I love a good, inspiring book that leaves you with a sense of fearlessness. “Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance” by Simone Biles, is an inspirational story of strength and overcoming obstacles. Last year, while at the World Championships, Simone crushed more obstacles when she was in the emergency room with a kidney stone – only hours before she had to compete for the qualifying rounds. So, what can we learn about courage, strength, and fearlessness from a badass woman like Simone Biles? Here is what I like to call the ‘Final Five’ Life Lessons from the ‘Courage to Soar’:
- The power of love always wins. At three years old, Simone found herself in foster care with her three siblings. Her grandfather (and his wife) stepped in, adopted them, and gave them a new start in life. It is an unselfish love to take in four children who would have otherwise been separated in foster care. At such a young age, Simone shows us that while our childhood shapes us into who we become, the obstacles that you faced in your past, don’t define you. You are in control of who you want to be, so don’t be afraid to write your own story.
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou
- Size doesn’t matter. Growing up, my parents use to tell me to never judge a book by its cover. At four-feet-eight-inches tall, Simone might be small, but she fierce. She learned to use her characteristics to her advantage. Her small height and strong built allowed her to reach new heights in her floor and balance beam routines. So just like Simone, you have to work with what God gave you, no matter what cards you were
dealt. She reminds us that no matter your size, you can always reach for the stars.
“You will not always be strong, but you can always be brave.” — Beau Taplin
- Failure is part of the journey. Have you ever failed at something that you wanted so much? I know I have. It’s human. In chapter ten of “Courage to Soar”, Simone takes us through a ‘Game Changer’ in her journey to Olympic Gold. At the 2011 Visa National Championships, Simone missed the ranking by one. No doubt she was crushed, and that is a normal reaction to have. In the end, Simone learned an important lesson that we can all learn too. Following the 2011 Nationals, she said, “a person can only fail if they stop trying, if they refuse to pick themselves up and try harder”.
“Sometimes not getting what you want is a brilliant stroke of luck.” — Lorii Myers
- Practice makes better. I say this to my little man all the time. He is working on learning to read and spell. We practice his sight word books a lot (he has five levels total and is making his way through level three). Every morning as we leave for school, I say to him; when you sit down to do your sight words, do them just like practice! He’s beginning to see how practice really does make better. Simone writes about the “just like practice” catchphrase in her book. She uses it with her teammates on every meet. It’s important to remember that having the courage to soar means believing that you can do anything you set your mind too. I love how Simone shows us through her competition meets that you have to recognize the greatness that’s within you, and just like practice, you can crush it!
“Stand up and let the world hear your roar; now spread your wings and begin to soar.” — Mya Waechtler
- Stay grounded, humble, and kind. I am a firm believer that no one gets to where their going without their tribe. I know it sounds cliché’ to say, it takes a village, but it really does. Simone teaches us throughout her book that she didn’t make it to Olympic Gold on her own. On her journey, she had her friends, family, mentors, teammates, and coaches with her every step of the way. This is true in anyone’s journey. It’s important to give thanks and stay grounded along the way. Just like the song, “Humble and Kind”, by Tim McGraw; “when the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you, when the work you put in is realized, let yourself feel the pride, but always stay humble and kind’.
“No great thing is suddenly created.” — Epictetus
I would recommend giving the “Courage to Soar” a read. One of my words to live by for 2019 is INSPIRE. Simone Biles’ story of her journey to Olympic Gold is truly encouraging. She is fierce, and in honor of Black History Month, this post is dedicated to her for giving us the ‘courage to soar’.
Simone Biles – Floor Exercise – 2018 World Championships – Women’s All-Around