“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable;
To make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Chris Jami
Normally I do not share bits of my personal life, but this experience was too incredible not to share.
I was at the gym the other morning, and was struggling to finish the rest of my workout. I glanced up at the television screen in front of me, and started to zone out a bit. I began watching the story on ESPN in order to delay the rest of the repetitions I had left to do before my workout was finished. The story on ESPN called ‘Over the Line: No Excuses’ was about Kyle Maynard, a man who was born a congenital amputee, and at the fresh age of 25 (about to be 26), has accomplished things that most people will never accomplish in their entire life.
Despite having no audio, I was drawn to the show. I couldn’t stop watching. Before I realized it, I was sitting at the machine for about fifteen minutes. I quickly scanned around to see if anyone was angrily waiting to use the machine I was practically lounging in, only to find everyone around me starring at the same television in awe as well. There were even two men stopped in their tracks, gazing up at the show from the middle of the gym. There were only about twenty people in the gym that day, and of that twenty, at least ten were focused on Kyle Maynard. After I was finally able to break the trance I was in, I walked past the two men standing in the middle of the gym (obviously on their way to the weights but unable to remove their eyes from the show), and said, “Amazing story isn’t it?” The two men started instantly talking to me, and then another man joined in on the conversation. Soon an entire section of the gym had stopped working out in order to participate in a large discussion about inspiration and motivation, inspired by Mr. Maynard. Now, if anyone is like me at the gym, they will understand how impressive this was, as the absolute last thing I ever want to do while at the gym is talk.
It was amazing to see this one man instantly capture the attention of and inspire 10 random people all in a matter of 2 minutes with zero audio. Granted some of the people at the gym may have seen or heard of Kyle Maynard before, but it was still incredible to see that many people instantly stop what they were doing to watch this man.
I proceeded to go home and Google-search his name, read various articles about him, check out his website, and also ordered his book, No Excuses. Oh yes, and watched the ESPN clip online with audio!
What I found most intriguing about Kyle Maynard’s story is the authenticity in which he tells it. A USA Today article by Marco R. della Cava highlighted Maynard’s determination by capturing his reaction to losing his first 35 high school wrestling matches in a row. Marco’s article quotes Maynard as saying, “I was getting worried. Because losing in combat like that is very tough on the ego” (2004).
At times it is hard to hear about other’s great successes when we ourselves are feeling at a low. Sometimes stories like Maynard’s make us feel worse for not being able to jump out of our slump, with less to overcome than he has. Hearing Maynard speak of feeling worried, or having a wounded ego, made his story a relatable experience. Not every day is going to be awe-inspiring and full of miraculous accomplishments. The truth is that we are will have dark days, and we will all face struggles that leave us bruised and battered. We don’t always have to be wearing a giant smile in order to reach our goals.
We just have to have the will to keep moving forward.
Here is a link to the preview for the ESPN story OTL: No Excuses
Vanessa Lemminger, M.A., LMFT 53937
Marriage and Family Therapist
Cava, Marco R. della. (2004). Wrestler’s world is never limited by his disability. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/life/2004-11-17-cover-wrestler_x.htm