Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad's fourth attempt to swim across the Straits of Florida ended Tuesday morning after severe jellyfish stings and a storm pushed her way off course. Despite being unable to complete the 103 mile swim, there are some very important lessons in mental toughness that we can all learn from Nyad.
1. Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is. Nyad has a "Whatever it takes" attitude. She's made the decision to pay any price and bear any burden in the name of victory. She's tried over and over again and she'll probably be back to give it another try in the near future.
2. Nyad embraces obstacles to growth. When most people run into an obstacle, they seek escape. Nyad has a plan to push forward when this happens because she knows facing adversity is part of being successful. Her obstacles included jellyfish, rough seas and thunderstorms, but she kept pushing for as long as she could.
3. Nyad looks to others to support her on so many levels. One of the biggest problems is that most people have no means of accountability or a support system in place when it comes to what they're trying to accomplish. She has a team helping her every step of the way, and if you get with people who support and encourage you to accomplish your goals, you're more likely to be successful.
4. Nyad is a learning machine. She spend hours practicing, studying the conditions, looking back on past performances and works closely with her coaches and mentors. If the average person adopted just a fraction of her work ethic, the results they could achieve would be endless.
5. Nyad knows 'very good' isn't 'best.' For the average person, to be classified as very good is something to be proud of. For the great ones like Nyad, it's an insult.
6. Nyad makes "Do or die" commitments. When most people are burned out from the battle, the world-class are just getting warmed up. It's not that she doesn't fatigue; but her commitment to her dream keeps her going.
7. Nyad is consistently great. The reason they she is so consistent is because her actions are congruent with her thought processes. She has a very clear mental picture of what she wants, why she wants it and how to move closer to her target objective. Nyad has been thinking of swimming across the Straits of Florida since she was 8 years old.
8. Nyad is coachable. Most people will only accept the amount of coaching their egos will allow. Champions like Nyad are well known for being the most open to world-class coaching. The bigger the champion, the more open-minded they are. You can bet she's going to have some long coaching sessions when she recovers from this latest attempt.
9. Nyad compartmentalizes her emotions. In other words, she has the ability to put aside anything else going on at that very moment and focus only on the task in front of her. Sure she has things going on in her personal life, but despite that she manages to stay focused on her goal.
10. Nyad is a big thinker. Ask most people what they're thinking at any given time, and you might be surprised to learn how many think about just getting by. That's called selling yourself short. Nyad is fearless and focused on manifesting her ultimate dream of accomplishing that swim.
Diana Nyad might not have been able to finish the journey from Cuba to Florida this time, but you can bet she's not going to give up. When was the last time you were as determined as Diana Nyad? If you focus on these 10 steps, you'll be amazed what you are able to accomplish in your personal and professional life.
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