Never Ever Give Up. We’ve all heard that advice dozens if not hundreds of times. So many times, in fact, that it can seem a bit trite, as least to me. But then I saw Diana Nyad’s talk at last month’s TEDWomen and her words gave the saying a new meaning.
What You Probably Already Know – The Results
Unless you’ve been living in a remote village in Nepal (or you are an entrepreneur working 90+ hour weeks), you know that Diana Nyad is the 64 year old woman who recently did something no other man or woman, young or old, had ever done: she swam from Cuba to Florida. She started out from Havana on August 31, 2013, and swam for 53 hours and 110 miles, arriving in Key West on September 2, 2013. Holy S*(t!
What You May Not Know – The Beliefs that Created The Results
A few things you may not know about Diana Nyad and her amazing feat:
1) She failed the first four times she attempted the swim. She was in her twenties when she made her first attempt. And for next 35 years, she never lost sight of her dream and she never stopped believing she could do it.
2) She speaks openly about being sexually abused for years as a teen (by her then swim coach). She has said that she’s used her anger and distress over the abuse to fuel her performance.
3) Her unique dissociative ability to create a world all her own while swimming great distances has been documented in annals of endurance sports.
In other words, Diana Nyad created an almost other-worldly belief in herself and what she could do. She never ever gave up because she never stopped believing she could do it. She extracted strengths from tragic events in her life. (She vividly demonstrated the example that Malcolm Gladwell writes extensively about in his latest book David and Goliath.) Finally, her beliefs drove her reality and her reality created her results.
The Year Ahead – And the Results You Want to Create
The new year brings an opportunity for us to take stock, to make a fresh start, to choose what we want to create for our lives. As you envision the year ahead:
1) What is the feat, the dream, the desire that you want to make a reality?
2) How will your unique strengths support you?
3) What other-worldly belief of yourself MUST you hold to create the results you wish?
Diana Nyad and her swim have inspired me to think bigger about my life and what would be possible if I never doubted myself. It feels exciting and scary and exhausting, all at the same time. And I realize that everything I’ve ever done in my life that I’m really proud of was all of those things. And so worth it.
May 2014 be the year you never ever give up on yourself! Happy new year!