I feel it’s the perfect day to start implementing some new strategies into your life to keep you living the life you want – no matter what comes up.
Really, when it comes down to it, you have the ability to react in a particular way no matter what is happening in your life.
What if you just let it go? What if you let the shitty times power you onto greatness?
As many of you know I’m a Paralympian. I went to the Sydney Paralympics in 2000. In 2004 I had been training again for about 3 years to make the Athens 2004 team. I knew that I only had one chance to make the team in the 400m freestyle. So, on the day of my race, I had my new full body suit to race in that was ‘going to make me swim faster than I had ever before’.
I pushed off the wall and swum the fastest 50m freestyle I had ever swum in my life. I flicked my legs over and hit the wall with my feet and on impact, my bathers split all the way down the back. I couldn’t breathe properly and water was flowing into my bathers. It was also terrifying because I knew the thousands of people in the stands could see everything. But, it was my only chance to make the team, so I kept going.
When I hit the wall, I looked up to the scoreboard and I had swum a personal best, made it under the 6-minute mark for the first time ever. But, I knew instantly that I had missed out on the team by .03 of a second.
On the last night of the event the team was announced and I couldn’t bring myself to go to the announcement, so I went for a walk through the village I had stayed in during the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. After Sydney, everyone in the team had had their names engraved into bricks, so I went to sit by my brick. While I sat there, I called my friend to tell her that I had missed out on the team, and she said (and I will never ever forget this because it was the catalyst for change in my life).
‘Elle, you missing out on the team is just a crack in your yellow brick road, just like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, you are on a journey, there will be cracks you need to jump over, puddles you need to swim through on the path that is your life, but you will always get through this. I believe in you, we all do.’
So, after this meet, I came home and began to train again like never before. But my path was never quite the same, with many injuries to follow and the final hurrah at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games trials. As I made my decision to hang up the bathers, I knew the moment at the Athens 2004 Trials had changed my life forever. No matter what pain it caused me, it taught me I could get through anything it. I was strong enough.
You are too. No matter what is happening in your life, no matter how you feel right now you will get through this. You have this inner resilience that will come forth when it is most needed, don’t ever doubt it.
The most powerful thing I could ever do for myself was to let go of how I thought my life was going to be. To plan and set goals for what I wanted, but to also hand my control over the universe, with the knowledge that whatever was coming my way, would be just perfect.