Every now and then, you experience something that puts things in perspective. Sometimes, when you are feeling down, 20 minutes of a Jerry Springer episode will suddenly make you feel very good! There are other times in business when you feel like you are against insurmountable odds. It might be the cash flow. It might be the difficult customer. It might be your employees. It might just be a funk that you have allowed to permeate. The solution of course is easier said than done—suck it up, figure a way to get it done, and do it. While not currently in the doldrums, this weekend I had a chance to get that little shot of “suck it up and do it.” I met an inspiration by the name of Craig Deitz (you can Google him) that now hangs over my desk.
As you can see, Craig has no arms and no legs. One might think that swimming might be a tough activity. But not for Craig. In this photo, he is emerging from the Chesapeake Bay after swimming across it for 4.4 miles in just under 3 hours. He had a little help—a single flipper. Remarkably, Craig beat out about 100 other full limbed swimmers!
There is not much that stands in his way. When he sets his mind to do it, he does it. Craig is an attorney. He took the bar exam and passed it on the first try. To write, he holds a modified pencil between his cheek and shoulder. All of a sudden, any obstacle that I may face pales by comparison and I have this photo to offer a daily reminder.
What drives Craig to his incredible successes is not any physical prowess—honestly, he looks a bit out of shape for someone prepared to open swim for 4.4 miles. It is his attitude. He sees what he wants and positions himself to go for it. But what about failure? Of course there are failures. He tried this race last year, and was pulled out of the water when some bad storms came down the Bay. Rather than take the swim with an asterisk in the books, he made it a point to come back and give it another shot. I asked Craig if he had any secrets to his success, “you just need to keep challenging yourself. I did this, and now I will find something else to challenge me.”
As for me, I am fortunate to have all four limbs and suffer far fewer real challenges than Craig, but the man is an inspiration and I wanted to share his story with you. What do you use to keep yourself inspired? For me, this put many things in perspective and for that I say, thank you Craig!
If you would like to see all the photos of the race, they can be found here. Craig’s photos are on pages 12 through 14. And for additional perspective, the winning time (by a 17 yr old triathlete) was 1 hour 28 minutes.