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Home » Obstacle Courses Teach Life Lessons: Kacy Catanzaro at TEDxBirmingham (Transcript)

Obstacle Courses Teach Life Lessons: Kacy Catanzaro at TEDxBirmingham (Transcript)

Kacy Catanzaro – American professional wrestler

When you think of a Ninja Warrior, chances are you probably don’t picture a five-foot tall woman. But I wasn’t going to let the vision of what people thought was normal or possible, keep me from achieving my goals.

And it all started from me when I was about 5 years old. I was put into gymnastics, which undoubtedly shaped me into the person I am today. I learned self-discipline, and time management, determination, sacrifice, and so much more. But three main lessons from my gymnastics years have stuck with me throughout life. Find your own way, improvise, and use your failure to make you stronger.

So when I finished my collegiate gymnastics career, I needed something new and exciting to put all of my time and energy into. I had watched American Ninja Warrior on TV and I thought to myself, I really want to try that. So with the helping guidance of others and some research, I was able to get my shot at the course.

Now, going into the competition I knew that no woman had ever completed a course before. Many talented women have tried, but all failed. This just lit my fire a little bit harder, because I knew I was capable of completing it. So throughout my training and preparation, I leaned back on those three lessons. And I learned how much they translated into running obstacles on the course, but also overcoming obstacles in life. Sometimes, you just have to find your own way.

I am five feet tall, which most people would say it’s pretty short – I am used to it, that’s all I’ve ever known – so going through life, I have learned to approach things a little bit differently, whether it’s something simple like reaching the top shelf, or something a little bit more difficult, like getting up a 14-foot warped wall. But either way, I have learned to make it happen. And I just try and think about it in simpler terms.

If I was thirsty and I walked into the kitchen, and the glass was on the top shelf, I am not just going to say to myself: I don’t think I can reach that glass, I’m probably just going to go thirsty. Of course not. I am going to figure a way to get what I want. And it was the same way on the course. Even though the 14-foot warped wall was almost three times my height, I knew that I could make it happen, that’s what I wanted to go after, and I made sure to do it.

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