I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m a sucker for inspiration. I’ll take it wherever I can get it: Hallmark Greeting cards, fortune cookies, Lifetime movies. I don’t think it matters if it’s delivered in a corny and cliché fashion, I am open to the greater messages underneath.
Okay, maybe not this one:
Here's where I found inspiration last night: Soul Surfer. You know the movie – the one based on a true story about teenage surfer, Bethany Hamilton, whose arm was chomped off by a shark. Against all odds, she came back to surf professionally.
I wanted to watch this movie with Emma, my ten year old daughter, to see what her take away would be. I knew she’d love the allure of Hawaii and the pretty teenage girls, but I wondered if she’d get the bigger message underneath.
With our big bowl of popcorn between us on my bed, we watched the story unfold. It was predictable to say the least. Girl is on top on top of the world destined to do great things. Girl experiences tragedy, almost dies, loses a limb. Girl wants to surf again, but can’t keep up. Girl goes on an eye opening trip to Thailand after the tsunami and realizes that “love is the answer.” Upon her return home, girl makes a huge surfing comeback because she has realized the meaning of life.
As Bethany crested that final huge wave that put her on the podium, I tried not to show Emma I was tearing up. She gets all wigged out when I cry, not understanding I cry out of emotion, not necessarily because I’m sad. But, she worries. As the credits rolled, I turned towards Emma.
Me: “So, what did you learn from that?”
Emma (without missing a beat): “To live your dreams no matter what.”
Later she came up to me and said, “It is easier to have two arms. But, having two arms is perfect. And, it’s more exciting to not be perfect.”
Dang, she’s smart.
Funny thing is, none of us are perfect even if we have two arms. The way I see it our job is to know that we we have “imperfections,” but never be limited by them. We’re often told we can do whatever we want to do if we just set our minds to it. If you accept this philosophy, keep in mind two things:
1. It’s okay and even ideal to dream big, but be prepared to fail many, many times. No one, and I mean no one, flies through life unscathed, especially while aiming for lofty goals. Remember this Nike commercial and what Michael Jordan said?
I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career
I’ve lost almost 300 games
26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot…and missed
I've failed over and over and over again in my life
And that is why I succeed.
2. Understand that your success might look a bit different than you imagined it. We always have vision in our minds of how things are going to go. I will run a 3:45 marathon. I will not walk. I will take a GU every hour and I will drink water at every aid station. I will not have to poop during the course of the race.
You will probably finish the marathon, but what happens between miles 1 and 26.2 might be very different than what you had planned. Remember when my husband Ken trained his ass off for his first marathon last spring? Remember how he was on track to run a 3:43? Remember how at the half way point his hip gave out and he had to walk many of the remaining miles? Remember how despite all of that he finished the marathon anyway?
Always be willing to see the small achievements in everything you do, even if all does not go your way. Learn from the experience and set your sights for next time.
Ever have a race go differently than you’d planned? What did you learn from it? Two years ago and against my better judgment I ran a half marathon with a piercing pain in my foot. It hurt every step of the 13.1 miles. By the time I finished I had to be carried to the car. Diagnosis? Stress fracture. I learned that I was a dumb ass and that it’s okay to back out of a race even if you trained for it and paid for it. I also learned to never go to bed with an itchy bum, but that was a different race