Our family spent the last week on a much anticipated and well-deserved vacation. We spent the week in Avalon, New Jersey, a beautiful little town on the Jersey Shore. We have been to portions of the Jersey Shore before at various times during past summers. This past week was NOT the peak of summer tourism, as a matter of fact, many Jersey schools had just finished their school year, so the summer buzz was starting, but overall it was quiet compared to previous visits we took during the months of July and August.
While the number of visitors like myself was lower, the intensity of the lifeguards on the beach was higher than I have ever seen. In other words, they were preparing for the busy times that lie ahead. On our second day there, right as the lifeguards came on the beach at 10 AM, there were many whistles being blown and a number of lifeguards running up and down the beach. The first thing that popped into my mind was the concern for those they had to rescue at other locations, when in reality they were training themselves to work as a team and prepare to save a person life. There was a lead lifeguard right in front of us that would blow his whistle at random times and the neighboring guards would jump out of their chairs, grab their buoy and run down the beach to the next station. It was impressive to watch. They were always on watch, expecting the unexpected. Thus, when something out of the ordinary occurred, they hopped into motion without hesitation.
Then an amazing challenge occurred, right in front of us, a “rescue.” The lifeguard whistles blew and they hopped into action swimming out to save a “person” that had gotten caught about 50 yards out from the shore line. As the crowd gathered, the lifeguards swam out to the person in distress, and quickly brought them back to shore. While the other lifeguards cleared an area, the practice dummy was brought to shore and given CPR. These lifeguards were practicing experiencing pressure.
These lifeguards were building habits, so that at some point this summer, when they are called upon to save a life, they have prepared by expecting the unexpected and practicing under pressure. The challenge to the Community of Competitors is to in our lives, expect the unexpected and practice experiencing pressure. We learn these from great performers in athletic events to the daily jobs that many of us engage in every single day.
Following the completion of this challenge and practicing saving the life of the “practice swimmer,” the lifeguards debriefed on the beach. This was just another example that we are all COMPETITORS in life.