Ridley Swim Camp Talk

I recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of swim camp participants at the Ridley High School in Delaware County PA. There was a wide range of ages present from 9 – 14 and then some coaches and parents sat in as well.

After talking about my background and experiences regarding sport, cancer, and life, I offered up a few nuggets of advice that I wish I had a better grasp of as a kid. It went something like this…

You have your athletic, personal, and professional lives ahead of you. For that matter, you have the whole world in front of you and the ability to do whatever you want with that. You are defining your own you right this minute. This time right here, right now lays the groundwork for how you will react and respond to the many situations that life will throw at you. This time right here, right now is defining who you will become.

The good news is you are 100% in control of all of it, based on the choices you make.   

Don’t ever be afraid to work so hard at something that you fail. Whatever you do in life, do it big. Leave nothing out there in the pool, or on the field, or in the classroom. Don’t play things “safe” all the time. It’s an empty feeling to look behind you and feel like you could have and should have given more of something.

Don’t ever be afraid to move outside of your comfort zone and take risks. You have plenty of safety nets in this world in your families, coaches, teachers, etc. They won’t let you fall too far and will always be there to help you up. Explore new things. Try new things.

Don’t ever be afraid of being afraid. We all experience fear. Being afraid doesn’t make you weak. The biggest and bravest men and women all know fear. Fear is just another opportunity to be great. Let fear motivate you – not limit you.

Surround yourself with people who motivate you and inspire you. There are a lot of influencers out there in the world. Some are good and some are not. Choose to surround yourself with people who will make you feel good about yourself and motivate you to be the best person you can be.

Never get to big or too high up the ladder to forget how to lean down and extend a helping hand to someone else in need. It will make you both bigger.

Do something meaningful for yourself every day of your life. And when you’ve mastered that, also do something meaningful for someone else …every day of your life.

Life is full of ups and downs. Be patient with life’s challenges. Find something that you love and call it your own. Be proud. Be thankful for the people in your lives who have provided you opportunities to do really cool things. Support them, as they support you.

We ended with a great Q and A session that lasted about 20 minutes. The questions came from all ages and covered everything from triathlon training to chemotherapy. I love kids. I love people.

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