Lessons learned while swimming with the sharks

We all watched with amazement as Diana Nyad celebrated her 53-hour, 110-mile victory becoming the first woman to swim without a shark cage from Cuba to Florida. Nyad had three messages for her spectators, "One is, we should never, ever give up. Two, is you're never too old to chase your dream. Three is looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team." Somehow, I feel a book and a TED talk is also in Nyad's future.

Never, ever give up. 

This was Nyad's fifth attempt to complete the 110-mile swim. Elvis Presley was told that he couldn't sing and should go back to driving a truck. Twelve publishers rejected J.K. Rowling's first manuscript. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach thought he lacked skill. Do not get discouraged. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

You're never too old to chase your dream.

Diana Nyad is 64. Fauja Singh took up running at the age of 89 as a way to deal with the depression he was experiencing from the death of his wife and son. Singh completed his last marathon at the age of 101! Peter Roget invented the Thesaurus at 73, starting with a small indexed catalog of words created to help him cheat in crossword puzzles. Are you 101, 89, 73, or 64? I bet you're younger so get moving!

It takes a team. 

I think this is the most interesting observation from Nyad. At first glance her swim appears to be a solo endurance victory. She credits her team of doctors who monitored her vital signs, a boat crew who dragged a line in the water to keep her on course, and a support team that accompanied her with equipment designed to keep sharks at bay. Very few of us have all the skills and abilities we need to accomplish our endeavors alone. We were made to live in community and to seek others who have strengths that compensate for our weaknesses.

What "swimming with the sharks" story are you writing? Don't give up, chase your dream, and don't hesitate to enlist a team to support your endeavor.