Diana Nyad

How did you spend your Labor Day Weekend? Well, as you probably heard, 64-year-old Diana Nyad spent most of her weekend swimming from Cuba to Key West.

I’ve spent Labor Day in Key West a couple of times, but I got there either by car or by plane. Her trip took 52 hours and 54 minutes. Although she might tell you that it actually took her 35 years, having made her first of five attempts to swim that route in 1978 when she was 29.

As she staggered ashore, though, she was slurring her words, but she clearly had spent time thinking about what her victory meant. She had three lessons for us all from her great feat:

  • “One is we should never ever give up.”
  • “Two is you’re never too old to chase your dreams.”
  • “Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team.”

Those may be important lessons for us all. So, what would you like to try that you may have failed at four previous times? What dream do you need to dust off by remembering it is not too late?

When you decide, remember that life, like Diana’s swim, may look like a solitary journey but is actually a team sport. You had lots of help getting to where you are in life. Only supreme arrogance would lead any of us to believe we are “self-made.” So, if you have the humility and self-awareness to know that you’ve had lots of help, maybe the next step is putting together the team who can support you in your 5th or 6th attempt. Finding people who will continue to believe in you even after you have failed is tough … mostly because it requires us to be the kind of people who believe in others after they have failed. Whose team are you on? Who are you helping to try again? Life is a team sport, and we usually end up with the team we deserve. As Diana proved, however, it is never too late to learn better and try again.

by Michael Piazza
Co-Executive Director
The Center for Progressive Renewal


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