In early November 2018, I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Nyad at a FreeWalkers walking event called the Marathon Walk in Philadelphia. She had flown in with a group of fans and members of her walking group called “Everwalk Nation“. Interestingly, I found out that Diana and her partner Connie had created a pro-walking group, really a “movement”, to get others to walk. In my mind that’s nearly identical to what my organization FreeWalkers is all about and she travelled across the country to support us and promote her own movement. It showed me what an authentic and generous person she was. We hope to have more join walking events together in the near future. Here is my honest appraisal of her fantastic autobiography and motivational book called “Find a Way”.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Diana Nyad holds an inexplicable power to push herself beyond personal limits. Whether that was created from innate personal strength or forged from unfortunate personal circumstances, we get to share a bit of what it’s like to live a willful life on the edge. There is a life lesson here for all of us.
I guess I’ve always wondered what drives people to do the impossible. For many like me, Diana’s stories have been heard over the years in short but stunning news blurbs, like swimming around Manhattan or across the English Channel. Diana was always a pioneer in these feats not to mention how she elevated the capability of women each time she broke a new record. These records get broken. But, what remains each time for all of us to ponder is the question “What are our limits?”
The book is a well-written riveting autobiography told around her ultimate personal challenge – completing a 110 mile swim from Cuba to Florida. The bizarre conditions of the sport of open water ocean swimming allows only to provide and protect, but not assist her swim or float in any way, She is adrift for over two days surrounded by a flotilla of boats and staff that can only help guide, manage and protect her.
What is perhaps as remarkable as breaking the record was that she accomplished what many thought impossible on her fifth attempt at the age of 64. In the sport of open ocean swimming Cuba to Florida was the “Everest” to be conquered. It required peak physical and mental conditioning even in her 60’s and a blessing of fortunate natural conditions like warm temperatures, and favorable winds and currents. Sharks could be scared away but swarms of deadly box jellyfish were unpredictable and impossible to avoid. Through many painful experiences and many failed attempts she was able to “Find a Way” to overcome even these obstacles.
The book made me wonder whether it’s the thoughts the person holds dearly or the challenge itself that leverages our capability to go beyond the ordinary. What do we gain by trying and failing and trying again? Certainly, it all starts with a dream and ends with our ability to fight off our demons and believe in ourselves. Diana Nyad’s story is an inspiration to anyone who harbors an impossible dream.
Taken from Goodread Review 1/6/19
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