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How Endurance Athlete and Keynote Speaker, Tez Steinberg Turns Setbacks Into Success–And You Can Too

Tez Steinberg is a motivational keynote speaker and ocean rower who solo rowed 2,700 miles across the Pacific Ocean in 2020 – despite being neither sailor nor rower before the journey began. 


Steinberg’s unlikely journey to become a world record rower began in college while experiencing depression, when a friend invited him to join a short triathlon. “Racing,” Steinberg says, “gave me a new love for life. And going from a complete beginner to a highly competitive Ironman showed me that my assumptions about what I could do were not just short-sighted – they were completely invalid. I’ve since come to realize that’s true for everyone.” 


Over the following years, Steinberg went on to run over 45 marathons. But it was in 2016 when his father died by suicide that Steinberg decided to row across an ocean – a journey that began as a quest for personal healing, and then grew into a mission to inspire and empower others. By completing his 71-day row from California to Hawaii in summer 2020, Steinberg became the first and only person in history to row this route as a novice rower. More people have walked on the moon than have rowed solo to Hawaii. 


Before his crossing, Steinberg had no sailing or rowing experience and hadn’t been to sea. While alone on the ocean for 10 weeks, he shared his experience through blogs and social media and raised $76,975 for charity and together with a global community of supporters, raised the funds to collect 5,000 pounds of ocean plastic.


Back on land, Steinberg began planning a second, more ambitious journey – but life presented Steinberg a different challenge: a sudden and unexpected heart attack in July 2022. Doctors restricted him from training for 3 months, fearing that exercise could cause permanent injury or even death. “Not training proved an enormous mental challenge and required me to genuinely adapt. For the past 10 years, exercise kept me healthy. Now, exercise could cause disaster. I had to reframe rest, to view it as training,” Steinberg reflected.


In fall 2022, after months of rehabilitation, Steinberg’s medical team approved him to resume training, and he went on to run a 28-mile marathon in December 2022. Now fully recovered, Steinberg is planning to announce his next expedition in August 2023. 


As a keynote speaker, Steinberg shares how to grow through life’s setbacks and turn any challenge into success. He says everyone has an ocean to cross, and his goal is to help people everywhere find their ocean and the courage to cross it.


Set a Goal So Big, You Have to Grow into the Person Who Can Achieve It 


Endurance athletes share one essential trait that Steinberg epitomizes: extreme mental strength. In Steinberg’s words, “this strength is developed first by remembering that every experience – whether it seems positive or negative – presents opportunities to grow towards our goals. And second, asking ourselves not if we can achieve our goal today, but if we can trust ourselves to grow into the person who can.” Steinberg teaches others to develop this skill during his “Tez Talks” as a keynote speaker. 


Good Things Take Hustle, Great Things Take Time


“Hustling” is sometimes necessary for short-term goals, but it often leads to burnout. More importantly, persistence over the long-term creates truly great results. Steinberg says, “Compound change is the key to achieve true greatness. It’s hard to imagine how much we can grow based on where we stand today, because we tend to think linearly. But like interest in a bank account compounds, so do personal decisions and results – but only if we’re courageous enough to commit to our goals even when we don’t see outcomes right away.” 


Fall in Love With Your Why 


One of Steinberg’s secrets to completing ultra-endurance feats is connecting to a purpose greater than himself. Instead of pushing himself ahead, Steinberg says he “connects to a purpose that pulls him forward.” For his Pacific row, that mission was inspiring others to believe in themselves, raising scholarship funds, and supporting ocean conservation. Instead of solving for discipline or motivation, solve for purpose – and then motivation will naturally grow. As Steinberg says, “if you don’t love what you do, fall in love with why you do it.” 


Contact: TezTalk.com | UnitedWorldChallenge.org

Instagram: @tezsteinberg




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