I had the privilege recently to listen to Rob Dyke from Victoria, BC deliver a motivational speech. Rob described himself as an average guy from an average family. After a particularly less-than-average New Year’s Eve, he vowed that he would enter an Ironman Race that year; a daunting personal challenge considering that he didn’t even own a bicycle let alone be able to ride 180 kms during one of the 3 legs that comprises the Ironman Race.
Rob’s story is different than you might expect, for he did not succeed right away. However, through repeated attempts and hard work, he eventually was successful. This was one of his messages: work hard and results will follow.
This remarkable, unremarkable man then challenged himself with swimming around Vancouver Island. Circumnavigating Vancouver Island by boat is considered a shakedown cruise for sailors considering an off-shore cruise. Rob swam around it.
His first attempt was thwarted by a dislocated shoulder caused by swimming in huge waves near Brooks Peninsula. Brooks is a formidable headland that juts out into the Pacific Ocean on the western side of Vancouver Island. I can’t fathom attempting this once, let alone twice, but Rob would not be defeated and on his second attempt to swim around Vancouver Island, he made it. All the way around – 1400 Kms – swimming while raising money for the Canadian Red Cross. Often in pain, cold and with multiple jelly fish stings to exposed parts of his body he swam – all the way around.
Rob showed a video taken by his friends who volunteered to be his safety boat for this epic journey. On one day Rob was joined by a pod of porpoise swimming beside him – urging him on. This moment touched my heart and others in the audience. A unified exclamation of “wow” was whispered.
Rob’s second message was gleaned from years of struggle punctuated with stellar moments of achievement: surround yourself with good friends. People who lift you up and challenge you to be the best that you can be and who are there to support you when you stumble.
I am blessed with good friends as I also try to lead a remarkable, unremarkable life. May you be blessed with good friends.