I was very impressed with the calibre of individuals that were involved in the event. I have never in my life met such a positive, enthusiastic, respectful and polite group of 16-18 year olds. They all had self-confidence, compassion and amazing communication skills. It was really fun for me to chat with the various members and to gain some insight into the weeks happenings.
The week was jam packed full of awesome activities and everyone seemed to have pushed themselves out of their comfort zones quite a bit! Everyone said that by the end of the week they felt like their groups had become families and you could tell that the camaraderie was strong. There was an energy and comfort in the room that was very inviting.
One of the activities that was part of the program was something called "Secret Friends". At the beginning of the week they drew a random name from a "hat" and for the remainder of the week it was their job to get to know that person and to make them feel amazing. Basically random acts of kindness. I loved the idea and when I went up to speak I joked about how I wanted a secret friend too!
My talk went great. The theme was "Beyond the Horizon". I touched on how we sometimes place horizons on ourselves and how we sometimes have horizons placed on us. I talked about how horizons are comfortable because you can see them, but what is beyond the horizon? How can we find the courage and the strength inside of ourselves to push beyond the horizons in ours lives.
One example that I used was how a Canadian had never won a medal at the Olympics in the sport of gymnastics. That was the horizon. No one could see beyond that. But I could. And I believed it was possible. And I committed myself to training like an Olympic Champion. That meant that I needed to be more focused, more dedicated and more detail oriented than anyone before me. And when it happened in 2004, it opened the eyes of the entire Canadian team. It was now possible.
I talked about being a pioneer and doing something historic. What do you want to do that no one has ever done before?
I also talked about another horizon in my life. My "only medals matter" horizon and how I started to create that with in myself, especially after Athens. I started to define myself based on my accomplishments and I started to lose perspective. Training and competition started to become about outcomes and obligation and I wasn't chasing a dream with the same passion and pursuit that I had been before my ultimate dream came true. I talked about how my injury in Stuttgart really woke me up and reminded me that the journey is much more important than the outcome. What's really important is committing to excellence and having the guts to aim for your maximum potential. Because that's where you'll get the most out of yourself. And at the end of the day, if you can look back and know that, regardless of the outcome, you feel like you were at YOUR absolute best, then that's the definition of victory. So aim high and be courageous enough to commit to excellence, every single day.
I thought so. And I think some of my new friends agreed.
When the event was done and I had met most of the gang - and did a backflip and handstand on the dance floor...oh, and also got the most amazing farewell GIANT group hug ever!!!! 150 people big. That was super special - I walked out to my car and put my medal in it's special velvet bag.
Inside the bag was a note.
It was folded up and on the outside it read:
Love: your secret friends @ club week
Inside it read:
Dear Kyle Shewfelt,
Thank you so much for your speech today. It was an honour to sit with you and I will remember it always. The moment I get back to Lethbridge I am going to brag about this experience to all of my friends. Again, thank you so much. Your speech brought tears to my eyes (Olympics do that to me:))
Thanks for the honour,
Your Secret Friend
You are such an amazing person. We were very honoured to have you speak at our banquet. I hope you had a great time with us. You were very inspirational.
Thank you again,
Your secret friend.
It was an honour to sit by you - your speech was truly inspirational and I am totally star struck. I hope you can take your speaking career to outstanding heights. Thank you!
- Your other secret friend
ps- It gave me chills to hold your medal first.
And that folks, right there, is the reason I do what I do. This is why I LOVE speaking. It makes me happy to know that I have affected others in a positive way and hopefully sparked something inside of them to help them along in their journey.
Thanks to my "secret friends" for taking the time to make me a gift. It meant a lot and had me smiling the whole drive home.
One comment really made me shiver. The, "I hope you can take your speaking career to outstanding heights" one. Wow. That's it. That's where I want to go with this. I want to go to OUTSTANDING heights.
I have never been more ready.