I could go on and on about how great it was, how amazing all the people were, how incredible it was to be around so many like-minded, inspiring, healthy people, but that would take me weeks to write and you days to read. Instead, I thought I’d chat about some of the highlights over the course of a few posts and really talk about what I LEARNED. That way, you get something out of it, too!
Let’s start with the IDEA WORLD Opening Ceremonies.
After an awesome fun run lead by Tiffany at Running Hutch and Brian Kelley at Pavement Runner, a yoga class lead by Endure Yoga, a chat with THE LORNA JANE (!!!), and a fun lecture about meal prepping & how to blog about it from Laura Lynn Klein (Organic Authority), everyone headed the Showcase Room for the Opening Ceremonies.
To say the ceremonies were inspiring would be an understatement. After a few fitness awards and a performance by the a cappella group, The Filharmonic, a tribute was made to Augie Nieto.
A little background on Augie:
Augie is the founder of Life Fitness (you know, every piece of gym equipment ever). He’s received the fitness industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He led a very healthy, active, inspiring life. Then in 2005, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS). Despite the diagnosis and being told he’d only have a few years left to live, he’s still going and still fighting. He has teamed up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association to create “Augie’s Quest” with the sole purpose of finding a cure for ALS.
Augie and his wife are continuing to fight the battle with ALS, but they are winning! I could see the drive in his eyes and the positivity he carries despite his condition and the fact that he didn’t speak on stage. His wife continues to stand by him, support him, fight for him and with him. One of the most powerful things she said was,
“It may be called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but it will be called Augie Nieto’s Cure!.”
She also challenged everyone in the audience to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. My boyfriend also nominated me so… here is goes!
It was truly moving just to be in his presence. It proves that no matter what hardships life throws your way, if you stay positive and strive to make the best of the situation, you’ll succeed, thrive, and most importantly, empower others.
Just when I thought the Opening Ceremonies couldn’t get any more inspirational, Diana Nyad took the stage to accept the 2014 IDEA Jack LaLanne Award, which recognizes inspiring role models who have significantly advanced health and fitness through the media.
She. Was. AMAZING!! I honestly couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award. If you don’t know her story, here it is in a really small nutshell:
After four failed attempts, Diana Nyad successfully fulfilled her lifelong dream of completing the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida on September 2, 2013. She was 64. If that isn’t enough of an achievement, she is also a prominent sports broadcaster, has authored 3 books, and has been inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Diana took the stage and filled the room with her positive energy and incredible story telling. Not only is this woman an incredible athlete, but she is also an incredibly gifted public speaker. She was hysterical, authentic, and empowering all at the same time. I could have listened to her for hours. Here’s one hysterical clip:
She talked about her upbringing and her family, how she knew she was going to be a great swimmer from the get-go, and how she worked her ass off for it starting in elementary school.
She talked about her dreams, her successes, and her failures, but two things really stuck with me.
1. When Diana was 17, she faced the most important swim meet of her life. The top three finishers would have the opportunity to go to the Olympic Trials. Her whole life was leading up to this moment, and she (understandably) was nervous. The thing was, she was never nervous. She was the leader of her team. She always had a laser-like focus. She never let anything get to her, but that day, her mind was all over the place. She thought about how hard she’d worked, how she didn’t want to let her family down, how she didn’t want to let herself down, how she didn’t know what she’d do if she failed.
A teammate saw her anxiety and went to talk to her. She asked Diana what was going on? What had happened to her focus? When Diana expressed her fears, the other girl said to her, “Think about all the time we have on this Earth. How much of that lifetime will this meet make up? A mere 30 seconds of it? What does that come down to?”
Diana looked at her, “I don’t know. One one-hundredth of a lifetime?”
The girl said, “More like one one-hundredth of a one-hundredth. That’s like the littlest bit of the tip of your pinky-nail. That’s nothing! So just go out there, swim your ass off, and when you touch that wall, don’t look up at the scoreboard. Just close your eyes and know that you did the absolute best you could, and no matter what, this moment is just one tip of a pinky-nail worth of your life.”
So that’s what Diana did. She got up on the block, and when the gun went off she swam as hard as she could to that wall. When she reached it, she didn’t look up. She closed her eyes and told herself, “I swam the absolute hardest and best that I could.”
And when she looked up at the scoreboard, she saw that she’d come in 6th. She wasn’t going to the Olympic Trials.
Was she upset? Did she cry? No. She congratulated the girls that won, and she moved on. She moved on with a new philosophy on life: to live each little tip of a pinky nail of life to the fullest, no regrets. Give life all you’ve got, go after your dreams, and don’t fret if one thing doesn’t go your way – it’s only one one hundredth of a one hundredth out of life.
2. She went to realize her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida, how she attempted it 4 times and failed 4 times. How she eventually put swimming behind her at the age of 30 and went on to do other things.
Then one day, she met Christopher Reeve. The Christopher Reeve. The original Superman! She told him about her pinky-life philosophy, and he asked her, “So are you living that way?”
That got her thinking. Had she? Over the past few years, she’d been feeling like she’d lost her way a bit. Why? What was she missing?
That’s when she realized it. She hadn’t achieved her life long goal. That 110-mile swim still eluded her. It still eluded everyone. So in her early 60s, she decided to get back at it. She started training. She started working, possibly harder than ever before to regain her strength, to learn to swim again, train again, love it again.
You all know what happened. On her fifth attempt, she did it. At 64 she has proven to the world that it’s never too late to start (or restart, or restart for the umpteenth time) achieving your dreams.
The IDEA Opening Ceremonies lasted just under two hours, but I was left with an entire lifetime worth of inspiration. It was an incredible kickoff to what proved to be the most empowering weekend of my life so far.
More to come!
Who inspires you?
What’s the most empowering thing you’ve experienced?