At the age of 8, Bethany Hamilton entered her first surfing competition, where she won both the short and long board divisions. She was a natural born surfer with a love for competition. On October 31, 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing off Kauai’s North Shore. Bethany recalls, “It came, literally, out of the blue. I had no warning at all; not even the slightest hint of danger on the horizon. The waves were small and inconsistent, and I was just kind of rolling along with them, relaxing on my board with my left arm dangling in the cool water. I remember thinking, ‘I hope the surf picks up soon…That’s all it took: a split second later, I felt a lot of pressure and a couple of lightning fast tugs. Then I watched in shock as the water around me turned bright red. Somehow, I stayed calm. My left arm was gone almost to the armpit, along with a huge crescent-shaped chunk of my red, white and blue surfboard…I remember most clearly what the Kauai paramedic whispered in my ear, ‘God will never leave you or forsake you.’ He was right.”
Though Bethany lost over 60% of her blood, she made it through several surgeries without infection. The emotional battle of a young girl, mixed with the dreams of hopeful marriage and a normal life was difficult. However, Bethany chose the path less travelled and prepared herself for a comeback story of epic proportions.
THE BIG SHIfT
What was her secret? What was the internal SHIfT Bethany had to experience to move forward with courage?
1.Humility….Though Bethany was a strong and powerful surfer, in a moment’s notice her strength was gone and she had to turn to a power bigger than herself. Her faith in God became the lifeblood of her comeback story and gave her the strength to make SHIfT happen.
2.Perspective…What would, to some, be a defining moment that instilled fear of ever returning to the water, to Bethany, the shark attack became a stepping stone that would create a platform for her talent and story to change the world.
3.Risk – Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water to continue pursuing her goal to become a professional surfer. With no intention of stopping, Bethany continued to enter and excel in competitions till in 2007, she realized her dream and turned pro.
Since losing her arm, Bethany’s story has been told in hundreds of media outlets and featured in a major motion picture, “Soul Surfer”. At the age of 23, she fell in love and married Christian youth minister, Adam Dirks and is now raising a family of her own. Bethany’s foundation of faith has been her backbone; her source of truth, hope, and strength. Today, Bethany uses her story to touch the hearts of millions with her message, charitable efforts, and overall spirit.
No matter what life throws your way, you WILL have opportunities to say “I can’t”. For many of you, the “reason” you have may be completely legitimate and to those who are normal thinkers, they may agree that you should throw in the towel and try something new. But to the extraordinary thinkers…the true believers….the resilient at heart, they will look you in the eye and tell you NEVER, NEVER give up on the dreams God gives you. Never let fear or circumstances change the vision and standard you have set for your future. You may have to take on a SUPER-human mentality, but that is the power of living a God-centered life….the mystery of the deep is this: Christ IN YOU….the hope of glory.
As a highly sought-after speaker, thought leader, author, and expert in business psychology, Staci Wallace’s messages of uncompromising truth equip CEO's, influencers, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the marketplace to launch and scale purpose-driven, highly profitable lives and businesses that leave a powerful impact on the world. With over 35 years in Executive Corporate Leadership and over 25 in global ministry, Staci's desire is to support Kingdom Entreprenuers with tools that equip leaders and send them to the four corners of the earth. Her distinctions in business success have enabled her to share the stage with five U.S. Presidents and many other high profile leaders of this generation as well as to be a featured "Life & Business Coach" for such shows as KTHV's Morning Show, NBC, ABC, FOX and is the current co-host of the "Fueled By Fire Podcast" alongside her husband of 25 years, Larry Wallace.