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long lake viewOn the morning of June 26, 2015, I put on my swimming suit and swam from the dock at our cottage on Lake Redstone to the flag across the channel that is barely visible in the picture.

I don’t know exactly how far that is, but round trip I would guess it is close to a mile.

I have witnesses. Being the person in the group normally holding the camera though, this time there are no photographs.

Or that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

My days of batsuit flying are long past. Last year I tried whitewater paddleboarding down the Credit River and nearly killed myself and thought my days of challenging sports feats was behind me. But that flag over there had been teasing me, coaxing me to swim to it, and so once I had convinced my husband to be my spotter on the trip, I was off to conquer it.

We in HR have a problem. We aren’t engineers and so we don’t invent things. We aren’t carpenters so we don’t build things. We aren’t generally entrepreneurs and we don’t create companies. We are bureaucrats and mess cleaners and sometimes strategists. But we don’t have a good outlet in our work that smacks a good “ta da” or true sense of achievement. In HR, there are few trophies.

But underneath, we are engineers and carpenters and entrepreneurs. We sometimes just need another outlet other than the workplace to display those capabilities and feel good about our accomplishments.

I recently saw a news program where they suggested that kite surfing was the modern golf game. They suggested that if you wanted to attract private equity you had to be good at kite surfing, which as I understand it is very difficult to master. This saddens me because I’ve been spending years trying to get better at golf!

But then there’s open water swimming, one important leg of any triathalon. The one leg I can do.   The one I can do better, faster, each time. The one where I can get past the grossness of swimming in something where I can’t see the bottom. The one that taps into my skills of an earlier age. The one that carries a small risk that I might drown.

Where do you get your sense of achievement?


  1. Bonni:

    I have a similar story having a cottage on Georgian Bay with an island across from me. It took more time than I would have liked, but the point is – I did it – and you are absolutely right – it feels great!!

    Thanks for your continued inspiration personally and professionally.

  2. So true Bonni, positive feedback and praise is something HR people advocate for others but rarely receive.

    I am a perpetual student, I think that is how I obtain my sense of achievement.

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