When a comment on a social media post mentioned the name of a fitness industry colleague that I hadn’t thought about for a long time, it brought the power of the word ‘learn’ vividly to mind. Meredith King was my aqua coordinator at the Ivanhoe Aquatic Centre in the early 90s, and she was one of the first people I worked for in this industry.
Where it all started
As an instructor in my early 20s, I was well aware that she knew a lot more about delivering great exercise experiences than I did. So I was a little intimidated by her -while also respecting her enormously.
Meredith never missed a thing, and when she was on duty, I could feel her gaze on me as I taught my aqua classes. I desperately hoped that she liked what she saw: it was vital that she thought I was a competent instructor. So, I was anxious the day she came up to me to provide some feedback following a class. ‘Marietta, why don’t you teach anything in the deep water?’
‘I haven’t done anything in the deep water before, Meredith.’
What I learned
I’m sure she said some other words, but that’s the one that made a significant impact on me. To this day, I hear it reverberating in my head every time I quietly say to myself, ‘I don’t know how to do this’ or ‘This is really hard.’
Ten years later, I was asked by Jennifer Schembri-Portelli (affectionately known as JSP) to co-present with Meredith at an Aqua Summit that was the annual highlight of the Victorian aquatic industry. It had been several years since I had last had contact with Meredith, and here I was, being asked to present with her. Yes, I was much more knowledgeable and experienced now, but so was Meredith. JSP requested that I deliver a lecture, complete with a PowerPoint presentation – something I’d never previously done, as all my sessions to date had been practical.
‘Jenny, I can’t – I don’t know how to use PowerPoint, and I’m about to go on holiday to Greece’.
‘How long’s the flight?’
‘It’s about a 24-hour transit’ ‘Then you have time to learn’.
There was that word again – and in a context that highlighted how powerful it was compared to the weaker ones of ‘can’t’ and ‘don’t know’.
JSP and Meredith are women who greatly impacted my life and how I view challenges. I have benefited numerous times from their straightforward yet very practical advice. Life changes can be instigated by some of the most simple but powerful words, and ‘learn’ is unquestionably, one of these. When you find yourself challenged by the need to do something you’ve not done before, remember that you can do hard things. Through learning, you can overcome any obstacle you set your mind to. That’s what has got you to this point in your life. It will take you to the next.
Personal growth and development
Learning new things is essential for personal and professional growth, and attending conferences is an excellent way to expand your knowledge and skills. The H20+ conference offers a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends and innovations in the aqua fitness industry from experts and thought leaders. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your career, attending this conference will help you gain new insights, network with peers, and stay ahead of the curve. Don’t miss out on this chance to enhance your knowledge and propel your career forward.
Your words are so relatable. I have applied for a new position and am nervous about not getting the job and also getting the job. It means a lot more computer work. So without knowing it, your article “Learn” has shifted my outlook to be more positive. Thank you for all your publications.
I’m so glad that you found my article relatable and that it helped shift your outlook to be more positive. It can be nerve-wracking to apply for a new job, especially when there is uncertainty around getting the job and what it might entail. It’s great to hear that my article “Learn” was able to help you in some way. Remember that it’s normal to feel both excited and nervous about the opportunity and whatever happens, you have the ability to adapt and learn. And I’m glad that you find my publications helpful. Keep exploring and learning new things, you have the potential to do great things. And good luck with your job application.