06 Feb LISTEN TO THE WHISPER
So I’ve got this speaking gig coming up at the Pursue Your Passion conference in Bryon Bay Saturday week, February 18. And I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to say.
One of my main qualifications for this gig is my 2011 round Australia road trip, which I documented in the book Surfari (Random House, 2011). This was the realisation of a teenage dream I’d harboured for years and then forgotten all about as career, family, mortgage and the myriad pressures of modern life took hold. That dream re-surfaced in my mid-40s when my then 5-year-old son Alex produced this drawing.
“That’s you and me surfing dad,” he explained gleefully. I especially like the way we have extra large hands for paddling.
It triggered something in me – I could imagine no more blissful reality than spending long leisurely days surfing with my offspring. Whatever happened to that round Australia road trip? I pitched the idea to my wife and kids and they greeted it enthusiastically. But there were several impediments to this far-fetched dream. We didn’t own a four-wheel drive. We didn’t own a caravan. I didn’t know how I’d support a family for a year on the road. I’d just found regular employment with Surfing World magazine and its associated Coastalwatch website.
In the most uncanny alignment of planets, I set about hurdling each of these obstacles in succession. I put together a proposal and asked several large organisations to support my dream. Remarkably they all said yes. Jayco loaned us a van, Toyota came through with a 4WD and even threw in a fuel card, my publishers at Random House said yes to my proposed book on the journey and came up with a tidy advance, and my new employers said they were happy for me to work on the road for the year.
This is still the most remarkable experience I have ever had of manifesting a dream and, despite the many challenges it tossed up, still counts as one of the most magical periods of my life. And so I’ve been reflecting on how it became a reality and what tools I used to realise the dream. Here are a few quick rough notes I’ve come up with. If it piques your interest and you would like to hear more please try and come along on the day.
– Self-belief – If you are waiting for some sort of external authority to come along and give you validation that you are worthy to achieve your dreams you will be waiting a very long time. That validation has to come from within. You have to believe in your dream before you can expect anyone else to – and that self-belief will emanate to all you come in contact with. I have come up against this again and again in my working life and I think the great gift of the internet is that in many creative forms you no longer need that over-arching authority to grant you approval – there are no barriers to publishing, presenting your art, reaching an audience. If you want others to respect your work, art form, dream, vision, you need to treat it with respect – it has to start with you.
– Visualisation – I think this is really key. You have to be able to visual what it is you are wanting to achieve, pursue, make manifest, in as much detail as possible. Be specific, down to seemingly trivial details. When I was pitching to sponsors for my round-Australia surf trip, Surfari, I paid a designer to produce a mock book cover so the book project became real and potential sponsors could see it and visual it for themselves.
– Meditation – This is closely alligned with visualisation, but if you don’t yet have a vision of exactly what you want to achieve, mediation is a great tool to help develop one. There are plenty of tools, courses, apps, podcasts, available to help you develop a meditation practice and when sitting in meditation see what arises. If you can tune in and listen to your own intuition, instincts or inner voice (whatever you choose to call it) and pay more attention to that than the cacophany of noise from the outside world bombarding you with messages of what you should be doing, you are well on your way. It is difficult though – it is like trying to listen to someone whisper in your ear when someone else in the room is shouting. Listen to the whisper.