Archive for June, 2012

Nik Wallenda

 
The other  night I had the privledge and pleasure of watching Nik Wallenda cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. There were tens of thousands of people watching on either the USA side or the Canadian side and millions, like me, viewing history being made via their TV set. People reveled in watching the seventh generation wire walker do something that has never been done in history, and probably will never be done again!

I was extremely moved by the whole experience and the lessons and messages that were present. I feel the need to write about what I witnessed and what was learned and hope that you too will take something away from this mans quest to follow a dream!

Who is he:
Nik is part of a family that has over 200 years of wire walking under their belt! They have always pushed the limits on their challenges and their bodies as well. Over the years seven members of his family have lost their lives to wirewalking, including his great grandfather, Carl who plummeted to his death at the age of 73 after visualizing his fall off the rope, instead of a successful wire crossing!

When Nik was just 6 years old, his family visited Niagra Falls and he had a vision of someday crossing the Falls on a wire. Something that has never been done in history! For the next 27 years, Nik trained to accomplish his dream. In a world where most people give up on their dreams as soon as they encounter an obstacle or don’t even dare to have a dream because “they don’t want to be disappointed if they don’t achieve it”, Nik proves to be a great example that with perseverance you can accomplish anything!

Oh…and he did have struggles! It has been illegal since the 1890s to cross the falls in any way. He had to fight for years to get the permits from not only one government, but two, to execute his dream. He spent a personal fortune to fight for this opportunity and countless hours going through burocratic red tape. But Nik knew that the pursuit of a dream will have a cost! His Great-grandfather taught him to never give up on his dreams and to pursue it to the end! Something we should all teach to our children!

Throughout his struggles, he had been told that it would never happen in a millions years! “Give up on your crazy dream”, said others, “It is unimaginable!”. Luckily, he did not listen to other peoples opinions; after all, it was not other people’s dream…it was HIS!!! When people challenge themselves, they will ultimately be challenged by others! It has become obvious to me over the past couple years that when you encounter opposition, you are usually on the right track of accomplishing something that very few would even start!

Prewalk interview:
When interviewed before his walk he stated that his quest was to honor his family’s legacy. When asked how he was feeling, Nik replied with a confident, “I am so excited and very blessed to be the only person who will ever do this stunt. This is what dreams are made of! Always chase your dreams and NEVER give up, no matter what the cost”, he said.

He stated that he has played this over and over in his mind for over 20 years. Nik obviously understands the power of visualization. He aligned his sub conscience and his conscience minds together to the point where he was so confident that he will be successful in achieving his dream. He stated that he has the skill and training to complete this task, as well as the righteousness of God to help him.

How did Nik prepare? He spent countless hours on a wire twice as long as the distance required. He had fire trucks spray twice as much water as anticipated at him and had wind machines generating twice the amount of current expected! As a friend of mine says, “When opportunity and preparedness meet, you will have success!”

The moment arrives:

 Nik mounted the wire, suspended the length of four football fields, with ease. At this point he is heard saying, “What an amazing opportunity, praise Jesus and thank you God!” A TV announcer says, “The journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step!” and this is definitely the first public step after countless private steps have been taken.

Nik is wearing a headset with his father in the announcers booth at the other end. After 10-12 steps his father asked how he feels, “What an unbelievable view, I am so blessed!” he replied. As he paced himself on his journey, he exudes such confidence as he uses his 40lb balance pole. He drags behind him a safety harness which he has never used before, but was mandatory equipment by the partnering TV station. Sounds to me like they weren’t as confident about his abilities as he was!

As he progresses he receives verbal support and encouragement from his father. I am personally moved by this, as I was blessed with an encouraging father only after he became terminally ill with cancer. This goes to show that new information changes your perspective! He responds to his dads encouragement and multiple times is heard saying, “Thank you Jesus” and , “Thank you Father above!” what an amazing example of unwavering faith!!!

Around the half way mark, seeming very confident and composed, the announcers ask if they can ask him some questions. I am sitting in my living room at this point, shouting to the TV, “Don’t throw off his focus!” I was shocked at the ease and poise at which he answered the announcers questions and really started to understand that in his mind he has already done this stunt many, many times! This was just another crossing! All be it, the crossing that he had prepared for his entire adult life!

He was asked how he was feeling and replied with “strained and drained”! It was not only a physical endeavor, but mental as well. He said that his hands were almost numb from carrying the balance pole. “What will carry you through to the end?” he was asked. “Endurance and the encouraging crowd” he resounded.

When interviewed before his walk he stated that his quest was to honor his family’s legacy. He was also asked about his boots, which were made of elk skin by his mother. He said that he was very blessed to have a part of her with him! He also stated that he wished to pay tribute to his great grandfather and his heroism! Wow! What mentors to look up to!!!

As I watched intently on his wire walk, it became obvious to me that he was NOT looking down at where he was walking, but rather he was looking ahead at where he was going! Which, in Nik’s case, was his family and their awaiting arms! So many times, we all get bogged down in our lives because of what we are going through and we ultimately get unsteady and shaky or freeze with fear! Ultimately I have been shown, once again, that what we really need to do is look to where we are going and focus on that!

The announcer referred to it as “singular mental fortitude”! So well put!

A world record:
Approximately 10 feet from the end of his walk he bent down on one knee and pumped his fist in the air. Victory! He then waved to the crowd and pointed to his Uncle Mike holding the tension on the wire as per family tradition. Mike, a NASA engineer, designed and oversaw the rigging of the whole set up of the wire cable! It just goes to show you that team work makes the dream work!

Nik focused on Uncle Mike the remainder of the way and sprinted towards him the last few feet! The announcers enthusiastically stated that it was the most dazzling boarder crossing yet!

Canadian customs officers awaited him and asked the mandatory question, “What is the purpose of your visit?” and he answered with a resounding, “To inspire everyone around the world!” Mission accomplished!

He proceeded to hug his family and was asked how he stay focused. He replied that he focused on the prize on the other side- his family and the crowd cheering him on! It goes to show us that no one can do anything great by themselves, they need the support and encouragement of others!

When asked how his family felt about him doing this stunt he stated that they are fine with it as it is a regular occurrence for their family! Although, he continued, the media can be debilitating and feeds into fears!

Truer words have never been said! To block out negative thoughts and debilitating fears is a simple solution…turn off the media! Most, unfortunately won’t, ultimately setting themselves up to fail as their fears will be feed instead of their dreams!

His wife, a wire walker herself, excitedly stated that she hopes everyone is inspired by Nik’s journey to chase his dreams!

What’s next:
Every good dreamer should have his next goal identified, before accomplishing the previous one! This way, it tells your sub conscience mind that you will be successful in your first goal!

What’s next for Nik? He already has the permits to walk a wire across the Grand Canyon! Way to set an example Nik!!! I, for one, will be following his story as it progresses! As I have heard before, “I would rather die trying, then to never have tried in the first place!”

What are your goals and dreams in life? What steps are you taking to achieve them? I would love to hear from you!

God bless,
Sandra

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