On August 31, 2013, Diana Nyad made history when she swam the 110 mile distance between Cuba and Key West, Florida. It was her fifth attempt at the impressive feat—one that was more than 30 years in the making. While most 60-somethings are making their retirement plans, Diana was training to achieve a goal she set as a young swimmer. Despite several failures, she never gave up.
Diana shared her story with the audience at the Philadelphia stop of Brian Buffini’s Success Tour. We were certainly inspired. Here are five lessons we took away from her inspirational message.
Trust in the power of the human spirit. There’s no doubt that swimming the more than 100 miles between Cuba and Key West is a challenging physical and mental experience. The training alone can be painful. Add into the mix the run-ins with jellyfish, hypothermia and sensory deprivation and most people would quit, full stop. Not Diana. With her goal in mind, she persevered and made repeated attempts to reach her goal until she succeeded.
Lesson #1: The body can endure a host of physical hardships; however, it’s the human spirit that makes everything possible.
Success is more than numbers. Many people think that success is reaching a certain numerical goal; that it’s all about having the most closed transactions or having the most money. However, the journey also plays an important role in success. In fact, you’re on the way to succeeding just by trying.
The following quote by Theodore Roosevelt about courage is one that drove Diana throughout her journey:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Lesson #2: Although the end goal is important, the journey you take to get you to your goal—including the trials, challenges and failures—is just as vital to achieving success.
Listen to your inner voice. Ever since she was a little girl, Diana Nyad knew she was destined to become a swimmer. Her father put the seed in her head at an early age, showing her that her name meant “girl or woman champion swimmer.” Living in Fort Lauderdale, her mother told her that Cuba was so close you could almost swim there. She trained hard as a swimmer, giving up a lot to reach her goals. When she didn’t make the Olympic swim team, she tried her hand at marathon swimming. She made her first attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida in 1978 at the age of 28. Subsequent attempts were dashed by the difficulty of getting a visa.
However, during the 30 years between her first and second attempts, she never stopped thinking about the Cuba to Florida swim. She had a successful broadcasting career and interviewed other people who were chasing their dreams. She never forgot hers. When she turned 60, the voice telling her to try again became deafening. Prompted by the death of her mother and Christopher Reeve, as well as the poem by Mary Oliver, The Summer Day in which she writes “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” she set out to make another attempt at swimming the distance from Cuba to Florida.
Lesson #3: Listen to the voice in your head that never lets you forget your dreams or destiny. It’ll help you ensure that you live your life with no regrets.
Lean into the support of your team. Diana says that she couldn’t have made it without her team. Not only did they keep her fed and on course, they also provided her with the encouragement to keep going when she saw the lights of Key West and had a 15 hour swim in front of her. Before she reached the shore, she circled them around her and told them, “WE did this together. We made history together.” While they may not have been in the water, their support was imperative to achieving her goal.
Lesson #4: You’re not an island. While you may achieve the goal yourself, you have a team of people around you who support you along the way. Thank them for their dedication and assistance.
Never give up. Diana put in years of training to become a great swimmer and made the sacrifices necessary to become a champion. When she didn’t make the Olympic swim team, even after putting her all into it, she could have hung up her swim cap and goggles for good. Instead she became a long-distance swimmer, enduring long, painful marathon swims that would make anyone give up. When she failed to achieve her goal the first time, the second time and even a third and fourth time, she regrouped and made another attempt. She was determined not to give up even when giving up was the easiest thing to do.
Lesson #5: Never, ever give up.
Did you miss hearing Diana Nyad’s inspirational story at Brian Buffini’s Success Tour in Philadelphia? Get inspired and motivated to thrive this year. Brian Buffini’s Success Tour will give you the knowledge, tools and motivation to make this year your best. You have two more opportunities to catch Brian and crew this year. Reserve your seat today at BrianBuffini.com!