We are no stranger to hearing stories about normal people achieving extraordinary feats.
This story came to my attention several months ago, through none other than the social networking site Facebook. Unlike any other posts I have encountered in the past, this was a personal update, or one may consider it as an announcement (which was meant for public viewing), posted by a friend I have the fortune to be acquainted with in late 2011 at a technology startup event.
His update had my immediate attention and the attention of hundreds of people who know him because it was not an update that I have accustomed to seeing whenever I log on to Facebook: he made an announcement that he was going to pursue his biggest childhood dream — to walk into the Olympic stadium during the opening ceremony as an athlete.
It was a Facebook status update that transcended beyond text into real world action!
This friend of mine is Paul Bragiel, a passionate serial entrepreneur, startup advisor and investor based in San Francisco, California. A startup enthusiast and globetrotter, Paul is widely connected to the startup communities across continents.
In realising his childhood dream, Paul took a year off, shifted his focus away from the world of business to a realm that is completely new to him.
After a long process of research and deliberation, Paul started to train for cross-country skiing. Through various connections, Paul found himself a professional coach, was granted citizenship in the Republic of Columbia via a decree put into place by President Juan Manuel Santos, founded Colombian Cross-Country Ski Team, and has a Facebook fan page with the following of more than 12,000 (since October 2013).
Paul relocated to Finland in April this year and has since been training between two and five hours a day. On November 17, Paul updated (on social media) that he was disqualified in his first qualification race, yet in between the lines his enthusiasm for the next qualifying race did not diminished. He is even more determined to perform better.
From Paul’s story, I can’t help but ponder and reflect upon:
1. We all have hopes and dreams, how often do we actually do something about it?
2. When we talk about our dreams, how realistic are they?
3. As we embark on realising our dream, how do we manage our own expectation and the expectation of others?
4. When we are pursuing our dream, what do we aim to achieve? What if everyone else think that we are crazy? Should we allow the comments of others hinder us from pursuing our dream?
I sincerely admire Paul’s will and commitment.
What truly inspires me is this: Paul has a dream and in order to make it possible, he manages real expectation, assessing alternatives that would work best for him.
A dream is a dream until we do something about it. My dream is to inspire through my works, be it through TV production or writing. So here goes yet another attempt of mine at reaching out to you.
I hope Paul’s story will inspire you just as much as his story did to me.