Monday, February 4, 2013

Thank You.

Sometimes we all need to just take a few moments to ourselves and remember all the blessings we have been given in life - lest we forget those who have gone before us, or those who are struggling each and every day. I often think about the families of those we assist, and can only imagine the challenges they face. I am not a father, but I can only imagine having a son or daughter fighting for their lives due to something unfairly brought upon them. After all the amazing experiences I have been through, with some of the greatest friends I  could ask for, I cannot imagine my future child not being able to experience something as equally amazing in life. The challenges I faced in the past, and this year are not even remotely on the same plane as the ones these families go through.

God Bless those in the dark hospital room caring for their ailing child;

God Bless those who are on the verge of losing faith;

God Bless those who are grieving with those closest to them;

God Bless those who have been given a second chance at life.

I get tears in my eyes as I write this because I can easily sit here and become angry that there are times I take for granted the air in my lungs, the vision in my eyes and the beat in my heart. I pray I never lose sight of what is truly important in life – helping those who need us.

Before you go to bed tonight, say a prayer for those who are struggling in life – whatever their challenge. If you are struggling, remember there will be light at the end of the tunnel and always keep God in your heart. Believe in yourself, your family and the power of love. Anything is possible with love.

Lord, give me strength to always remember what success in life means to me. Never let me forget the example my grandparents left for my brother and I. Never let me forget my family and friends who are smiling down from above; carrying me on through the rough times. Never let me forget the images of the children who are fighting for their lives. Give me a strong back to carry me through the journey I face, and take care of those close when they worry about me. No matter what, I know everything will turn out just fine.

People always ask me what I think about when I swim; what gives me strength...

Now you know.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How Great Are You?

“I’m going to show you how great I am.” –M. Ali

One key aspect of the lives of those who are remembered for being the most inspirational or the most powerful was the belief in themselves that anything and everything is within their grasp. Often we hit set-backs in life. We get drawn down by those who want to bring us to their level because they are too scared to climb out of hell themselves. Being lucky enough to be able to surround yourself with people who are nothing but motivating forces in your life would be an incredible blessing, however the reality is we are faced with challenging people every single day. How you chose to deal with these people is your choice – either support them on their way to the top, or have the courage to leave them because they are not helping you in your journey to greatness!

Some will spend so much time wanting to be someone else; following them on social media, buying the same clothes and mimicking their every move. Who are you trying to be? You, or someone else? Why be a copycat; even the best copycat in the world will never be an original! We sometimes focus so much on getting others to love us by focusing so much on other people that we never have a chance to figure out who we are. The challenge to spend time to ourselves, and not rely on others to make us powerful is something very few are strong enough to handle. There is only one way to the top of the ‘success’ you want in life, and that is to go through times of challenge and difficulty. Through these struggles we find out what we are made of, where we want to go and what we want to become. Life can hit you hard. How great are you? How do you want to be remembered by those closest to you? Chose to be powerful beyond measure – amazing things will come your way.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Strength and Honor

“Everyone faces challenges in life, but some people run and hide from their challenges and others who embrace their challenges. If you know how to think about life in a way that energizes and empowers yourself, you can meet life head-on, instead of lettering life run over you like a locomotive running over a penny left on the tracks.” –Dr. Kevin Elko, Nerves of Steel

We all like to believe that we are all-powerful, strong and able to take on most challenges which are set in front of us. The truth is, sometimes we are weak and sometimes we need to shed a tear in order to know we are human and not a machine. Weakness in life does not always need to be viewed as a negative, but rather knowledge of what plagues us. This knowledge needs to be addressed, and not cast aside while we continue down the tough path we face each day.

None of us likes to be weak, or made to feel we are not strong enough at any point. Someone who is very kind hearted, and cares deeply about others can sometimes be trampled on in order for others to succeed because they have been labeled that way in the eyes of others. While their kindness is looked at as a positive quality, it can be a blessing and a curse.

If you feel weak at points in your life, understand that you are not alone in this feeling, as even the most powerful people in the world have weaknesses. How much you let that weakness control your life is the challenge we all face in order to be more assertive and confident in ourselves.

Pay attention at times you feel weak, and address the situation head on in a way you have never done before. Instead of just running and hiding in your comfort zone, perhaps confront the ‘bully’, and make it known this is not how you wish to be treated. Do not let the locomotive run over you, but stand your ground and make that train stop in its tracks.

We are all much more powerful than we believe, and the more you stop the train, the more confident and strong we will become. Chances are, the bully will let up because they will know they are not able to control you anymore. Be strong, and know you are able to take a stand. Allowing yourself to continue to be crushed will only make your daily path more difficult each and every day. Stand up no matter how difficult it might be – you will be amazed by the overwhelming feeling of confidence.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just Smile...

“Death smiles at us all – all we can do it smile back.”

Fear of the unknown drives some, while it can hold others back. The ultimate sacrifice typically is something not thought about when pursuing an adventure, but it has been given a front seat to those who challenge the limits of the human body. These modern day warriors do not fear what ‘could happen’, but focus their attention on what ‘will happen’ when they put their rock-solid mindset to work. Failure is never even considered.

Through pain and sacrifice we learn something about ourselves which others will never know until they take that step into the unknown. Does it scare you to push yourself into an area never previously visited? Sure. But remember, to the lions of the world who are not afraid, you will become something great – a legacy to last a lifetime. To the rest, you will regardless be happy with the proven path of following the simply life.

