What kind of experience do you have? How long have you been doing what you are doing? If you have one year of coaching experience or fifty are you constantly challenging yourself to get better? Are you gaining experience or doing the same thing over and over? Are you making mistakes, learning from them and using them as springboards to improvement? The only way to gain valuable positive experience is to take risks, make mistakes, it is OK. If you stay in your comfort zone and never make mistakes you will not grow, you will repeat the same experience, a very dull existence.
Who would you rather be around and learn from? Someone who is closed minded and knows everything or someone who is excited about learning and constantly working to improve him or herself? For me there is no choice, each day is a new adventure, an opportunity to get better, to expand your horizons. Last Sunday I had lunch with Jim Steen, men’s swim coach at Kenyon College, an icon in coaching, and winner of 31 straight Division III swimming championships. As I reflected on our conversation I could not help but think that here is a man who could be complacent, satisfied, be comfortable in his knowledge, but no way, he is still working to fine tune, to learn to do things better. Experience is a great teacher, but as Jim Steen said to me it is just a process of learning what you don’t know. You gain experience by seeking out new ideas and new approaches, you rediscover old methods and ideas that previously did not work, but will work now at a different time and place. Gaining experience makes each day exciting; there is something to wake up for!