Swim Parallel to Shore

Copyright 2014 Artisans Workshop Designs
Copyright 2014 Artisans Workshop Designs


“Swimming parallel to shore”–that’s still stuck in my mind from Vanessa’s post (my friend who writes a financial blog. Click here to be taken to her post on “Recouping from a Job Loss”.

The phrase has me think about ways to re-vision things you’re dealing with.  For instance in the case of job loss, as Vanessa wrote about in her blog.  Instead of doing an about-face with your career, such as leaving it for a totally new one, think about ways you can swim alongside of it.

We’ll use the example of an engineer who loves building bridges.  The engineer had a fine job doing work she/he loved. Then the engineer was laid off and had trouble finding a new position. Instead of leaving the field entirely and switching to a totally different industry and career, what if the engineer looked for ways to swim alongside, parallel, to the work he/she had loved doing?

Instead of working for a firm that engineered the whole project, perhaps there’s opportunities with boutique firms that specialize in just the design portion of the project, or there might be one whose specialty is troubleshooting when projects go south.

Another way the person could swim parallel to engineering bridges is to ask what other industries can use bridge builders? Adding water features to residential properties is a very popular thing to do right now. Perhaps the engineer can team up with people in the construction industry to design water features for their projects. In so doing, the engineer might then come up with a Do-It-Yourself kit to market directly to homeowners.

You can come up with some very interesting opportunities by “swimming parallel” to your challenges!



Your homework is to mark off quiet time for yourself today—make it at least 20 minutes without interruptions. Sit quietly with a pencil and paper, or other means of capturing thoughts and ideas. Hold in your mind your most pressing challenge. Think of ways you can swim parallel to it.

It’s very important that you don’t censor any thoughts or ideas you come up with during this session!!! 

You’ll have a chance in a little bit to go over the ideas to make them workable, but right now you just want to generate options for yourself, no matter how outlandish.

Once your session is finished, let this sit for a little while. Remind yourself to come back to the list at the end of the day or the next day.

As you go over the list, which of the ideas excite you, get your juices flowing? Those are the ones to work on. Sure, they may seem big and scary or they may seem totally “out there”. Hint: sometimes the most outlandish and audacious ideas turn out to be the most valuable and most helpful! 

Take these ideas that have the kick of energy to them and turn them into steps. Break these steps into small enough pieces that you know are easy to do.

Then do them!!

You can do it, I am absolutely sure you can!

I’m proud of you!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,


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