by Lex Gillette
During the lead up to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, my mom and I were fortunate enough to be one of the main stars for Procter and Gamble’s Strong campaign. In the 60-second TV commercial, viewers were taken through my life’s journey, experiencing every twist and turn as I went from sight loss to top-level competitor for Team USA.
The beautiful thing about this is that my mom narrates the commercial. I’m biased. (Hey, it IS my mom!) But I must say that her vocal variety was absolutely flawless. At one point in the TV spot, you hear her say, “Elexis, it does not matter what anyone says. You decide what you can do and no one else.”
You may think it’s a cliché but think about it. How many times have we allowed another person’s words to rule over our life? How many times have we let another person’s opinions validate us? How many times have we given someone else permission to make decisions on our behalf?
We must step away from giving others the power to validate us. The same people you allow to build you up will be the same ones who can tear you down. That very statement spoken by my mom is a compass that continues to guide my life daily.
There have been times in the past when I caught wind of outsiders questioning how a high school teacher could allow a blind student to run down a narrow runway and hurl himself through the air.
Yeah, at first, I thought it was crazy too. But I began to believe in my abilities even when the rest of the world didn’t. With every stride down the runway, and every jump into the sand pit, I realized my mom was right. I decide what I can do, and no one else.
What are you battling right now?
Whose inaccurate opinions are keeping you from leveling up in life?
I dare you to go after that job that someone said you could never get.
Were you told you’re not athletic at all?
I dare you to go out for that sports team anyway.
What do you mean you’ll never find a solution to the problem?
Just because someone tells you this, doesn’t make it true.
I dare you to live your life boldly and unapologetically. I challenge you to pursue your vision with everything in your being, and never stop until it has been achieved.
In the pursuit of your vision, remember my mom’s words. “It does not matter what anyone says. You decide what you can do, and no one else.”
Lex Gillette is a professional keynote speaker, 4x Paralympic Medalist, and 4x Long Jump World Champion who is currently training to win gold at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. He has been wowing audiences of all sizes with his athletic gift since 2004, and he has been inspiring audiences on the corporate stage since 2013. His ultimate goal is to teach others to look past their current reality and challenge them to see further than they ever thought possible.
Photo credit: Lex jumping by Joe Kusumoto.