Hero #3: Kyle Maynard

Try to imagine what it would be like to live without arms or legs. Virtually everything you do would be different than it is today. Goals like mine would go from merely difficult to heroic:

  • Marathon: On Track. I ran three miles on Friday for the first time in years.
  • Two Square Yards of Earth: Behind Schedule. I finished Chapter 1 yesterday, but according to my plan, I should be finishing Chapter 8 today.
  • 100 Posts: Behind Schedule. This is my 14th post for the year. My plan has me posting number 16 today.

Kyle Maynard has surpassed my goals many times over. In fact, he seems to make a habit of doing the things nobody else thinks he can do.

I first heard of Mr. Maynard on Lewis Howes’s excellent The School of Greatness podcast (episode 18). Suddenly, my own problems seemed much smaller–and my excuses seemed much less valid.

This man was born without arms or legs. And that’s as close as he gets to acknowledging his limitations. He played football and wrestled in high school, he’s fought in an MMA match, and he climbs mountains. If you look at his Twitter feed today, you’ll see he is currently engaged in a 100-day Brazilian Jiu Jitsu challenge.

He doesn’t do any of these things the way you or I would do them. But he does them. In spite of limitations that would leave most of us curled up in our beds, unwilling to face the world, he tackles the hardest physical challenges he can find.

I have never climbed a mountain higher than 12,500 feet. In 2013, Mr. Maynard climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, at a little over 19,000 feet the highest peak in Africa. This year, he plans to climb Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest peak in South America at almost 23,000 feet.

This young man stands as an inspiration and an example to anyone who ever gave voice to an excuse. Take some time to look at his amazing list of accomplishments, and I think you’ll agree.

I've been a soldier, a dreamer, a working stiff, a leader. A husband, father, example (good and otherwise), and now a survivor. I write about courage, because courage is what enables us to accomplish the impossible. If you draw breath, I love you. If you love in whatever way seems best to you and want others to love in whatever way seems best to them, I am your ally. If you believe someone is less than you because they do not love the way you do, I oppose you. If you see someone as a threat to be abused or destroyed merely because they do not look like you, or love like you, or worship like you, I am your enemy. I am a joyful and courageous man. And I stand with you who love.