My "Life 180" began with a simple link from the TODAY show: Barefoot Water Skier is Landing on Her Feet at 66.
I watched the video over and over. There were no captions, so I couldn't understand anything that was said, but just watching 66-year-old Judy Myers water ski on her bare feet was enough to start the tears rolling. I had long ago abandoned the sport. I was 44 years old, overweight and very much out of shape. I figured I'd never be able to barefoot water ski again.
But exactly two years ago today, I put my feet on the water and unwrapped my passion once again: Barefooting Again. You can read the full story here: Finding My Passion Again. And in the last two years, I've learned some really cool life lessons in the process:
Try something new:
If life has become the same old boring routine and the last five years have blended into one long blur, it's time to shake it up and try something new. Unwrap a long buried passion or discover a new one. I always chuckle when I come across this quote by Frank Gelett Burgess, (but it's true!): "If in the last few years you haven't discarded a major opinion or acquired a new one, check your pulse, you may be dead."
Learn from those who know more than you:
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. If there's something you want to learn, learn from the best. Find someone who's doing what you're dreaming of doing and connect with them. Learn from them, be mentored by them. You'll cut your learning curve by doing this. And here's the best piece of advice of all: get yourself to the library. You literally can be guided, mentored and taught--by reading books.
Knock off the excuses:
The moment you start off with an excuse, you'll find twenty thousand reasons why "you can't." And the moment you think you can't, well then you can't accomplish a single thing. An excuse is just a barrier. Knock it down or find a way around it. The first time I complained I couldn't do a trick because of lousy balance due to my hearing loss, the two-time World Barefoot Champion Keith St. Onge gave me a dry look and said, "We're not going to use that as an excuse." I quickly learned to get down to business. If you want something bad enough, you go for it.
Go beyond fear:
If there's one thing that holds most of us back, it is fear. The unknown scares us. The only way past fear is through it. Step out of your comfort zone and do the one thing that scares you-- especially if it's right on the path of passion. Good 'ole Eleanor Roosevelt was right: "You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
You are capable of far more than you realize:
Two years ago, I was overweight, way out of shape and didn't think I could ever barefoot again. A couple months after getting back on the water, I learned to barefoot backwards on shoes. A few months after that, I learned on my feet. The key is to take the impossible and break it down into the possible-- accomplishing little things as you go along and building a foundation for something bigger. This applies to anything in life. Dream big, and take the small steps to get there.
And finally, Edison said it best: "If we did all of the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves."