Finding Inspiration – Monday Motivation #40
I recently heard two very different inspiring stories that pushed me into a new space in terms of self-acceptance and positive outlook. This post is part ONE of a two part series based on these women; I was touched in a way that led to a blog post far too long to post all at once so I split the biggest ideas into two pieces. Let’s start with these amazing stories.
I’d cross an ocean…
On September 3, after a 30+ year hiatus from swimmer and three recent failed attempts, Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Key West Florida. News reports vary but most say she swam 103, 110 or 112 miles.
She swam more than a hundred miles under her own steam.
She had been a marathon swimmer when she was younger; had become famous for it in the 70s. In fact in 1978, she tried this swim from Cuba and failed before eventually moving to a career as a sportscaster.
And then at 60, she decided to have a second go at it. And a third. And a fourth. Each time something different stopped her from completing her goal – once she nearly died from have been stung my box jellyfish twice during the trip.
I wonder if I could do that. I wonder if I could fail at something so monumental multiple times and still try “one more time.” When she failed last year, she gave a TED Talk; in it she poignantly talked about finding grace in the face of your defeats and she also talks about her own determination.
Could I believe in myself that much? Could you believe in yourself that much?
She, of course, went on to complete that swim in September 2013. And as if that wasn’t enough, one month later, she swam for 48-hours straight to raise money for victims for Hurricane Sandy simultaneously proving to all the naysayers that yes, you CAN swim for 48 hours without dying.
She’s so amazing and inspiring in huge ways! Her success speaks to the power of the spirit … of the soul … of the weakness of the physical body… of the power of believing in yourself and never giving up.
We are so much bigger than we can even fathom.
Diana Nyad is not alone this year in the ability to inspire and motivate though.
I’d take a bullet …
A week ago, I saw an interview on Jon Stewart of a 16 year old woman who stood up for education in the Swat Valley in Pakistan and was shot by the Taliban for it. She survived the shooting and lived to tell her story in a book called: I am Malala.
Her story began years before that, in 2009, when she was 10 and wrote as a BBC blogger for BBC in Urdu, talking about her life in Pakistan and about a young girl trying to get an education in one of the most volatile areas of the country. You can find links to English version of her blog at the following links: Malala 1, Malala 2, Malala 3, Malala 4, Malala 5, Malala 6.
In that same year a New York Times reporter came to stay with her family and made two documentaries about her life. Over the next two years, he watched her grow as a speaker and an advocate for women’s education and saw her comments against the Taliban grow more venomous. He made a video-short of Malala’s life during this time (You can find that video on the New York Times website).
Then on October last year, the Taliban stopped her school bus, came aboard and shot her and two of her classmates, skyrocketing her story onto the global stage and bringing us full circle to the young woman who, one year later has published a book and appeared on Jon Stewart, leaving him speechless.
And on Friday, 11 October, just one year and two days after taking a Taliban bullet to the head in the name of education, she was set to become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (she was not selected this year).
Seriously, these two women at both ends of the age spectrum, on opposite sides of the world, are mind-blowingly courageous inspirations to the rest of us. The message on the Motivation Monday is wrought from their stories:
If they can do it, you can do it.
Whatever your dream is,
whatever your hope,
no matter how much the odds feel against you …
take one step closer to your goal,
Don’t see all of the Taliban lining up opposite you – see only that you need to get on the bus.
Don’t see all one hundred miles at once, see only the first hour.
Let go of whatever is stopping you, whatever drags on you.
No one is holding you back except you.
And no one can drive you forward except you.
Please comment – I love when you tell me what you are thinking and how you feel about what you read. Tell me your thoughts on Diana Nyad or Malala. Tell me what your dreams are.
And next week, we’ll take a look at how these two women drew something much darker out in me – and what I learned from that.