I recently saw a story that made me stop and take a good look at what I was complaining about. Eight year old Bailey Matthews has cerebral palsy. This makes what we take as the most basic daily things, such as walking and getting dressed, difficult. Yet despite this disability he has made a habit of conquering all of the challenges in front of him. In fact, he’s not content with conquering the challenges life has dealt him, he’s gone out and found more. He recently completed a triathlon which is a remarkable achievement for anyone. You can watch the video here.
Watching this I felt some embarrassment. The things I thought were large hurdles in my life are really only molehills compared to what Bailey has achieved so far in his 8 years of life.
What really inspires me when watching this was seeing Bailey approaching the end of the race when he decides to let go of his walker to run towards the finish line. As he does so he stumbles, falls and lands face first on the ground only to push himself back up without missing a beat. He jogs a few more steps and again stumbles and falls to once again push himself up to successfully finish the triathlon. All with an amazing huge smile on his face.
The wonderful lessons I take from watching Bailey are:
- Courage, Trust and Letting Go. Coming to the end of the race Bailey knew he would stumble yet he let go of his support to run unaided over the finish line. It takes a huge amount of courage to let go of our security to achieve our goals. Sometimes it is what we think is our security that is actually preventing us from achieving our goals.
- Accepting Life’s Challenges. For many of us not fitting in and being ‘normal’ (whatever that really is) is a scary thing. Bailey’s Dad said that as a child Bailey would see other kids get up onto their knees and crawl. While Bailey couldn’t do that, he didn’t want to miss out so he would use his arms to drag himself around. He shows a determination and a will to not only accept life’s challenges but to conquer them.
- Getting Back Up. The thought that I might stumble or mess up in public often fills me with dread. Bailey fell over twice on his run to the finish line and he also fell on stage at the BBC awards. He knew that to fall was likely, yet he walked on stage with enthusiasm and determination in front of thousands of people. Having seen this I can see that my fear of falling is my ego talking. Bailey has reminded me that tripping over happens to us all and that getting up and carrying on is what is important, especially with a smile on your face.
- Self-Leadership. Bailey’s approach to life is one of diving right in to face the challenge, living life and enjoying it all. Not only does he face the challenges he says to himself “let’s push it a bit harder”. By doing so he continues to grow and improve and actively pushes the boundaries of his comfort zone.
- Genuine Support. When someone believes in you fully and supports you to reach for the clouds, you accomplish great things. That wholehearted support and belief from his family has empowered Bailey to fully believe in himself and to do activities that a lot of able bodied people wouldn’t even try. Who can you support and empower today?
Thank you for all these wonderful lessons Bailey, you inspire me to challenge myself, aim higher, smile when I stumble and enjoy all that life has to offer.
Which of these valuable lessons from Bailey resonate with you the most?
How can you apply Bailey’s outlook on life to your goals for 2016?