“So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach. There will be obstacles. There will be doubters. There will be mistakes. But with hard work, with belief, with confidence and trust in yourself and those around you, there are no limits ” (No Limits, Michael Phelps).
I saw Michael Phelps compete at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria, B.C. in 2006. I am a fellow swimmer and find him, like many of his fans, inspiring to watch. Prior to this time, I had only seen him on magazine covers, talk shows, and at the 2004 Olympics. I will admit that before seeing him, I thought he was this amazingly talented swimmer who had innate talent and did not have to practice. Also, I thought because he was a celebrity he was somehow different than other swimmers. However, when seeing him in this environment, my views changed and I became even more impressed with him. I realized he works extremely hard and that all those medals are well-deserved. He is human like the rest of us. He may have the physical strength yet it is his mental strength that I admire most and makes him excel.
The three life lessons that were reinforced to me when I saw Michael Phelps compete that weekend were: 1) to perservere despite the obstacles, 2) surround yourself with people who believe in your dream and will help you and encourage you to achieve it, and 3) we all start somewhere (i.e. be kind to novices in your sport and encourage them).
Thanks Michael for encouraging me to go after my dreams and to REACH! I think he is an amazing athlete and will stand behind him.