The Little Engine That Could
This semester has absolutely evaporated and I can’t believe that it’s April. My MBA program has gone faster than expected, and there seems to be no slowing down in sight! I’ve registered for three of my five remaining classes, and have my last semesters all planned out. Come on 2013!
The idea of perseverance is not foreign or strange to me, but that doesn’t mean I always put it into practice or understand what it really means to persevere. Mid March, I had the opportunity to present at the NASPA national conference in Phoenix with my colleagues, and what an experience it was! There were over 4500 attendees, numerous “celebrity” presenters, and enough educational topics to make your head spin, all with an added dose of 85 degree weather and gorgeous sunshine.
I’ve always taken a lot from these conferences, although I found this one slightly overwhelming, there was still tons and tons of cool people to meet and great content to share. The absolutely highlight of the three day conference (besides presenting of course) was getting to meet Trish Downing, a paraplegic triathlete who has overcome much more than I could ever dream of to place herself in the top tier of world-class triathletes.
There’s something inspiring, motivational, courageous, and daring about scraping your life together after a paralyzing car crash, smashing through the hurdles in your life, and then re-establishing yourself as the athlete you once were…
It was amazing to be able to spend a few quick minutes with her exchanging triathlon thoughts (she prefers PB&J to GU gels while racing) and to just thank her for the inspiration. I like to think of myself as someone who can do extraordinary things (I still think a 70 mile race is pretty badass) but that all dims in comparison to her story.
It really made me think that everyone has their own mountains that need to be climbed, and that theirs aren’t necessarily any better or worse than. Yes, circumstances can differ between people, but it’s the approach of how you scale those mountains and conquer your fears that establishes how you handle life. I have endured nothing like the loss of the majority of movement that she has experienced, but we all have our own hurdles blocking our way. They just come in different shapes and sizes.
As a competitor, the idea of winning or losing is what drives me, fuels my fires, motivates me to keep my life together, and hurtles me towards constant self-improvement. I’ve never seen it as a bad thing, and I still don’t.
It was interesting to see someone find hope in a situation that seemed so bleak, and that is a very encouraging thought! Why can’t we all strive to find the positive in the negative? What is it about human nature that forces us to dwell on the fear of change instead of the hope of the future? Granted, this is all very ironic as I panic about some recent school decisions BUT perhaps it’s just another lesson I need to learn in patience…. my favorite :-|