“Reach forward!”

“Twist your body!”

“Look straight ahead!”

I am a newbie in our dragon boat team.

My movements during dragon boat training (a lot of times) appeared lousy and improper. Especially that I took a hiatus of almost one year. And during those times, the captains and the more senior members would always call my attention.

<Not just me though. They do it to all who needs correcting.>

I remember that in my first few training sessions where I get corrected, I sometimes felt slighted. It was because I am not used to people telling me what to do. I am the one who usually does that. Mind you, I am good at bossing people around. Especially that in calling your attention, they will not whisper at you. They will shout at the top of their lungs for the the whole team and the other teams to hear.

My mind used to harbor arrogant thoughts like…

I live in a resort-type condo!

I hold good positions at reputable organizations!

I earn more!

Sometimes, I would answer back and made excuses. As if that changed anything.

Then, every time these thoughts popped in my mind, I felt that my performance would degrade. I would not listen anymore. I would insist on doing things the way I wanted it done. And every time this happened, I know that the rest of the team would feel the impact. It would somehow degrade the performance of the team.

One important learning that our team captains would always instill in our mind during training is that dragon boat is a synchronization sports. We need our actions to be in sync for us to make our goals. When a command is asking for “Power Longs”, then you need to do it — at the right pace, at the right time. You need to follow the command to the very letter, otherwise you would be dragging your whole team’s performance with you.

This was what I would remind myself when those thoughts chanced upon my mind. I would always tell myself that I was new in this area. If I want to do good in this sports, then I need to listen to those people who were guiding me — the captains, the signal and the coach. They always and only have the best interest of the team in their minds. Besides with the number of years in the team, they have earned all the rights to guide a newbie like me. Also I keep on telling myself that if I refuse to listen, then I would not realize the benefits of this sport.

So now every time the captain would call my attention, I would just say, “Yes Captain!”. Also during breaks I would sometimes demonstrate and asked those who corrected me to check if I was doing it properly (if the instructions were unclear to me).

Now, I hear less corrections from my teammates. And every time I hear one, I would always do a quick check to what I was doing. Then I would distract my mind and would stretch myself just to get synchronized with the rest of the team. I would always remind myself that I am not the only one who is getting tired so I need to do what I could to sync back. 🙂

PDRT Fireblades

Photo: Owned by Atty. Kap George Ventayen

This is what I would like you to take from reading this.

We need to realize that in all that we do in life, a lot of these involve team work. It could be a project at a non-profit organization or your regular work. Always remember that you need to synchronize yourself with the rest for all of you to realize your objectives. You can’t be in a parade marching to a different beat. You won’t only be endangering yourself (in the process) but also those who depend on you.

Also, a lot of us believe that we are good at something. In venturing, however, to a new project — say stock investing — you need to remember that for you to do well, you need to reach out to those who are excelling in these areas. Learn from them. Study how they do things. Ask them to check on you.

Remember that for you to learn in a new field, you need to empty your cup. Fill your cup after with the knowledge that you need. Listen to those who came ahead of you, and strongly consider their suggestions.

Another thing, do not be too sensitive. Learn to appreciate suggestions for improvements. The only way for you to grow is to get feedback. <One of my important learning as a toastmaster.>

Let me simplify my message.

What I need you to appreciate is “humility”. You need to humble yourself and learn to listen. Be open to suggestions, and strongly consider these.

Believe me.

Humility and your ability to listen will take you far to reaching your desired destination.



PS: Featured image was taken from https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2014/04/17/17/45/dragon-boat-326661_960_720.jpg.