We crossed paths as I was getting out of the pool and she was getting in – pushed in her wheelchair by one of the lifeguards.
It is not unusual to see a senior citizen with mobility challenges at our gym. The pool is frequently used by them for therapeutic purposes.
As we passed each other, I looked kindly on the woman. She had a black, full length suit, a flipper on her foot, and a smile on her face. She cheerfully directed the guard over to the first swim lane, which was some distance away from the large open swim area, and set down some swimming equipment. I heard her say, "I'll go ahead and use this one."
That was when I realized that she would actually be swimming.
For some odd reason, when I first saw this woman – this woman with only one complete leg and just a stump at the other hip – I assumed that she would be undergoing therapy. I assumed that she would be like so many other senior women I see at the pool taking a class or just wading up and down through the water.
But when she picked an actual swimming lane, I realized she was different.
I could not help but watch as the lifeguard wheeled her into the water just enough for her get out and hop along the rail into the deer water. "Hop, hop, hop," she said sweetly to a young toddler who also could not stop watching her.
I do not know whatever she was conscious of my eyes following her. I tried to be discreet – looking only when her back was turned and conspicuously drying off and getting on my sweatsuit at the edge of the pool so I would have a reason to stay.
I hoped that if she did catch me she would somehow know that I was not ogling out of morbid curiosity or even sympathy, but out of deep admiration and respect.
She reached the open area and glided effortlessly across it to reach her chosen lane, and there I stopped watching and turned to go.
I had seen what I had been waiting for.
I had seen the woman with only one leg beat the odds and the excuses and the rationalizations and justifications … and become a mermaid.
There is hardly any force in the Universe more powerful than an excuse. An excuse will hold back the strongest man or woman from conceiving what is possible and achieving what they set out to do. An excuse will convince the greatest amongst us that we are small and should stay silent. I daresay that an excuse is, at the core, the only thing that lies between us and our goals.
You really can have what you want. But to do so you must eliminate from your mind all the excuses that keep you from it. "I do not have any money." "I'm too old." "I'm too young." "I do not have enough education." "I'm not the right sex." "I'm not the right color." "I have a family." "I'm single." "My kids are too young." I could go on and on.
The fact is that whatever your excuse, there is someone who is successfully doing what you want to do that that same excuse.
For everyone that thinks they can not swim, there is a mermaid to prove them wrong.
Are you frustrated with the results you are getting in some area of your life? Take action!
Today's action step: Find someone who has the challenge that you face and let their success motivate you.
Too old? Colonel Sanders was 60 before his idea for Kentucky Friend Chicken taken off. Too young? Farrah Gray became a millionaire at just 15. No money? Dani Johnson was homeless at 19 with just $ 2.03 to her name and a millionaire at 21 (oh, and she did not graduate from high school, either). Got cancer? What better example is there than Lance Armstrong?
Remember, if even one person has done it, you can, too. And if no one has done it, you can be the first.