Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill or accomplish something that would take lots of courage and support from others in order to accomplish?
I always felt a bit embarrassed to say I didn’t know how to swim. The idea of diving freely into the water was so scary to me! Don’t get me wrong, I love going by the lake, a beautiful beach or a swimming pool, but I looked for excuses not to go into the water. My favorite one was “I almost drawn in a swimming pool when I was young”. So, you’d always find me walking by the beach, laying down to tan, reading a great book by the pool or watching everyone swim while I was feeling impotent about it.
I’ve been okay with that for many years using all those excuses until I was inspired by Maria Conceicao, who founded The Maria Cristina Foundation in 2005 and raises funds to help the poor in Bangladesh, a country South of Asia affected severally by poverty. Read her full story here.
I met Maria during one of my International Maxwell Certifications in Orlando, Florida in 2017. She was a guest speaker and shared how she was inspired to start the foundation. Long story short, she envisioned to make a difference in children living in Bangladesh, lift them out of poverty and transform their lives through education. What impacted me the most is how she started participating in extreme physical challenges to raise funds and awareness about her non-for-profit charity. Even though she never participated in sports and wasn’t considered athletic, she entered many male dominated challenges like mountain climbing. She’s one of the most persevering women I’ve ever met with an unbelievable drive and passion not to mention stamina, endurance and mental strength to accomplish what she has! She’s earned 8 Guinness World Records (maybe more by now!) for Endurance Sports including Ironmans, Ultra, Half and Full Marathons and for climbing Mount Elbrus. She’s on track to finish climbing 7 of the highest mountains in each continents with 2 more to go to complete the seven summits AND she was the first Portuguese female to do the Last Degree to the North Pole and to summit the Everest
Guess what? Maria also swam across the English Channel in 2016 for seven hours! What inspired me about this is that she learned how to swim to be able to do it! So, yes, you can imagine how privileged I felt to have met her.
This is one of the reasons why I decided to stop using excuses and learn how to swim. It’s taking lots of courage and discipline to get in the water and practice but I’m building strength and self confidence and know I can do this!
My beautiful friend Dr Maribel Lopez, encouraged me as well this week. I remember having a conversation with her during our missions trip to Peru about her fear of flying in October 2017. The only reason she agreed to “fly” and be part of this long trip was her passion to inspire young women and empower them to greatness. We ended up sitting next to each other and she was definitely very scared to fly. I was non-stop talking to her and asking her lots of questions in an effort to distract her from the fobia I could perceive she had during take-off, flying AND landing 🙂
So, when I saw her announcements this week that she was about to fly on a 2 -seat jet with our lovely friend and “Pilotina”, Jacqueline Camacho, someone deserving of much admiration, I was so proud of her!
Maria Conceicao, Dr Maribel and Jacqueline are just some examples of women that inspire me. I’ve learned that nothing will stop a woman determined to achieve something that will allow her to help others! Putting Faith over fear is a key and, yes, the sky is the limit! Let’s grow together!