Press On! : What Rowing Taught Me About Resilience


You may have the best intentions, but if you do not know how to deal with setbacks, you will be unsuccessful at achieving your goal.

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the three stages to goal setting: planning, implementation, and maintenance.  Many people have a goal; one way of achieving that goal is to devise a great plan.  However, people often fail to take into consideration the obstacles that they may encounter in the process.

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal" - Henry Ford

(Thanks John for inspiring this post with your comment.)

Let me share a rowing story of mine from a couple of years ago, when I was presented with a big obstacle.

After taking a Learn to Row course, I decided I wanted to join the Rowing Team at the university where I would be taking my Master's degree.  So the summer before the start of my degree program, I emailed the coach and asked what the selection criteria were for making the team.  I had the motivation and passion, and I had made a plan - I was potentially going to be on the rowing team that year.

However, the plan came to a halt after reality sunk in.  Even though I wanted to do row, the practices were at 5:30 a.m. every morning at the boat club, which was located in a desolate area far from campus.  I didn't have a car, the subway didn't run at that hour, the buses didn't go to that location, my classes started promptly at 8:30 a.m. (there was no way to make it back to campus in time), and I didn't want to ride my bike alone in the dark in an isolatedarea.

These were all valid excuses for not making the practices,  but they were obstacles that prevented me from obtaining my goal.  I didn't go for the team that year, and I regretted it as I love rowing.

The next summer, I decided to not let obstacles stand in my way again. I thought," I am going to find a way to join the rowing team. It is the last year of my program and I want to be on the team."

I went to the Rowing Team's orientation meeting. I saw another student who I recognized from my classes.  Iintroduced myself and we became friends. We lived across the street from each other and could go to practices together.  Yeah - I thought no matter what I don't have to go alone to practice.  Then,  in my residence, I reunited with a friend and told her about my rowing plans for the year.  She was excited and wanted to try out for the team too ( and she had a car so we could all get to practice!!!!). We all ended up making the team; we had such a great year.

I'm so glad I persisted.  I met some amazing friends who will be friends for life.  Those car rides to practice with four of my teammates at 5:00 a.m. became the favourite part of my day (other than practice).

Someone asked me recently, Why did I go back the second year? My answer: "Because I wanted to achieve my goal and I love rowing." Simply put - I dont give up on things I love.

Rowing taught me to press on!!!  I learned how to be resilient through my experiences.  I will share more of my stories in the coming days.  In the meantime, check out this great video by an amazing coach!!

P.S. If you have any inspirational videos about pressing on, please share them with us here :)

Question:  What obstacles are holding you back from becoming your best? I'd love to hear stories of the obstacles and how you overcame them!

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!