If there’s one key trait I’ve learned that’s the biggest indicator of success over the years, it’s gotta be having enough confidence you can do something that pushes you to jump in and try—even if you might not end up doing it perfectly.
Most recently, I’m seeing this play out with my son who’s learning how to swim. And if you would watch how he can’t wait to get into the pool almost every day (sometimes before he’s even eaten breakfast) and the expression of pure joy that lights up his face as he whooshes down the little kiddie slide he’s had for years, briefly hangs in the air over the edge of the pool and lands with a loud splash into that part of the pool that just almost marks the boundary between the “safe end” where he can stand and the “deep end” of the pool where he knows is just a bit beyond his current abilities…
…and if you could hear the laughter and pride in his voice once he pulls himself to the surface and kicks his way towards the steps, shouting, “Did you see that, Papa?!??” so he can levitate out of the pool, run back to the slide and do it all again…
…you’d have no idea that just a few weeks ago, this same, 5 year old boy would stand agonizingly on the steps, looking at everyone else in the pool and be frozen, simply unable to compel himself into the water—despite loving to run and play in the sand and surf on the beach.
So what’s different?
Well, as I said from the beginning, his confidence level is in a dramatically different place than it was when he was stuck on the steps, desperately wanting to join in, but unsure whether he really had the skills he needed to keep himself safe in the process.
But the real question to examine is: how did he develop so much confidence so quickly?
And the answer to that question is the 15-minute swimming lessons he’s been getting in the interim.
Yes, you heard that right: 15-minute swimming lessons.
But that’s not the most impressive part. The most impressive part is that he’s only had about 6 of these lessons over the last several weeks to get him from not wanting to get into the pool to someone who’s happy setting off armed only with a pool noodle and kicks his way from one end of the pool to the other.
Now, I have to admit that I was…let’s just say that I was more than skeptical at the concept of a 15-minute swimming lesson being able to do much good. But, after hearing rave reviews of the instructor from other parents, I decided that we should give it a go and see what happened.
Having watched what she does during those 15 minutes, it looks pretty simple and straightforward. It’s not demanding or intensive. Instead, it has him laughing, having a good time—and subtly doing the most important thing of all…
…far more important than learning the mechanics of putting your face in the water, floating on your back, or kicking you legs the right way.
Every thing she does is focused on making him comfortable in the water, and once she’s done that, it’s about using just the right amount of support and attention to give him the confidence that he can actually do whatever it is she’s asking him to do…
…wherever he might be in the pool.
But still, from time to time, there’s hesitation. Like yesterday, when I was swimming with him, and I was asking him to swim towards me as I stood on the verge of the “big drop off” between the shallow end and the deep end of the pool.
“Is it deep?” he would ask, looking carefully at where I was standing.
“Yes,” I said. “I’m in the deep part. But the thing to remember is that if you’re swimming, it doesn’t matter how deep it is. It only matters how deep it is when you stop.”
He still wasn’t sure. “But I’m scared,” he said.
“I know you are. And that’s ok,” I said. “I know you can do it. I’m here, and I’ll catch you.”
A moment’s more hesitation, and he was kicking his way towards me, head under water, and soon grabbed my outstretched hands, delighted that he’d done it.
Of course the kicks weren’t perfect…and there were a few times where he’d start, stop, and have to start again because he let his fear get in the way of actually doing what he knew how to do.
And that’s the thing. Whether it’s learning to swim or whether it’s learning how to do security architecture, there’s a lot we can know. There’s a lot we can absorb…
…and we can even feel compelled to call out where others who actually are in the pool and making the effort to try are falling short.
But it’s taking that step. It’s making the effort.
It’s having the confidence to actually try to put that knowledge into practice that allows you to actually make progress in your own professional development…
…and that enables you to do a much better job of keeping your organization just that little bit safer than it was the day before.
The trick is that this confidence rarely springs forth, fully formed and ready to enable you to act. It takes time to develop.
And it only can develop when you can try – and fail – safely and with the support and guidance of someone truly focused on enabling you to take action…
…on your own…
…and with the confidence to start—even if you know it won’t be perfect or that you won’t have the authorization and approval you’d like to have within your organization or to even try something new in the first place.
There’s only one place I know where you can get the support I’m talking about on your journey to becoming – or growing your practical skills as – a security architect, and that’s as a member of the next cohort of our flagship Building Effective Security Architectures learning experience that kicks off in just a few weeks.
If you’re tired of knowing what you should be doing as a security architect to truly enable the business and are ready to actually start doing it,
Here’s the link: https://archistry.com/besa.
It’ll be great to have you join us.
Andrew S. Townley
Archistry Chief Executive