7 Bold Lessons from Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad made history…again. She swam 110 miles from Cuba to Key West, Florida. elle-reader-swimmer-0612-h

Fifty-three hours non-stop.

No shark cage. No fins.

At 64 years of age.

I, on the other hand, did pretty much nothing except eat pastries in that same time period. I’m pretty sure I ate them within record time, but I digress…

I don’t say any of this to beat myself up. I am simply awed by the magnificence of this feat. Of course, I have my own hero’s journey to accomplish. However, in Diana Nyad’s journey I see some important life lessons we all could learn from.

1. Comfort isn’t promised.

A much younger Diana was a potential Olympic athlete until she developed endocarditis which kept her from trying out. Not to mention, during her previous attempts at the Cuba-Florida swim, she suffered anaphylactic shock, excruciating shoulder pain, asthma bouts, and jellyfish stings. Her physical discomfort was not enough to stop her quest. How uncomfortable are you willing to be?

2. To hell with setbacks.

Let’s face it. Sh*t shows up. Apparently, box jellyfish did not exist in those waters until reported in 2010-the year she decided to reattempt the feat.  Not to mention, Mother Nature often refused to cooperate. Rough waters and high winds had delayed her attempts and pushed her off course more than once. She didn’t fight or give up. She waited for the next appropriate time.

“A delay is not a denial.” ~Rev. James Cleveland

3. Others do not get to define “failure” for you.

Diana was successful on her fifth attempt. The four previous tries were often referred to as “failures.” Let’s be real. How many people could achieve what she did during those so-called failures? Call your “failures” trial runs and keep it moving.

4. Age aint nothing but a number.

Sixty. Damn. Four. Age is not a valid excuse. Need I say anything else?

5. Others will think you’re nuts.

When your dreams are big, they’ll be too big for the masses. When they say it’s impossible, they aren’t talking to you. They’re speaking for themselves.

6. Wanting to quit is par for the course. 

After her third attempt, Diana put out her equipment for trash collection. Even champions have their moments. That’s all it is. A moment. If it’s a “goal with soul” (Danielle Laporte’s phrase), the feeling will pass.

7. Revisit what calls to you. 

People may not realize that Diana didn’t swim for three decades. However, her dream called her back to finish what she once started – thirty years later.  Just goes to show that real dreams are tenacious. You can try and set them aside but what is a part of you will never leave you.

I have to thank Diana for reminding us of these seven basic truths. We’re all on our individual journeys and we could all use a little encouragement along the way. Which lessons resonate most deeply with you? Which ones do you struggle with most? Leave a comment.

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