Sometime my mouth goes off without my brain engaging! Do you know what I am talking about? Something happens, someone says something, I don’t get what I want, or things don’t go the way I have planned and, before I know it, words have come out of my mouth either to myself or someone else, I wish I could take back. I still have to learn when to keep my mouth closed.
I had a podcast conversation with the amazing Tammy Van Wisse, world record breaking marathon swimmer, a couple of weeks ago. If you didn’t hear it, I recommend it whole-heartedly. She has swum over 65000km in her career, including: the English Channel, the Bass Strait, Loch Ness, the length of the Murray River (Australia’s longest river), New York to New Jersey, just to name a few. She also swam in and won a race around Manhattan Island in New York. Before this particular race all swimmers were warned that there was a sewerage plant on the course, and to take a wide berth when they got near it.
I don’t know about you, but if I was swimming near it or through it, I would be keeping my mouth firmly closed with no chance of any of that sewerage getting in. In fact, as Tammy and I were chatting, she said, when you are swimming through the shit, keep your mouth closed! Now, this is not just great advice for swimmers swimming through sewerage, but also a great metaphor for life. There are many times in life when we could use the analogy of swimming through sewerage, right? You may be swimming through some unpleasantness as you read this. If you are, take it from Tammy… keep your mouth closed.
When we are going through challenging times, we tend to become more vocal. Have you noticed that? However, often the stuff we vocalise is not useful. In fact, often it is damaging to ourselves and others. Has someone ever said or done something that you perceived as offensive or insulting, then responded with a verbal barrage that you later regretted? We have all done that. In hindsight, don’t you agree it would have been far better to keep your mouth closed? Have you ever tried something that didn’t work and started telling yourself how inept and useless you are? I believe we have all done it, and again, it would have been preferable to keep your mouth closed. Have you ever found yourself going through challenges and adversity as you aspire to create a result? Yes, we all have. Have you ever found yourself verbalising and justifying why it would be better to just give up? At that moment, it is definitely time to keep your mouth shut.
We are the creators of our own destiny. In other words, we are the captains of our own ship. Whether that ship sails into a beautiful sunset or into an iceberg depends on your willingness to keep your mouth shut when you are navigating through the storm. When it is so tempting to say something defensive, aggressive, or insulting, bite your tongue. When the urge is strong to complain, blame or justify, sew your lips together. When your natural tendency moves you to declare you are not good enough and that giving up on your dream is the best option, please for your own sake, close your mouth.
This is a simple but powerful message I hope you are getting. In my podcast this week called, Other side of the mic, with radio announcer Elerrina McPherson, she explains the challenges as she pursued her dream to be on radio. Trust me, she swam through an ocean of sewerage, and despite the challenges, the negative opinions of others and the time it took, she just kept her mouth closed and kept swimming. She is now living her dream and impacting many lives.
Even as you read this blog, you may be wanting to open your mouth and declare that it is rubbish, won’t work for you or why you can’t do it. Please for your own sake, keep your mouth closed. You can do, become or have anything you set your mind to if you: are clear on what you want, get into action, keep going – even when the sewerage comes – and, keep your mouth closed.