How would YOU define success?
I had the incredible opportunity to hear Amy Van Dyken speak. For those who don’t know of her, Amy is a 6-time USA Olympic gold medalist in swimming, 4 of them at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Even without knowing any more about her story, this would already be inspirational, right? And it was, as she spoke from the stage while sitting in her wheelchair.
Amy broke her back last in 2014 in an ATV accident which left her paralyzed from the waist down. After the accident and before she went into emergency surgery, the doctor told her that he’d do his best, but she should say goodbye to her husband. There were extra people in the operating room, ready to harvest her organs.
She survived the surgery, and that is pretty inspirational, right? And it was, but there are lots of degrees of being “alive.” How many people do you know who are alive but just enduring life instead of enjoying it? Not Amy. I found it incredibly moving just to hear and see Amy’s pure joy in being alive. And she shared some wisdom when asked how she defined success. Amy said that her definition of success has always been to accomplish things that she isn’t supposed to be able to do. Things like winning Olympic medals. Things like putting her pants on this morning…
Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? Its also a good reminder that everyone has obstacles that they have to overcome to achieve success. Amy talked about how her training now is just as hard as it was while she was training for the Olympics, but now she’s training for life.