Finding A Way Through A Growth Mindset

Find a way

Finding A Way Through A Growth Mindset………


Find a wayI would like to introduce you to Diana Nyad, a person with the rarest combination of vision, resilience courage and a growth mindset.  I am always left awestruck by the single-minded commitment and “against all odds” attitude that it takes for people like Diana Nyad to realize their dream.

Yes, after four failed attempts of swimming across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West, Florida – from 1978 to 2013 – at the age of 64 she succeeded on her 5th brave attempt.You see, Diana’s story offers even more proof on exactly how belief always outperforms talent, and as you listen to her story here, I ask that you keep that in mind.

Her mantra for the journey in 2013 was “find a way” which really means that no matter what she encountered on the route, she simply had to find a way to make her dream come true.  Hey, there was no precedent for what she was going to do, no handbook had been written.  What is particularly notable from her story is that she was driven to continue to pursue this herculean effort on the basis of a dream that simply, wouldn’t go away.

Of course many of us have dreams, it’s just that we don’t muster the level of belief or faith in ourselves that is required once we fail and after one or two attempts, most people fold the tent.  Those who quit after failing once or twice tend to take on a victim mindset and then cast blame onto other circumstances that they couldn’t control. In Diana’s case, whether it was the lightning and thunderstorms or the box jellyfish that would continue to sting her each night (leaving her in intense pain and with the uncertainty that her pulse rate and lungs may begin to stop working)

You see, more than failure, more than the muscle cramps, the sharks, or the lightning storms – or the pitch dead black of night in the ocean – what Diana feared the most was the box jellyfish.  In each of her previous attempts, she had tried to cross she has been stung and with the venom being extremely poisonous, this is what really threatened her ability to finish.  So not only did she do what no other person has ever done crossing the straits of Florida (without a shark cage), she also conquered her greatest fear in the process.

You see each time Diana failed in her Cuba to Florida swim, important pieces of her eventual success began to take shape.  In listening to Diana speak after getting ½ across in 2012, it actually wasn’t that much different than when she spoke about the swim that she actually completed in 2013.  Fuelled by her dream – and stirred by her mantra “find a way” – Diana chose to look at each prior swim as a stepping-stone, a learning experience, and something that made her stronger and even more determined to try one more time to get it done.  Despite not getting across those 118 miles the first 4 times, by re-committing and taking action, she became more confident that one day she would actually do it.

For Diana, it was far more about the journey, about having a life of “no regrets”, and about the team of experts and handlers that supported her along the way.   So even though we view swimming as a solitary pursuit, in Diana’s case, her success had everything to do with the team of experts in navigation, nutrition, sharks and jellyfish that she had assembled, and the belief that they had in her and she in them.

So when we consider that after 4 failed attempts over 4 decades, Diana had the belief, confidence and resilience to actually “find a way”,her story tells us several things about the courage and motivation to achieve our dreams:

1)     That if you really want to follow your “deepest dream” – if you continue to think about it and like Diana, be able to “fail forward” – there is no way that your dream cannot come true.

2)     That a growth mindset is required if we are ever truly able to get beyond ourselves to the place we so badly want to go

3)     That the dream has to be so BOLD that it would require total conviction, unwavering passion, and “beyond commitment” in order to be able to achieve it

4)     That the conversations that you have about yourself (affirmations about who you are and where you are going) are 1000 times more important than the conversations that the conversations that others have about you

And alongside her achievement, we are also fortunate that Diana left for us a playbook on how to life our lives, how to move slowly but surely closer to our ultimate dreams, and also how to ensure that we live a life of no regrets.

Of course, Diana’s feat had very little to do with talent; after all, she had stopped competitive swimming for over 30 years before training again in 2010 once she hit 60.  Diana’s achievement was fuelled by belief – an EXTREME DREAM – and fortified by action a growth mindset, and the ability to “find a way” when most everyone else would have packed it in.

With Diana’s journey in mind then, what DREAM of yours will you be bold enough to follow?






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