Yesterday, I was a at a big meeting that was capped off by a motivational speaker. Some of you may have heard of him. His name is Erik Weihenmayer. If you have not heard of him, go to www.touchthetop.com to learn a little more about him. Erik is a truly phenomenal speaker with a great story of overcoming serious adversity to do amazing. What is his adversity, you may ask? Erik is blind. Blinded after a rare eye disease hit him in college. Okay, you may think great. What is even more amazing though, is the things this guy does. First, he climbed Mt. Everest (yes blind), he goes kayaking, and a number of other amazing adventures. For the purposes of the meeting, a key message he had was the importance of the team he has behind him. I will touch on that in my next post. The other big message that I got was, what’s our excuse for not doing anything? This guy climbs mountains, along with others with disabilities, including one guy who is a paraplegic, and another that is a double amputee in his legs and others. It was truly inspiring to see the wonderful things he has done in his life and not letting the setback of going blind run his life.
Hearing his story reminded me of another I guy I had heard about a couple of month’s back named, Sean Stephenson. He was featured in December’s issue of Success Magazine. Sean suffers from brittle bone disease, and at age 33 has suffered over 200 fractures. Despite all of this, Sean is a guy who does not let anything keep him back and has become very successful as an author, motivational speaker, and more. He’s a guy who does not let things hold him back. Listening to his interview from that magazine issue was pretty awesome as well.
Both of these guys made me reflect on myself and everyone around me. We all come through life and meet different levels of adversity. Things that seem like a brick wall trying to keep us from unleashing who we are meant to be, or at least it may seem like it. I have learned from my experiences, and from these two stories that any adversity set before us can also be significant strength builders to becoming who we are truly meant to be. We have to let ourselves hear what that is and not be consumed in the pity party saying poor me. Albert Schweitzer said, “One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.” Those moments of adversity are those moments when our metal is truly tested. We are meant to find out who we really are and how we can overcome that adversity and use it to our advantage. Erik Weihenmayer and Sean Stephenson certainly did.
So I ask you, what’s your excuse? If you are stuck in that mode of I just can’t get ahead. I can’t find opportunity. I can’t reach my goals. What’s your excuse. Truth be told, there is not excuse. You have to find it in yourself to pick yourself up and drive forward. To leap over that obstacle in your way to find the opportunity, to get ahead, to reach your goals, and come alive. I have said time again that we all have a purpose under God. He has a special purpose for each one of us. That adversity is a significant part of that purpose. Live, learn, and continue to drive forward and grow. I say again, what’s your excuse? If you let adversity hold you back, you will always find yourself falling behind. Getup and climb. Use adversity as a source of strength and you will be stronger than ever before.