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Goals and Dreams: Steps to Success

by Amy O'Quinn


Recently, my family and I had the opportunity and pleasure of meeting Cliff Meidl, two-time Olympic kayaker and flag bearer for the United States Olympic team in Sydney in 2000. He was the keynote speaker at a banquet we attended for my husband’s business, but I was the one who left the event inspired and motivated to pursue my goals and dreams with brand new purpose.


Cliff overcame overwhelming odds and obstacles to reach his dreams, and his story and determination made me realize just how remiss and unindustrious I have been in pursuing my own goals and dreams. Many of my excuses are legitimate, but part of my stagnant position boils down to procrastination and lack of direction.


Cliff’s Story


Cliff is actually an advocate and spokesperson for Dig Safety and the Call 811 movement, but his message applies to anyone who seeks to go up-level or take steps to achieve success. Ironically, his platform message developed from a tragic experience. After a construction accident that caused him to suffer severe electrical burns and the near loss of his legs at age 20, he battled against all odds to recover. But recover he did—and he made the Olympic kayaking team twice. He also had the honor of being chosen by his US teammates to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony in Sydney. He now shares his hard-won success story with people all over the world and teaches them how to take the steps to reach success and pursue lifelong dreams.


Cliff’s Steps to Success


Cliff’s recommendations are not new, but in light of his own story, they take on a whole new meaning.

Here is a brief overview:

1. You must have a vision! If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.

2. You must focus on your skills and gifts.

3. Minimize your limitations.

4. Maximize your strengths and concentrate on developing them.

5. Take small steps—but keep on going. Be persistent and consistent.


Cliff also shared a quote from famous Olympic runner, Jesse Owens. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win. There is no such thing as an overachiever, just an underestimator.”


Be A Winner


Cliff was an inspiration to me, and I’m so glad we got to meet him and hear his story. His determination to overcome the effects of his accident and disability is a lesson to anyone who faces obstacles and odds, but his ideas are also perfect for anyone who needs a good dose of encouragement and motivation to pursue dreams and achieve goals. Cliff’s awesome example and great suggestions are a winning combination! To learn more about Cliff, his life-changing experience, his powerful message, and his partnership with community foundations and organizations to help individuals overcome adversity, visit


*Article originally appeared on The Work Writer's Club website HERE.




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