Olympic Swimmer Turns Near Tragedy Into Triumph

July 28, 2012  |   Posted by :   |   Blog   |   Comments Off on Olympic Swimmer Turns Near Tragedy Into Triumph»

The Olympics are here!

And to me, the Olympics are all about the celebration of the possibility and potential of humanity.  The sports are great, but it’s the stories of human connection, perseverance, discipline, underdogs and gut-wrenching defeat, that captivates us, that inspires us, that humbles and warms our hearts.

The story that has stuck out in my mind so far is about 28 year old American Cullen Jones, who at age 5 nearly drowned in a Pennsylvania water park and is now one of the fastest swimmers in the world.  After the near drowning, in which he had to be revived by CPR , his parents enrolled him in swimming lessons.  Well, apparently he learned to dominate the water and never came close to drowning again.  After wining a Gold Medal and setting a world record in the 4×100 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cullen is back in London and will be competing for three more medals for the USA.

I love this story because it reminds us that we have a choice in how we respond to events and circumstances in our life.  It reminds us that bad breaks, scary events and negative circumstances are often there, NOT to terrorize us, but to show us our path, to train us and lead us to our purpose.

Cullen and his parents could have responded to the near drowning by avoiding water and any other potential hazards in life.  Instead, they chose to respond; powerfully and courageously.

In addition to winning gold medals, Cullen Jones has started a non-profit aimed at helping kids learn to swim in the hopes of preventing unnecessary drownings.  Watch the full story below featured on Rock Center with Brian Williams.

You may not have nearly drowned and you may not be going to the Olympics, but I know that you have probably had some set backs in your life, some tough times, something painful or scary happen to you, and that you probably have some dreams and aspirations.

For me, I grew up not knowing my father. I used to feel sorry for myself, or worse, act like it was no big deal.  I now realize that this event actually helped mold me into the person I am.  It helps me understand people, see their pain, know that they can overcome it and create anything they want.  It gave me real experience and led me on a path to finding my passion and purpose.

In a less deep example, I got fired from a job I loved several years ago (for no good reason, I might add.)  I didn’t know it at the time, but had that not happened, I would not be doing my dream job today, or be married to my best friend, or living my dreams.  Being fired led me to a far more successful job, that led me to coaching, that led to me my life’s work.


So, here’s my challenge to you:

What event or circumstance in your life are you still holding onto in a negative way? How are you letting that event hold you back or limit the possibility of your future?

Got one in mind? Great!

Now, consciously forgive what there is to forgive: Them, the event or yourself and ask yourself these questions?

  • What gifts did I get as a result of this event or circumstance?
  • How am I better for having had this experience?
  • What lessons have I learned from this event?
  • How is this event or circumstance the perfect thing to have happened to me?
  • What wonderful things came into my life as a result of this experience?
Lastly, I invite you to consciously CHOOSE your response to the event, rather than allow yourself to be a victim to it.

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