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How a Cancer Patient Helped an Olympic Gold Medal Aerial Skier Take More Risks

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Who would think an Olympic Gold medal aerial skier would be afraid of flying? Let me share my post-9/11 experience and the risk I learned to take.

To be successful, you need to...

Be willing to stick your neck out... Take Some Risks

Live your life

My Perspective: Like many Americans, I became very fearful of flying after 9/11. I actually found myself hyperventilating upon takeoff, and had visuals of everything that could potentially go wrong with the flight. I reached my low point during one trip where I came dangerously close to getting off the plane. I was taking an Olympic torch to a young girl, Ashley O'Rear, who was dying of cancer and was not going to live to carry the flame for the 2002 Olympics. Thinking of this little girl kept me on the plane that day, but the experience of visiting her kept me on the plane for every trip after that. The time I spent with Ashley was an enormous inspiration, and I would have really missed out on something special if I'd never met her.

This knowledge made me realize how many other life experiences I'd miss out on if I didn't go out there and grab every opportunity. Now when people ask me if I'm nervous about traveling overseas or skydiving or visiting disrupted areas in Africa, I simply tell them that I have a lot more to gain by going.

Your Tools for Success: Remember that "the brave do not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all." (Author unknown) Today, your challenge is to ask yourself if you want to lead a life with no change and no excitement, or do you want to take the chance to find some excitement and exhilaration and really live? Do you want to look back on your life and have regrets for not living to your full potential? Ask yourself if it's really better to live a safe, lackluster life or if you want to walk away with something to show for your time on this earth.

As you read my blogs, keep in mind that these stories, anecdotes and tools are all based around my philosophy for success: THE TURTLE EFFECT (Highlighted in the new book When Turtles Fly: Secrets of Successful People Who Know How to Stick Their Necks Out--that was featured on the Today Show on February 7th). The Turtle Effect was taught to me by my mother when I was a young girl. She told me that I could achieve anything I wanted to as long as I remembered to have a soft inside, a hard shell, and be sure to stick my neck out.

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