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Susan Ann Darley
Susan Ann Darley : Defy the Odds

Defy the Odds

By Susan Ann Darley

In the 131st Run for the Roses, Giacomo, a 50-1 long shot, produced the second largest win payoff in the Kentucky Derby's history. $102.60 was paid on a $2 win ticket. Giacomo, named after the musician Sting's son, was not a favorite or household name until he sailed to the finish line to defy the odds.

Norman Vaughan, an adventurer and explorer, lived a lifetime of defying the odds. Three days shy of his 89th birthday, Norman fulfilled a lifelong dream. He climbed his namesake, Mount Vaughan, a 10,302' Antarctic peak.

After Christopher Reeve became paralyzed from the neck down he defied the odds by continuing to act, direct, author books and be an activist and powerful spokesperson for disabled people.

What odds in your life would you like to defy?

Do you feel you're too old to pursue your dreams?

Grandma Moses began painting in her nineties. In his later years, with snow-white hair, Socrates learned to play various musical instruments. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was the work of the poet's declining years. At 50 Benjamin Franklin began important first steps in his philosophic pursuits.

Do not fear age. Fear a life half-lived life because of fear. Do not look backwards to what might have been, but forward to what may be.

While visiting my mom in an assisted living home, one of the residents leaned over and said to me, "Enjoy life while you're young." Her friend retorted, "Enjoy it at any age." This woman, Dr. Eve Cappello, at age 49 went back to college, and earned a Ph.D. She has written eight books, still works and teaches. One of her recent books is "More Great Sex after 50!"

Do you feel you're not talented enough to pursue your dreams?

Assess your situation carefully. What do you need? Perhaps more knowledge, instruction, higher self-esteem? Then get to work. If you need to shore up a more positive believe in yourself and your talents then put yourself in challenging situations that will help boost your confidence. In other words, raise the bar.

If your dreams are so "high in the sky" that they are preventing you from using your talents then lower the bar. The important thing is to take action.

"Some people die with their music still in them." Don't be one of them. Share you talents with the world. Whether it's Carnegie Hall or your local coffee house does not matter.

Years ago while visiting a Jewish Temple I heard the lovely sound of a man singing. He told me that he used to sing when he was a prisoner of war in WWII. He used his gift to help him defy the odds and survive the atrocities of the camps.

What gifts do you want to share? To defy the odds often requires overcoming our personal demons that tell us that we can't. It's showing up for life 100%, taking risks and having the courage to fail. And what if you do? You will be a better person for trying. You will have gained more knowledge and will be closer to beating the odds next time.

The motto on Vaughan's business card read "Dream Big and Dare to Fail." The advice from this rugged adventurer, "Just keep going. And if you fail, you can just keep trying over and over again until you succeed."

Reeve said he would become so frustrated at able-bodied people who sat on the sidelines of their lives, watching it go by instead of fully participating in it.

What are you waiting for? Enter the gate and run for the roses. •

© 2008 Susan Ann Darley. All rights reserved.

Susan Ann DarleySusan Ann Darley is a coach, author and workshop leader who works with people from all professions to increase their personal awareness and enhance their creativity. More »

10/11/08