“Never give up, you’re never too old to pursue your dreams, and trust in a team to reach your goals.”
Those are the words of Cuba-to-Florida swimmer Diane Nyad.
On August 31, 2013 at 8:59 AM, Diane Nyad set off from the coast of Cuba to make the 110-mile swim to Key West, Florida. This would be the first time in history the swim was completed by anyone without a shark cage. Attempts have been made since 1950, but nobody has made the swim from Cuba to Florida.
Her accomplishment is more than amazing, but her statements and language are what impressed me the most. I am a huge fan of watching people push themselves beyond what they think it possible and breaking through the status quo.
Let’s take a look at Diane’s 3 life lessons and see how they affect your life:
1) She failed 4 times in her attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida, and not once did she consider making that failure her last attempt at the swim. The challenge began in 1978, and after 36 years, she has completed her goal. Diane exemplifies a super characteristic of successful people in all areas of life, where the attitude of “never give up” is extremely strong. She was bit by jellyfish multiple times, dehydrated, swimming through 2–3 foot swells. When you are in a tough relationship, do you give up and break up or get divorced, or do you work on finding out the reason why you fell in love with that person in the first place? When your business is not doing well, do you give up and quit, or do you take control of the situation and make life work for you? When your finances are not holding up, do you declare bankruptcy to avoid paying back money, or do you find ways to create income, even though it’s not exactly where you want to work? When you miss a few workouts or eat unhealthy a few times, do you give up and stop working out or stop eating healthy, or do you get back on the wagon and recommit to being healthy?
2) At the age of 60, she made her 2nd attempt at swimming from Cuba to Florida, and she said her purpose was to show people they are never too old to accomplish their goals. Usually, by the time most Americans reach the age of 60, they are getting ready to retire, but at age 60, Diane is just getting started. It is said that many people live shorter lives post-retirement because of a loss of purpose. In Okinawa, which is known as a Blue Zone, meaning lots of people live to be over 100 years, they have something called an Ikigai. An Ikigai is their sense of living and their purpose for being on this world. It could be playing soccer, spending time with loved ones, public speaking for a group, or mentoring younger children. They find this Ikigai at a young age, and it either keeps adapting to them as they adapt, or they keep strengthening a new one. In the USA, we wait and are always waiting for the next milestone before we live our lives, such as: when we graduate college, when we get married, when we have a baby, when we get the promotion, and when we retire. We are in this rat race and are ultimately sucked into a world of not living out our true purpose. Diane found her Ikigai in distance swimming and inspiring others. What is the Ikigai that will keep you living longer and still following your dreams once you retire?
3) Diane had a team of over 20 people working with her to help her achieve her goals. There is no way she could have flown to Cuba by herself, jumped in the water, and swam 100 miles with no surveillance or team. You may not realize this, but there is a team of people in your life that want you to do well and want you to live a great life. Are you asking your team to help you achieve your dreams? Does your team even know your dreams? In my practice, I feel that I have an all-star team, and if I want to have an all-star life, then those are the players I need to pick on my team. The great news is you get to decide who is on your team, so get drafting.