The accomplished long distance swimmer, Florence Chadwick, was very much, a goal orientated person. Having already conquered the Straits of Gibraltar, Bosporus and Dardanelles, in 1950 Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the English Channel, in both directions! Immediately afterwards Florence Chadwick set her sights on a new goal, to replace the one she had just lost by winning it. This new goal, however, would be far more dangerous. Swimming a distance of some twenty-one miles (33 km) through the shark-infested waters of the Catalina Channel, from Catalina Island to Los Angeles in California.

The attempt was scheduled for the American Independence Day: the 4th July 1952. When the day finally arrived Chadwick entered the water from Catalina Island and began swimming towards the California coastline, which, unfortunately, was covered by dense fog. Hour after hour she swam on relentlessly through the icy-cold water. Several times the riflemen in the support boat had to frighten off the sharks. Florence Chadwick was in the water for almost sixteen hours before she gave up and asked to be pulled in to the boat. The elements had taken their toll – she was completely exhausted and frozen to the bone – but the thing that had made her quit was the fact that she couldn’t see the finishing line. The fog had so obscured her view and so completely demoralised her that it sapped her of the will to go on. Soon after being hauled out of the water, Chadwick was to be demoralised even further when it was discovered that she was only about half a mile (1km) away from shore!

Florence Chadwick was utterly devastated but nevertheless, she immediately set herself a new goal, a fresh target to give her renewed hope and the inspiration to continue. Just two months later she was back again for another attempt. Once again the coastline was covered in dense fog but this time she overcame the obstacle and won through. Not only was Florence Chadwick the first ever woman to swim the Catalina Channel, but she also broke the previous all-time speed record by some two hours!

If you want to succeed in the game of life you have to be constantly moving forward, always with a goal or target in mind. Like riding a bicycle; if you want to keep moving you’ve got to keep pedalling. So don’t ever stop setting new targets or and making plans. And whenever you succeed and achieve your goals, make sure that you set new ones to replace the ones you just lost by winning them.

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, Discover Your True Potential, chapter 3