My swim from Cuba to Florida, aside from the personal challenge to make endurance history across a wild, epic ocean, was always meant to also make a statement of hopeful reconnection between our two beautiful nations.
At first blush, competing on DWTS would seem a frivolous blip on the radar screen for me. But, au contraire, it was yet another chance for me to live out loud my philosophy of tackling every challenge with no room for regrets. I didn't "win" on DWTS, but I lived out loud. No regrets.
That second night, throwing in a few laps just easy backstroke kicking for some relief, I would look up to see the Empire State Building towering into the clouds. That was the ultimate metaphor of how grand the experience was for all who participated, in the pool and out.
It's a notorious stretch of water brimming with sharks, jellyfish, squalls and an unpredictable Gulf Stream. But Diana Nyad found a way. And so can you. You can find a way to do almost anything, if you want it enough. That's what leaders do.
There is no doubt that I would have been jubilant to touch that Florida shore, to have made history, to at long last lived out the vision I've had in my brain for so very long. Yet I've been living a grand life, driven by this very quest.
Extreme endurance athletes try to accomplish one monumental climb, run or swim before they tackle The Big One. To that end, I embarked yesterday morning on a 24-hour swim here at my training camp in St. Maarten in the Caribbean.
If you haven't yet sipped the TED Kool-Aid, get yourself a straw. I've been a public speaker for 35 years now but hit the Mt. Everest of conferences when I spoke for the TEDMED group this past October.