Do Your “UnThinkable”

Posted: September 2, 2010 in Leadership Articles
In early August, I had the opportunity of meeting one of those people that change your life forever. I met Scott Rigsby, the first and only double-amputee using prosthetics to ever complete the prestigous Ford Ironman World Championship triathalon in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

I read Scott’s book “Unthinkable” a few months ago in preparation to meeting him at a 5K race in my hometown of Mechanicsville, Virginia. My wife and I wanted our two young children to meet a hero and champion like Scott and hear his message of faith and determiniation.

My brother’s Swim Club sponsored Scott as a speaker at the 5K event. Scott also participated in the 5K run. Just to brag on my little brother a bit – Jeff is a triathlete that recently finished in the top 15% of 2500 triathletes at the July Lake Placid Ironman. I am extremely proud of him and his commitment to his dream.

Scott Rigsby was involved in a horrific accident when he was 18 years old. He was thrown from the back of a pick-up truck and pinned under a trailer. The accident took one of his legs, mangled the other leg and left him with 3rd degree burns on his back from being dragged over 300 yards on asphalt. That summer he was preparing to go to college, meet new people and start his adult life.

Scott suffered through many years of depression, addiction and dozens of surgeries. Several years ago, Scott decided to have his other leg removed due to the infections and lack of functional use.

Scott completing the Mechanicsville Waterboy

On race day, Scott’s race group started before mine. At about mile 1.5, I saw Scott ahead of me running a hill. I stopped running. I watched Scott. I was completely inspired and amazed by this man who 4 years ago had never run a race, swam, or rode a bike more than a mile. On a daily basis, he displays courage, faith and determination to do what he was called to do – help others realize they can do their Unthinkable!

That Saturday evening, Scott spoke to 120 people at the Swim Club. My family and I listened in awe to Scott’s speech. He told the audience about his journey, his fight with prescription drug and alcohol addiction and finding his purpose in life. Scott’s speech has truly changed my life and the way I view goals and my potential. His message was focused on taking our Unthinkable goals and dreams and turning them into tomorrow’s reality. If a 38 year old man with no legs who had never competed in a triathalon could train for 6 months and finish the most difficult triathalon in the world, we can achieve our goals.

Scott believes there are 5 steps to living an Unthinkable life.
1. Have a dream. The dream cannot be about you. The dream must be something greater than you. People may think you and your dream are crazy. So what? Your dream MUST scare you out of your comfort zone.
2. Get a good support team. If your dream is so small that you can do it by yourself, then your dream is not big enough.
3. Faith releases fear. Fear is the biggest enemy to accomplishing your goals. Fear manifests through procrastination, self doubt and lack of action. Believe in yourself and your God.
4. Obstacles will come, keep your hope burning every day.
5. Cross your Finish Line. Don’t let fear stop you from reaching your Unthinkable.

Scott Rigsby & Team Tunstall

On Sunday after meeting Scott, my wife and I got two pieces of flipchart paper and wrote down our Unthinkable dreams. We then took post it notes and began writing down the actions we need to take to make our Unthinkables happen. No limitations on our goals or actions – All Out! This has provided a focus for us and Scott provided us with the belief that we can do it.

One statement Scott made has really stuck with me. He said ” The accident is not the worst thing that has happened to me. Actually, it has been my masterpiece. The worst thing that has ever happened to me was living in fear for 20 years after the accident.”

I challenge all of us to take action, to dream your Unthinkable, and to live your masterpiece.

  1. Jane Grinnell says:

    Quite an inspirational piece. God has a way of leading you to the path you need to go to accomplish your goals and to complete his plan.

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