Diana Nyad’s historic swim from Cuba to Florida drew international attention. It took five tries, but she finally reached her goal, her lifelong dream, to swim the 100 miles through jellyfish and shark-infested waters. At age 64 she accomplished what others much younger had not.
Swarmed by reporters, she was asked repeatedly what lessons she wanted to share with others. Her responses were very relevant to other areas of life that have nothing to do with endurance swimming. What did she learn? What is her supremely applicable advice that relates even to those who are trying to navigate a career through rough waters?
1) Find a way. In media interviews Diana reported that she kept repeating to herself over and over again, “Find a way.” She was determined that there was a way to reach her goal, and she was willing to do whatever it took to find a way to accomplish it.
2) Build a team to surround you. Diana emphasized that she did not undertake this feat by herself. She had people in a boat beside her while she was swimming. There were people in the water going before her to clear jellyfish out of her way since it was the jellyfish that ended her last attempt at swimming from Cuba to Florida. And she had many more people cheering her on.
3) Identify the obstacles and create a plan to overcome them. It is instructive to review how Diana succeeded this time where she had failed before. She took a good hard look at what had ended her previous attempts and created a plan for overcoming the obstacles. For example, knowing that the jellyfish stings had proved too much for her before, she had a specialist make a prosthetic mask for her that the jellyfish could not penetrate. So instead of continuing to repeat her mistakes, she learned from them.
4) You aren’t too old. All the naysayers believed that Diana could not possibly achieve her lifelong dream at the age of 64. But she proved them all wrong. Her determination, skill, and review of her previous mistakes gave her the thrill of victory.
5) Push through the pain. Diana candidly explained in her TV interviews that the pain seemed unbearable at times. The prosthetic mask caused deep lacerations in her mouth, and the pain was excruciating. But she sang songs in her head to distract herself and kept focused on her goal.
6) Watch your self talk. Diana refused to think negative thoughts. She refused to say to herself, “I can’t do this.” Instead she focused on positive things, even when negative things happened.
So how can you become a Diana Nyad? Take her lessons to heart. Find a way to achieve your goals. Build a team to surround you that will cheer you on through the hard times. Review your past mistakes and create a plan to be successful the next time. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that you can’t find a job because of your age. Diana at age 64 should not have been able to swim that distance for 53 hours, but she did. (Your challenge, I dare say, is less formidable than hers.) Push through the pain. The pain may not be physical; it may be emotional. But don’t give in to it. And lastly, don’t focus on the negative. Speak positively to yourself to stay motivated.
Do you need a team to surround you and help you reach your career goals? Call 877-743-9521 today to speak to a certified professional career coach to help you accomplish great things.