Diana Nyad is very close to achieving her dream and I am not only in awe of her and her accomplishment but have also learned a lot about life from following her for the past 4 years. Here’s just a few of those things (feel free to add whatever lessons you’ve learned - post in the comments section):
- All strength comes from within - it starts within and although it may spread outward, it is always anchored within and you have to keep coming back there.
- It’s not about age, gender or any other distinguishing or separating feature - it’s about dream, drive, determination, dedication, destination, development, and gathering the forces around you. The human spirit is so resilient once we wipe away all our limiting beliefs.
- You're never too old. If there is anything that Diana Nyad has taught us is that you are never too old to accomplish feats that many feel are impossible even for younger folks. There are many other older people that have achieved such accomplishments but Diana has made it a crusade to reach out to the older generation to give them hope and to tell them NOT to give up no matter what. You really are only as old as you think.
- Don’t give up - The actual quote, I believe, was “When you are going through hell, keep on going. Never, never, never give up” when Winston Churchill said it. I ask people this all the time - what if Columbus had given up and given in to the fears that he would fall off the face of the earth if it really was flat? Another quote: “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
These people have said it so much better than I could ever. I just know that you will remember when you gave up and have the “what if” syndrome forever. Don’t succumb to that syndrome. If it’s important to you, it doesn’t matter if it’s important to anyone else - it’s yours and yours to do. The Universe doesn’t just give out ideas for the heck of it. You got this idea and dream for a reason! Now achieve it! And remember Thomas Edison’s quote too: “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
- Follow your dream - Don't bury your dreams. keep them alive and find a way to make them work. “Commitment leads to action. Action brings your dream closer.” Marcia Wieder. How many of us have dreams and then say “nah, I could never do that”? And then you file the dream away. Diana had that dream for 35 years. It may have been buried since she didn’t swim during that time but it was in there buried in the soil of her soul, being nurtured like the rose. And finally it has bloomed. Make sure your dream is nurtured and never forgotten.
- Think of others - give of yourself and you'll get so much more back. Gratitude, as I’ve said many times before, is the most powerful force in the universe. When you reach out to others, especially in times of your own struggle, the Universe will reach back and provide you with more strength to rejuvenate your energy banks.
- Have a plan - know what you're up against and make appropriate plans as well as having contingency plans. Don’t consider failure as failure. As Thomas Edison said about all his attempts to create the light bulb - “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas A. Edison
- Be prepared - Goes along with contingency item - but need to be prepared - do your research so you know what you might be up against. “I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games, 26 times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot ... and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That is why I succeed." Michael Jordan. If you’ve tried and “failed” go over every step of that attempt and find out what you should have planned for. Then make changes in your plans and preparation in accordance with that.
- When you think you don’t have anymore, you probably do - just dig deep. Remember all those quotes from above and the ones that say that if you just keep going when you’re about to quit, success will be right over the top of that hill. Diana is having to dig really deep to cover these last “few” miles - they are not “few” at all as anyone with any experience in endurance sports can tell you. But she is trying to go deeper within than anyone ever has in order to complete her dream. This is so important to her and she will find her strength. You can and should also pull strength from others on your team or from the universe.
- Have a team and a coach - you can't operate in a vaccum. you have to have a team and preferably a coach. Surround yourself with people of the same attitude and spirit. There are multiple teams working with you when you are trying to achieve something great - intimate team (probably you and your coach), close team (your support), research teams or work teams that serve one function per team (such as creating the prosthetic mask for Diana, the other jellyfish research that was done news, the team that created her special suit so that it met requirements), the world supporting you - it’s important to get the word out. There can be many different groups of teams - any successful organization has many teams. Always surround yourself with people who have the same values as you do.
- Don't let people tell you differently - don't let people tell you you can't do something or that you shouldn't do something. Remember Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: “Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”
- Don't be defeated before you start. If it’s a dream, it’s your dream and it was given to you to accomplish. Don’t think of all the obstacles or the reasons you can’t do something. As someone wrote about Diana - she’s the “anti-excuse”. There is no excuse other than giving in to your fear and you do not want to do that. Confront your fears and realize that your dreams are priority over your fear and over anything else that threatens to get in the way.
- Things will get tough but you just get tougher - know this ahead of time. Here’s another great quote for you: “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Have a solution based attitude - not a problem based attitude. If you keep looking at something as a problem, you won’t be able to find a solution because you have to be looking for a solution. That is vital. Switch your mindset once you identify an obstacle.
- Don't let anything stand in your way - If you find something that seems to be an obstacle, find a way around or over or even under it.
- Get support from others at large - there is great energy out there in the universe - let’s harness it - this goes along with the team concept but draw energy from the Universe. Ask for support and help. There are many people out there who want to help and want to do whatever they can for you. But you have to ask them.
There are many more lessons from Diana’s Extreme Dream. What lessons have you taken from this experience? Post in the comments section below.