I’ve learned a lot about courage and resilience this month from guests on my weekly online radio show, Visionary Leader, Extraordinary Life
Chris Waddell: The Paralympic Skiing Champion shared his mantra: Run towards fear. After breaking his back in a skiing accident at the age of 20, Chris decided to show the world what he could do – and open all of our eyes and minds about how we view our challenges. Winner of 13 medals in the Paralympics, Chris mastered many mountains at speeds greater than 70 mph without use of his legs! He retired from skiing and decided to climb Mt. Kilmanjaro, the “roof of Africa,” under his own power using a handcycle. Chris completed this goal in the fall of 2011, climbing all but 100 vertical meters by using the power of his arms to wheel himself up the highest mountain in Africa. You can see this extraordinary journey on DVD by going to www.one-revolution.com. Why did Chris choose this particular challenge, one that is considered an enormous accomplishment for people with full use of their bodies? “It presented so many obstacles…”
Gerry Laybourne: This legendary leader in the television industry called for us all to “be bold!” in our endeavors. I asked her if she was ever afraid of failing, and she laughed and said, “Not really. Failure is my best friend.” She described the importance of taking on bold challenges and creating room for learning and, yes, even failing, which is often more fruitful in the end than a steady stream of successes because of all you can learn. Gerry said she envisions a world in which, “Women stop waiting for their turn, but step up and take their turn.”
With the voices of these leaders in my ear, I’m ready to take on big challenges in 2012 with the goal of stepping up to learn rather than focusing on whether I succeed or not. After all, if you make fear your best friend, imagine how much freedom, humor and grace you can bring to even your most daunting endeavors!
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