Photos by Jonah Hokit

Quadruple amputee and award-winning extreme athlete, Kyle Maynard, spoke to inspire students Feb. 1 in the Grande Ballroom.

Maynard was born with a rare condition known as congenital amputation, which left him with arms that end at the elbows and legs that end near his knees. The doctors told his parents that he would need constant care for the rest of his life.

Maynard defies the limitations before him. Now as accomplished athlete and climber, he shares a message of overcoming mental blocks and excuses in order to achieve his dreams.

As students are preparing to enter the workplace, Maynard reminds them to take risks and invites them to adopt a no excuses mentality.

Kyle Maynard speaks to students

“No excuses means that you always have the freedom to try,” Maynard said. “It really doesn’t mean guaranteed success, it doesn’t mean everything will work out or go smoothly. It is the exact opposite of that. It’s the fact that no matter what and how dire the circumstances are or how challenged we are, we always have the freedom to try.”

Students were given a hand out from Maynard; asking questions about their dreams and goals, what excuses they made about not reaching them and to describe why these dreams matter to them.

“Maybe you don’t know what your why is, but that’s okay,” he said.“All discoveries, all opportunities begin with ‘I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.’ That has been the entirety of my life and embracing the I don’t know, takes courage.”

Maynard said that the philosophy of ‘anything is possible’ is nice, but we all have limitations.

“Know your limits, and never stop trying to break them,” Maynard said. “For the dreams in your life, you are going to invariably have people that will doubt. That won’t understand.”

The UVUSA speaker series had been anticipating Maynard to speak to students for many years, and were excited for him to become available. They felt this would be a valuable message for students.