Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Importance of Endurance

Photo Courtesy: Flickr Jeff Sass

This blog is inspired by Diana Nyad, who, at 64 years old has recently completed the swim from Cuba to Florida. She's made 5 attempts to swim the 110 mile journey over 35 years, starting in 1978. After each failed attempt, she has said she isn't going to try it again, but she's proof that your innate desire to succeed has to be stronger than your disappointment with failure.

Ms. Nyad had a message for us all when she reached the shore: "I have three messages. One is we should never ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport but it takes a team."

The 110 miles from Havana to Key West is treacherous! It's often filled with box jellyfish, sharks, rough currents and storms. I suppose people question "Who in their right mind would attempt to swim in something like that?" There are MANY people who feel the same way about entrepreneurship, which is also a dangerous undertaking. Instead of jellyfish and sharks, our path is filled with quite a bit of uncertainty and unscrupulous people - sharks in their own right. A large part of our job is to have the sheer will, determination and endurance to continue to swim on anyway.

When an attempt to make this swim previously didn't work out, Ms. Nyad did something that we all should learn to do, she figured out what the problem was and she made adjustments for the next time. She got a different wet suit to put on at night so that her arms and legs were covered. She consulted experts on jellyfish and got a sting stopper gel that she could put on her body to protect her from the stings.

She also made adjustments to her support team. She had a group of people who swam ahead of her to disperse jellyfish or sharks. On her last attempt, she suffered her first asthma attack that was severe she had to stop. She obtained a pulmonologist to be a part of the team that accompanied her on the journey. She worked out what she needed for nutrition to sustain her during this trek and her team would use a tube to supply it to her while she would tread water.

Everything, even being a solopreneur takes some kind of team to help you be successful. It can be the friends and/or family members that cheer you on and provide a consistent source of encouragement. It can be a business coach who provides practical insight or helps you see things in a different way. A lawyer, an accountant, a financial planner, people who refer clients to you and definitely the clients you work with. Of course it's your name on the business, but you can't do it all alone and if you think you can, you're going to face a lot more disappointments that can be avoided. Have a team in place that supports you. It's imperative to your journey.

There will be times that you will want to give up! Every fiber of your being will be screaming at you to quit. It will feel as though your sanity depends on it. You can quit. Of course you can and I definitely wouldn't advise you to push through anything at the risk of your health or well-being. The other option, is to figure out a way to keep going anyway. Maybe you need some meditation or a retreat or regular massages or something along those lines. Stress and tension need an outlet. (Have you tried scream therapy? LOL) Whatever outlet you choose, make sure it's something SAFE that won't harm yourself or others.

The huge takeaway I got from Diana Nyad's story is this: When you are determined enough to achieve something and you keep putting forth the effort and adjusting your plans and methods to ensure your success, there will come a time when EVERYTHING, even Mother Nature (in this case) will step out of the way and say "You know what, we've thrown everything we had at this person and they won't quit, so let's just move out of the way and let them pass." And when you finally reach YOUR Florida Keys (or whatever you end goal is) you'll be so happy that you made it. You will look back over the times you wanted to quit or maybe even did quit, and you will see the lessons in everything and the victory that is the result of sheer endurance will be that much sweeter!

For more information on Diana Nyad, click here.