I have to tell you, I am struck and awe-inspired by the magnificent Diana Nyad. I am enamored and reverent… and truly just can NOT believe that she wasn’t the lead story in every single media and news outlet ON EARTH today.
Her story is extraordinarily compelling and just damn amazing. She first became famous for being one of the greatest marathon swimmers in the world. Her story appeared on the front page of the New York Times, and Walter Cronkite profiled her in his nightly newscast as “a woman doing something that nobody had ever done before”. Her feats were an inspiration to both men and women. In 1974, she was the first person to swim the 32 miles across Lake Ontario from north to south, and in 1975, she broke a 50-year old record for the fastest swim around Manhattan Island (which she accomplished in seven hours and 57 minutes!). This incredible 10-year period, spanning from 1969 to 1979 reached its peak and finality when she recorded the longest swim EVER BY ANYONE, a 102.5-mile, two-day journey that spanned from the Bahamas to Florida.
At age 29, she attempted the long distance feat that no one else had… a non-stop 110 mile swim from Cuba to Key West… WITHOUT a shark-cage. Treacherous weather and hours of asthma-inducing (and almost fatal) jellyfish stings kept her from her goal. Beleaguered and defeated, Nyad then quit the sport for 30 YEARS.
At age 60, a yearning came over her and something within her shifted. She just knew… “You’re looking for something. And the dream comes waking out of your imagination”. She awakened to her truest self, and once again took to the water. She attempted the 50+ hour swim THREE more times to no avail, but continued to persevere until the culmination of her dreams manifested today.
I watched with my children as this amazing woman, 64 years of age, reached the shore. Her three pieces of advice when she touched ground in Key West were simple, but resonated with every cell of my being: “One is… we should never, ever give up. Two is… you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three… it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”
There is a little piece of Diana in all of us, but we need to take stock and quiet the dissenting voices within which tell us that we “can’t”. Be your own champion. Rise to meet your own dreams and always remember, as Diana did…that we think life is a solitary sport, but it’s a TEAM. Reach out to those who cultivate your spirit and encourage your soul. Most of all…
I believe that your greatest goals are within your reach. Know as I do, that you deserve the glory that is awaiting YOU at the finish line.