How are you Growing Bolder®? Are you still pursuing passions that make you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Are you finding new ways to challenge yourself and grow? Are you taking risks that reap big rewards?
Growing Bolder Founder and CEO Marc Middleton is doing all of the above and more. Marc’s first big Growing Bolder move was to quit his job in television news and sports broadcasting to launch Growing Bolder in 2007. Dedicated to Rebranding Aging®, Growing Bolder shares the stories of ordinary men and women who are taking risks to pursue their passions and prove that it’s never too late to chase your dreams. Marc was inspired by the examples of the men and women we featured in our stories, particularly those who were participating in masters sports.
In the past 10 years, Marc has done interviews with and produced stories on the world’s most successful nonagenarians and centenarians, renowned global thought leaders in health, fitness, nutrition, life planning and longevity; world champion masters athletes; celebrities and ordinary people who are living extraordinary lives simply because they refused to buy into the common belief that aging is a time of loss and limitation.
Inspired by the examples of the men and women that we feature, Marc returned to the pool after a 35-year-absence. “I didn’t swim a lap for decades,” he says. “And I never intended to compete, but then I met a guy named Rowdy.” Marc became friends with three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, who encouraged him to enter masters competitions.
And guess what? He found out he was still a pretty good swimmer. He started collecting medals, national championships and before too long, multiple world records.
Marc (in the blue cap, top of screen) wins the 50-yard butterfly at the 2016 Masters National Championships.
U.S. Masters Swimming recently released the top 10 list for 2016-2017, and Marc is at the top of the list in his age group for three events — 50-yard butterfly, 50-yard freestyle and 50-yard backstroke. Plus, FINA, the international governing body for water sports, posted the top 10 times for the year, and Marc has the fastest age group times in the world in the 50-meter butterfly for both long course and short course and the 50-meter freestyle men’s short course.
In the past year, Marc has also become an in-demand speaker, delivering keynote addresses at major conventions and corporate gatherings coast-to-coast. The interest in the Growing Bolder message has resulted in Marc writing what promises to be the definitive book on active longevity and inspired aging.
“I have been asked repeatedly for over 10 years, ‘When are you going to write a book on Growing Bolder?’ While I knew that I would one day write it, I’ve always been bothered by those who attempt to position themselves as an expert on something before they actually know much about it. The world is filled with people who want to tell you how to accomplish something they’ve never accomplished themselves. I didn’t want to write a book about Growing Bolder until I felt that I truly had something valuable to add to the conversation, rather than simply repeating what others have said or observed. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, suggests that 10,000 hours is the magic number to make someone an expert. I’ve probably averaged working 60 hours a week for the past 10 years on the Growing Bolder project. That’s more than 30,000 hours spent interviewing, researching, reading and doing — actually applying what I’ve learned to my own life. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve done more interviews with inspirational older people than any media organization in the world. I committed myself to writing what I believe will be a one-of-a-kind playbook for life, a guide to deprogramming yourself from the insidious cult of youth and fearlessly embracing the opportunities of age. So my days have gotten longer, but my belief in the Growing Bolder message has grown with every page I write. I hope to have it finished in the fall.”
Marc delivers a presentation at PechaKucha: “You’ve been brainwashed. Give me 20 slides and I’ll give you 20 years.”
One of the unique features of Marc’s book will be links to the actual Growing Bolder interviews and videos that his message is based upon.
As Marc travels to swimming meets across the country, he always has a video camera in hand and returns with inspirational stories about people finding passion, purpose, health and community in the pool.
Some of those stories include:
— A Masterclass in Longevity: With a combined age of more than 360, John Corse, Ed Graves, Betty Lorenzi and Joan Campbell smash two things: a world record and expectations for what 80- and 90-year-olds can do.
— Making a Splash: Edwin Graves, 91, Tiger Holmes, 93, John Corse, 90, and William Adams, 88, all former college swimmers who stopped swimming for decades, go on an age-group record setting binge.
— Life in the Fast Lane: Charlotte Sanddal embodies the keys to active longevity. The 94-year-old has a strong intergenerational social group, lives an active and adventurous life, loves to travel, volunteers and refuses to let health setbacks keep her on the couch.
— Swimming Rehabs Her Body and Spirit: Every time 67-year-old Diann Uustal gets into the pool, she proves doctors wrong. Two devastating accidents several years apart left her with crippling injuries. Both times, she was sent to the pool for rehab. And stroke after stroke, she says she didn’t just get physical therapy in the water, she found spiritual therapy.
— Standing Tall: John Seevers was born with birth defects in both legs. A series of surgeries led doctors to perform a double rotation — turning his feet backwards. He explains why he chooses to race swimmers from the able-bodied community, swimmers he describes as “extremely faster” than him, and touts the benefits of being a part of the inclusive, engaged, supportive and thriving community of masters swimmers.
— How World Records are Broken: Watch Marc and his teammates, including 3-time Olympic champion Rowdy Gaines, break a world record