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Composure After Crisis

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Have you ever seen runners fall during a race? It’s a tragic thing. After weeks, months, sometimes years of preparation, one misstep can cause their shot at victory to slip away.

The story of Heather Dorniden reminds us that we should not let the fall be the end of our story. While leading the 600m Dash in the 2008 Big 10 Indoor Track Championship, Dorniden tripped and tumbled to the ground. The fall left her in last place, as she watched the other runners fade into the distance.

However, Dorniden did not plan on finishing in last place. She got up, continued the race and soon passed another runner. After seeing this, the crowd begin to roar in support of her courageous effort, but Dorniden wasn’t satisfied.

The cheers of the crowd seemed to give her a boost as she moved past more runners. Finally, she was in second place and sprinting toward the finish line. With only one runner to beat, Dorniden ran as fast as she could and won the race at the last second. It was an amazing response after a terrible fall.

I find it interesting that Dorniden won by such a small margin of victory. If she had stayed on the ground for a second longer, she may not have achieved the same results. How was she able to keep her composure and make the quick decision to continue the race? How many of us would have given up after the fall or conceded defeat?

I believe Dorniden was able to make a quick decision because she understood her goal and was prepared to give her best effort, regardless of any obstacles that stood in her way.

How have you experienced a fall? More importantly, though, how will you finish your story? Will you allow falling to be the last thing people remember you for, or will you be remembered as a person who got back up and went on to do great things? The decision is yours.

Always remember, Leadership is a Lifestyle.

– Ryan W. Hirsch
Program Manager, NASBA Center for the Public Trust