It was time to deal with the deep end of the pool as part of my swimming lessons. There was a fear inside, a sinking feeling!

My coach took me to the ladder at the deep end, and asked me to hold my breath and stand on the floor. I had to then bounce back to the surface and tread the water. It took a short while, before I could do it comfortably. Little by little, I was conquering my fears.

After it became easy, I started looking around, under water. I started building a sense of familiarity with the surroundings. The pool, and the deep end, became known, less intimidating. I learned how long the deep section is, how far the walls are, how tall I had to rise to reach the surface. The familiarity built a sense of connection, confidence and security.

In life and work, we face new territories, new challenges and new systems. It is scary and unnerving at times. But if we take time to familiarize with the context and landscape, it becomes a lot less unknown. Less frightening, less intimidating.

They say “familiarity breeds contempt”. To put it in a positive manner, I would say “familiarity increases confidence”.