Blog

3 Quotes to Live By: Diana Nyad, Endurance Swimmer, Shares Inspiration at NECA 2015

Some of the most inspiring events at the annual NECA Convention and Trade Show are the Opening and Closing General Sessions. Every year, NECA brings talented speakers from around the world and across professions and passions to share their secrets to success. This year NECA members listened to Diana Nyad’s story about the long road to accomplishing her lifelong dream.

Never, ever give up

The world-record-setting endurance swimmer, sports broadcaster and author said that from a young age, she learned to never, ever give up – no matter the circumstances. “If you do that – success or failure – you can say you’ve lived with no regrets,” said Nyad.

Nyad’s career as a long-distance swimmer includes numerous world records. She’s known for circling Manhattan Island and crossing the 102.5 miles between the Bahamas and Florida. But the most famous is her completion of the grueling, notoriously dangerous 110-mile swim from Havana, Cuba, to Key West, Florida, at age 64.

The 53-hour journey Nyad completed Sep. 2, 2013, marks the fifth time she tried – after several near-death attempts – and ultimately completed what she calls her “magic star.” The first time Nyad tried to complete the swim, which sports science experts and many others deemed impossible, she was in her 20s. “After several attempts by age 30, I thought I was going to leave the dream behind, but I always had my eye on Cuba,” she shared. “It was my magic star – the thing I reached for my entire life.”

Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer, shares inspiration at NECA 2015

In the decades between her first Cuba attempts and age 64, Nyad went on to build a successful career as a sports broadcaster, filling reports for NPR, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, Fox Sports and The New York Times. “I met so many incredible people by following world-class athletes around the globe,” she said. “But I started to no longer feel like a doer – I was a spectator. By the time I turned 60, I truly questioned if I was living with no regrets.”

So Nyad turned her eyes back to the magic star, setting her sights again on elusive Cuba: “30 years after not swimming a stroke – could I do it?”

It’s not necessarily the destination, it’s the journey

Nyad went to work with her team, including her best friend and sidekick Bonnie, to train, prepare and plan for the treacherous 110-mile swim. The foreseeable dangers were countless: poisonous box jelly fish stings, sharks, the reality of anaphylactic shock and hallucinations from the sheer physical stress – not to mention being blown off course by the notoriously strong winds and rough seas in the Florida Straits.

Nyad’s first attempt was a failure. And the second, and the third, fourth…

“With so many failed attempts, you’d think you’d get used to it, brush it off and try again,” she said. “But every time was public and it was crushing. By the fifth attempt, news crews that had been following the story said they could no longer invest time and resources into covering it. Bonnie didn’t want to go because she was sick of seeing her best friend almost die and others said it was impossible.”

Truly embodying the never, ever give up mantra, Nyad found herself standing on the shores of Havana once again – her fifth attempt. “The destination was dangling in the golden light, but for me it was more about the magic of the journey even if I wasn’t going to make it to the final shore,” she said.

Never underestimate the power of the human spirit

53 hours later on that September morning, Nyad finally saw her destination. “Never underestimate the power of the human spirit,” she said. “When the Keys finally came into view I gathered my team – all 44 of them – and I cried like a baby. I thanked each and every one of them because while it might look like a solitary sport, it truly takes a team.”

Nyad swims from Cuba to Florida

Nyad and her crew went on to receive the first-ever Medal of Honor from the Cuban government, as well as a reception with President Obama and many other accolades. But in closing, Nyad said it was never the allure of another record or world honor, but more about how the journey to accomplish her lifelong dream shaped her as a person.

“There’s a quote I often reflect on by Henry David Thoreau, ‘When you achieve your dream it’s not so much about what you get; it’s who you become,'” shared Nyad.

Nyad shares her story in her newly released memoir Find A Wayand she announced her and her best friend Bonnie are launching a nationwide challenge called Ever Walk.Taking to the land over the ocean, Nyad and Bonnie are going to walk across the U.S. to raise awareness about obesity and the negatives of a sedentary society.

Testimonials

It was an absolute pleasure to work with the writers and editorial team at TrueLine Publishing for our recent article in US Builders Review. From the start of the project, it was apparent that everyone involved was very concerned with accuracy and getting the facts right. They were also very conscientious about soliciting our feedback and ensuring that we were happy with the content and with the manner in which Giroux Glass was described in the finalized piece.
— Barbara Kotsos, Director of Marketing & PR, Giroux Glass
Kyle and his team were very professional and patient in explaining their program to us. Their communications were clear and concise and did a great job of guiding us through the process of getting published in their magazine.
— Michael Henthorn, Owner, Henthorn Commercial Construction
Everyone that we worked with was polite, professional, responsive & very good to work with. It was amazing to see the ideas transformed into the final product. We are very happy with the end results and would not hesitate to work with them in the future or recommend them to other business!
— James Kowalski, Owner, Kowalski Construction Inc.
The team at US Builders Review is professional and did a great job with your published article. They asked for and listened to my feedback and responded quickly to any requests I made.
— Susan Courter, Director of Business Development, R.E. Crawford Construction
We are excited to be featured as a case study in US Builders Review and look forward to sharing our company’s story with a national audience.
— Ryan Sanzari, Director of Operations, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises
Ryan at TrueLine was a pleasure to work with and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend him or TrueLine to anyone in the future. They were professional, organized and great to work with through the process!
— James Cahill, President and Partner, J. Calnan & Associates
Kyle Gahm was instrumental in coordinating this project from beginning to end. He was always available and a pleasure to work with. It would be a pleasure to work with Kyle down the road. Bill Keaton was very impressive in raising money from advertising which resulted in ASE getting the cover story, so thank you Bill. Lia Prysunka and Jeanee Dudley are both very impressive individuals who deserve a lot of credit for this featured piece. They were both very patient and accepting of any changes we suggested. The format, quality, and resolution was awesome. To sum it all up: Our upper management, who never have been high on PR and things of this nature said that it was "absolutely fantastic" and were blown away. They now are requesting multiple copies of the full magazine and are very proud of the work you all put in. Thanks again.
— Ryan Sanzari, Director of Operations, Alfred Sanzari Enterprises
I would like to commend the US Builders Review staff for their work in developing and writing a fantastic article for Miller Contracting Group, Inc. It was truly a pleasure to work with their professional and well organized staff.
— Chuck Daniels, Business Manager, Miller Contracting Group Inc.
I was contacted as a nominee for the Greenbuild Editor’s Choice 2016 recognition and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Working with US Builders Review has been a blessing for my company. Erica Berry took an awesome interview in the initial call as she gathered data for the article. She was concerned about how we became us, and she made me feel important by listening and taking notes. Then there is Ian Nichols who made me feel so comfortable in sharing my story, and Molly Shaw who interviewed me as well, as she was getting ready to create an awesome article about my company -- and I must say she nailed it on the first run! What a pleasure it has been to work with everyone. This feature on Container Homes USA will help me push the company into the forefront at the Greenbuild Expo 2016.
— Derrick C. W. Childs, Director Construction & Design, Container Homes USA
Thank you all your efforts in putting together such a great article about our company in US Builders Review. DH Construction appreciates the professional manner in which your team worked with us to achieve the stateside exposure we were after; especially taking the time to get all of the facts correct. In short, the article was extremely well put together and we have already received a great deal of feedback, interest, and compliments as a result of the piece. Once again, we appreciate all the effort, and without a doubt, we will not hesitate to work with your organization again in the future.
— Daniel Harrigan, Principal, DH Construction

LATEST EDITION

Spring 2018

READ NOW

GET US BUILDERS REVIEW IN YOUR INBOX.

  • * We’ll never share your email or info with anyone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.