In the mid-1800s, Charles Blondin ventured across the 1,100 ft Niagra Falls Gorge. Crowds of people would flock to see “The Great Blondin” cross the deep and precarious gorge. He was so good at crossing it and people were so attracted to seeing the impossible stunt, that he routinely crossed it. But just going across wasn’t enough for the talented Blondin.
Blondin added some theatrical variations to the Niagra Falls crossing: blindfolded, in a sack, pushing a wheelbarrow, standing on stilts, and even sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an egg omelet. He took the impossible and made it possible. On one occasion, he invited his friend and business manager, Harry Colcord, to venture across the gorge strapped to his back. As the pair reached the halfway point – the most dangerous section of the crossing – Blonding said to his friend: “Harry, you are no longer Colcord; you are Blondin. Until I clear this place, be a part of me – mind, body, and soul. If I sway, sway with me. Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself. If you do, we shall both go down to our death.”
The interesting thing about Blondin’s history is the lack of any personal memoir. We have some historic information regarding his personal family life and the events he displayed as a public figure, but we do not have a story from his lens. If you broke world records or completed astounding achievements, would you document your experience? Perhaps it’s a little selfish, but wouldn’t it be fascinating to understand how Blondin prepared himself for a tightrope walk? Was he always fearless of heights, or did he just manage it? Real questions that may have given more profound respect to an already amazing individual.
All of us are on the road to achieving personal greatness. Every person has gone through their “fiery furnace” of challenges and experienced incredible vistas in the journey. What are we doing to document and create the narrative? Describing our highs and lows and becoming an author of our life helps not only you but the many who will be inspired by your actions.