The Sweet Revenge of The Least Likely To Succeed

By Sarah Reinertsen

After taping tonight’s interview I thought a lot about where I’ve come from since high school days. I can remember feeling jealousy when I flipped through the pages of the high school


yearbook and seeing the photos of all the cool kids that were voted “most popular, “most athletic” or “most likely to succeed.” - I just wasn’t one of those cool ones to even get nominated or voted in the senior class poll. I was the girl with a prosthetic leg, who was the last kid picked for the kickball team in gym class, and never got asked to the school dances or senior prom.

Today I’m no longer jealous of those kids in high school, and it’s definitely sweet revenge, to go from an “ignored athlete” to a world-class sponsored athlete. I’m training for another Ironman triathlon, with sponsorships that include international sport companies like Nike, Oakley and Cannondale. I have been on the cover of both Runner’s World magazine, and Triathlete magazine, and I’ll be on another magazine cover next month, the August issue of Competitor magazine. I am also writing a book, a memoir about my journey that will be published and available in bookstores next fall!!

While I may have been the only amputee on today’s show, I wasn’t the only one with a disability. I actually believe that almost all of us have a “disability” of some sort; some are just less obvious than others. While my disability is physical, a couple of the guests on the show admitted to having hidden disabilities like dyslexia, or just tough circumstances in their childhood. Each of us overcame our obstacles, hidden or obvious, to forge our own paths to success. And even with the hardships we each faced individually, we didn’t complain (well maybe we did at some point a little bit), we didn’t let our whining stop us from taking action. Although we were given lemons, we all decided to make lemonade.

So here’s my recipe to make sweet success of your own:

WRITE DOWN YOUR DREAMS / GOALS – by putting writing down your goals you are putting it out in the universe, it’s crystallizing your vision in the world and helps you to commit to that dream.

TAKE ACTION and DON’T GIVE UP – ideas are great but they go nowhere without action, so put the wheels in motion and get to work! And if you “fall down” or “fail” along the way it’s important to carry on and pick yourself up. Many times our “failures” are our greatest life lessons and make us more successful in the future

PATIENCE - Realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your career or business. You must have patience and perseverance to achieve your goals. I dreamed of doing the Hawaii Ironman for 12 years before I actually made it to the world championship triathlon in Kona.

ASK FOR HELP - be humble enough to ask for help when you need it, as my grandma always says, “you need all the worker bees and the Queen bee to make honey”, so sweet success does come when you work with others to achieve your goals.

FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE – in tough moments it’s important to remember the positive, not just the negative things. It’s that classic seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty, but it’s that enduring attitude of positivity that will carry you through. Instead of focusing on the fact I had my left leg, I would make a list of all the other wonderful things I had (a smart mind, a strong right leg, 2 toned arms, great hair and a winning smile). If I focused on those other things I felt good instead of feeling bad about missing my leg.

And remember - Impossible means it just hasn’t been done yet! Go for it!!!

Sarah Reinertsen has her own motivational speaking company and can be reached at: