Kyle Maynard is a motivational speaker, author, entrepreneur and athlete. Despite being born with arms that end at the elbows and legs near the knees, Kyle’s wrestled for one of the best teams in the Southeast, set records in weightlifting, fought in mixed martial arts, and most recently became the first man to crawl on his own to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, which awarded him his 2nd ESPY for the Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
His story has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Larry King Live, ESPN’s Sportscenter, HBO’s Real Sports, ABC’s 20/20 and Good Morning America, and as a cover story in USA Today. He continues to inspire as the author of his book, No Excuses (2005), a New York Times bestseller.
I Am Driven By | Hearing other people’s stories when I’m at my speaking events or messages I get on Facebook or email is really what keeps me going. I’ve had the privilege for the last 10 years to travel around the world sharing my story as a motivational speaker, but I believe that nothing separates me or other speakers/role models from anyone else on this planet. We all have the power to impact people’s lives and it’s a choice we make everyday on if we are going to continue to grow, learn and flourish or if we are going to be a victim to circumstance.
A Key Talent | I believe one of my greatest strengths is that I don’t give up on things easily. Because I was born different and I grew up before the Internet really took off, there weren’t any other people like me I could model. I had to learn how to hold a spoon or fork my own way. I had to learn how to get dressed without adaptations on my own. I lost the first 35 straight wrestling matches I competed in before I broke through and won. I believe many of these tests throughout my life have taught the importance of when we get knocked down; sometime we just need to get back up, dust the dirt off and keep on going. And it’s important to realize that anything truly worth having in this life is going to be hard and sometimes we may have to fail hundreds of times before we break through and succeed.
Principles I Live By | I believe it’s important to be honest, accountable and have integrity. When we lose anyone of these characteristics we loss the trust of the people who we work with, our families and friends or loved ones, which makes life very hard.
Dealing With Doubt | When we feel fear or doubt it is only because our minds are trying to protect us from failure or rejection. There have been many times in my life where I have felt that gripping sense of fear, especially when I first started wrestling. I believed the things that I would overhear people saying about how a guy without arms and legs couldn’t win a wrestling match, that it was impossible. The first match that I won I looked into my opponent’s eyes and realized he was just as scared as I was and I made the decision that I would let him be scared for both of us. I believe that when we feel that fear our minds are really telling us that we should move forward and conquer it even if it’s the toughest thing we will ever face.
Performing At My Peak | My Dad taught me a very valuable lesson when I was younger, which was it is okay to have down days, but it’s important to not string too many of them in a row. The people who seem happy and motivated 365 days a year are the ones that really scare me because they are hiding something serious. I think this lesson has helped shape me into who I am today because when the major challenge or competition is in front of me, I know I’ll be ready.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I have adventure ADD and there are so many things that I want to do both athletically and entrepreneurially. Right now, my focus has been Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where I will compete in the No-Gi World Championships this year and later on in the year my team and I leave for Argentina where we will climb the tallest mountain in South America, Mt. Aconcagua.
Advice On Building Wealth | Becoming rich and building wealth gives people a lot of options, but I don’t believe it will make you happy. I believe the best way to both build wealth and be happy is connect with our own purpose on why we are here on this planet and help other people along the way. Once we take the focus off of making money and put the focus on how we can help people, I believe both goals will be achieved far easier.
On Inspiring Others | Jim Rohn said that we are an average of the five people we spend the most time with. I’ve thought about that much of my life and I try to surround myself with people who are motivated, driven and want to achieve great things out of life. When I was born my parents made the decision to treat me as normal and I had the same expectations as my three younger sisters. With this mindset, my friends and teammates growing up viewed the same way.
I Am Inspired By | My father is my biggest role model and he was successful collegiate wrestler and served as an MP in the Army. I wanted to be just like him growing up and we still have a very close relationship.
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