proud of myself for having taken the plunge, so to speak!”

Making the Decision to Commit

It was the final reply that did it for me.

I had made the decision to commit because I wanted to feel proud of myself.

And guess what?

I am very happy to say I did a tumble every turn at the deep-end, and then unexpectedly, I started to do it at the shallow end as well, just because I wanted to!

The most amazing thing was happening. All of a sudden, I found myself looking forward to the end of the lap anticipating another opportunity to practice my turn.

As I was getting better with practice, I was gradually feeling more confident and consequently was starting to enjoy myself. I think I was beginning to feel proud!

Can You Relate?

There is nothing more satisfying than mastering a challenge that you never believed was possible.

I am not a master yet, but the lesson I took from this Sherlock Holmes experiment, was that it only takes a moment to make a decision to commit. The time it took to get to the decision was the space for improvement.

How long does it take you to decide to commit?


Hi there! I’m Jacqui Snider and I’m here to help you and your business grow and flourish.

As an Occupational Therapist and Workplace Culture Coach and Trainer, I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations develop better home and workplace practices that everyone enjoys being part of. With more than 35 years of coaching experience, I have personally coached and trained in excess of 350 leaders, bringing about transformational change in both individuals and teams.

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Jacqui Snider

Occupational Therapist,
Workplace Culture Coach & Trainer
Phone: +61 411 235 556

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