It’s 2008. It’s the Big Ten Indoor Track Championship. Heather Dorniden Kampf, a rising star at the University of Minnesota, is the favorite to win the 600 meter race. She’s running strong, neck in neck with another runner from Penn State. Then, just 200 meters from the finish, Heather experiences an epic fall.
Epic. I mean, face plant.
So it's over, right? Wrong. Faster than you can pick up your jaw from the floor, Heather springs up and starts sprinting. She is dead last. In one of the most thrilling minutes in sports history, she gradually picks off every other runner and ends up winning, literally by an inch.
That is some resilience.
Everyone would have understood if she stayed there on the ground, convinced that she had failed and there was no chance of recovering from a fall like that.
But she didn’t stay on the ground. She got up, she finished what she started and she emerged the champion.
Heather went on to become a four-time U.S. National Champion and now professionally competes internationally as a middle distance runner.
What if she had let that moment define her? What if she had stayed on the ground, admitting defeat? What if it had changed the entire trajectory of her career? Of her life?
When have you had a debilitating setback in your career? An epic fall, even? We’ve all had them!
Do you think you’re the only one who has experienced a setback or failure? The brilliant inventor Thomas Edison attempted multiple innovations that failed miserably before he famously invented the light bulb. Media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey was demoted in one of her early TV jobs. Before Microsoft, Bill Gates and his partner launched a company that imploded. Fashion icon Vera Wang didn’t make the Olympic skating team, so she applied as an assistant at Vogue. Basketball legend Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because he was believed to not be skilled enough.