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A Deep Dive Learning Experience

In the fog of business, deep dives are a great way to make sense of what is really going on. Books and articles and consulting practices abound to show you the proper way to apply deep dive techniques. The goal of course is to get to the root cause of a problem and fix it once. I discovered several universal truths about deep dives this past weekend:  Understand proper form and practice before doing a deep dive under time pressure.

To get some swimming buddies off my back, I entered a USSA Masters swim meet at my pool. While I love to swim and occasionally do open water distance swims, I haven’t done a race in 40+ years. So the morning of the race, I realized that each race, save backstroke, started off the starting blocks. I practiced once and thought no big deal. I will just dive deep and that should keep my goggles on. Wrongo!

My first race had me hitting the water and one goggle  flipped open. Four flips and I finished with a blur. Tried to tighten them before the next heat but got nervous and retread them. Worried, I decided to dive deeper and avoid the problem. Dove deeper and this time the goggles came off both eyes. After a lap, I pulled them down to my neck and swam 400 yard without them. Since I finished last, everyone noticed and I exited the pool to great ribbing by my buddies.

Three more events went ok but they loosened in the process. So the last event, a 200 yarder found me coming up with one goggle off. I tried to pull them down again and proceeded to move the loose goggle over my mouth. Try racing and breathing through your nose.  I pull them down and notice all the officials are bent over laughing. Nothing like starting as a master’s competitor and finishing as an aquatic comedian.  At least I left them crying for moreJ.  Ironically, because of my age, I contributed an above average number of points to our team victory.

My “deep dive” experience taught me the value of practicing what was required to compete and of learning proper technique. With a little of either,  I would have enjoyed the event and finished better and earlier. That truth will carry over into my consulting work and improve my client results. And that makes me smile.

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