Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ten Things to Learn from Diana Nyad’s Swim

The media coverage of Diana Nyad’s amazing 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida received extensive media coverage. Chances are good you’ve probably already heard her three messages-“One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you are never too old to chase your dream. And three is, it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team."

At 64, living with asthma, Nyad knows a few things about “living well” with a chronic condition. Below are my thoughts on what we can learn from this incredible adventure and historic swim.

• With age and experience-both the good and the bad-comes an ability to understand how to survive and thrive. In many ways, Nyad was probably better prepared mentally at 64 for this type of endurance swim then she was in her late 20’s. Embrace your age and various experiences as they are what shape you and make you the person you are today. Your Best isMore than Good Enough 

• With each swim attempt, she made modifications so she would be better prepared for the next one. Learn from the past-the negative lessons are just as helpful as the positive ones- to be better prepared for the future.

• There are people who are questioning Nyad’s swim-did she rest for a while on a boat, was she truly unassisted etc.   No matter what you do, there will be those people who are skeptical. We have to live with ourselves, so be true to your self.

• Some critics said she wasn’t true to her sport because she used a special facemask to protect herself from the jelly fish stings. Nyad’s comment was "I don't mean to fly in the face of your rules, but for my own life's safety, a literal life-and-death measure, that's the way we did it.” Play and dream as big as you can, but don’t endanger yourself or others in the process.

•  Nyad did not follow the English Channel rules for her open swim. Why? Because she wasn’t swimming the English Channel and so needed to make modifications accordingly. We are each unique and one size doesn’t fit all, whether it’s clothes, medications, spiritual beliefs or your approach to healing. Do what feels right for you and the situation you are in.

• Live your dream not someone else’s.

• As Nyad noted, it takes a team. We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Be there for others and allow them to be there for you.

• Nyad credits her team as much as herself for achieving the swim. Surround yourself with people that are supportive and believe in you.

• Now that this marathon swim is behind her, Nyad is moving on to other projects, with a special emphasis on helping raise funds for communities who have been struck by disasters. Having purpose is key to living a long and fulfilling life. Power of Purpose 

• Nyad was unaware of the controversy around her swimming methods until it made national news. “First of All, I was trying to feel some joy.” "No one's going to take our joy and our moment that the world was inspired by away from us. Nobody." And what better way to end this post then with that quote and the goal of looking for the joy in all that you do.

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