If we live our lives in fear we will never know what our potential might be.

How often I hear stories of people who ‘wished’ they would have done this, or done that. Sadly, the majority of these people will never realize their dream, however a few inspired individuals are on their path to greatness – no matter their age, financial or life situation. Recently, I came across a friend who is committed to going into the military at an ‘older age’ – someone who is working a great job, has a family and everything going well for him. Why does he want this? Because his dream of serving his country was never fulfilled after high school due to family pressure, and now he is making sure he does not have to live with it on his conscience the rest of his days. He is a lion, because he is not afraid of how anyone judges him – in the end his choice with his life path is his, and nothing will stand in his way. He is not afraid of the unknown.

Become the ‘lion’ in your life, and start taking the necessary steps to achieving your dream, or something which you never fulfilled. We have but one life – why not give it your best to help fulfill yourself, and inspire someone else in the process.

Do not be afraid of the unknown – it may be the place you will truly be at peace. Next time you are scared, remember to smile, because you are doing something grand others are too afraid to try and achieve. Pain is only in the mind, but never in the heart.

In a world of lost sheep, become the lion.

Friday, January 18, 2013


“Just don’t think about it…”

When we are looking toward a challenge in our lives, are we analyzing it to the point that we are questioning whether we want, or can, get the job done? I get a lot of emails, texts and messages about advice when approaching a certain athletic challenge, and I believe for the most part these athletes are worrying about nothing – just make it happen! They are most likely 100% capable of completing the task. While that initial reaction may not be the first thing that goes through their mind, it will eventually begin to creep in there due to the experiences they will continue to go through with each completed challenge.

When you find yourself worrying, frantic or downright scared of an upcoming difficult task, remind yourself of the training you have gone through, the sacrifices you have made and the decision of telling others, as well as yourself that you are going to complete this. The power of the mind is an amazing tool in your arsenal – do not let the negativity take this power away! If you start doubting yourself, quickly think of something positive. Can’t think of anything positive? Find a picture, slogan or favorite quote of something that inspires you, and keep it close to you at all times!

On an almost daily basis, I am reminded by others of the danger swimming below in the New Zealand, Cook Strait waters I will be attempting in March. Sure, I could make myself paranoid by thinking about it all the time or I could simply remember this is something I cannot control, and do the only thing I can – just don’t think about it!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Please 'Belize' It

I had an exciting conversation today with our family dentist, as she has been blessed to have been able to travel the world on mission trips to assist with educating underdeveloped nations on simply dentistry. Her work has spanned six continents and is truly something I aspire to continue building toward achieving!

She is traveling to Myanmar (Burma) next month – how AWESOME is that?!

I am very excited to confirm her extension to travel alongside her to Belize (Central America) in January 2015 – assisting with her mission, and teaching open water swimming lessons, along with First Aid/CPR to the locals who live along the coastline. Adding this trip to my resume will bring about future opportunities in mission work – something I have really been passionate about exploring in my life!

We are both guided by our faith in God. It does not matter if we believe in two different religious backgrounds, because we are lead down the same narrow path. Do not be afraid to look ‘outside the box’ for motivation on how you can help make a difference. Sometimes the people we deal with on a daily basis can give us the greatest gift in life – the ability to use our God-given talents to assist those who are not as fortunate.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Challenge

Good thing there isn't a shortage of great challenges in the world!

The question then becomes do we want to follow in the footsteps of those gone before, or blaze a new trail on our own? While accomplishing anything on this list would be the top of the bucket list for many, some of us will chose to go after challenges never attempted, or perhaps never completed. ‘Adventure’ takes many forms – but our internal drive will dictate the level we chose to take it to. Every challenge I have put myself through has been previously accomplished by others. The future will have some which have been accomplished, but mainly I want to strive for obstacles which have never been completed.

People always ask, “What’s next?” or “What are you going to do after you complete the ‘Oceans Seven’?” While many close to me wish I would settle down, there is a part of me which will never quit tackling more difficult and seemingly insurmountable tasks in order to continue driving the Team Forever charitable mission. The future is going where others have never gone. We have some great plans in place, and rest assured, I do not feel I can ever be someone who limits their ability by settling down when I have already been exposed to living life the best way I know how.

Some of us are just programmed differently, and those who cannot grasp that concept, or understand is perfectly acceptable – how can someone understand how we think when they have not been through what we have? These challenges have made me a much stronger, and more confident person to know there is nothing out there not within my grasp. It is the greatest feeling I know to throw myself into something which hurts more than anything, and come out the other side with a smile on my face and welcomed ‘positive scars’ on my soul.

Whatever you want to achieve, give it your best shot for payback for being given the gift of a life that others have not had the chance to experience. Any day might be our last – is this how you want it to end? When you take that concept to heart, you will understand how people like us think. We want to challenge ourselves to see what we are made of, and frankly, we may never truly understand the full capability of our lives, but we will know that we are all capable of something so much more intense than what we might have previously known.

If you are perfectly content with living how you are, then that is great to know you have achieved the pinnacle of success in your life. If not, then see for yourself what you can accomplish – it will not happen by wishing or dreaming. It can only happen when you leave the footprints in the sand toward the path you want to pursue. Get out there and make some memories you can pass along to your lineage in the next generation. My vision of a rocking chair, a handful of grandchildren and some stories they can open their eyes to is what drives me. Pay it forward – give them something to grab on to and never let go.

 Inspiring others to achieve their dreams is the greatest imprint we can leave on this world.