Starting out: how to beat overwhelm

Some speakers reach out to you, in a way you could never expect.

Last night, Alexandra Andre shared her story with the Create the Life You Want Melbourne group. Her good friend Mads, was diagnosed with Myeloma – a rare blood cancer with no cure. He was 38 and with a young family.  Just before he passed away, Alexandra told him that she had booked to compete in the Melbourne Ironman; a 3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42km run – a mere 226km in total – and that she wanted to dedicate her race to him.

It’s tough losing a good friend to disease, and she was now choosing to take on one of the most demanding one day events in the world!

When Alexandra shared this with Mads, she couldn’t even run 10kms.  What was she thinking? :)

But you know the seriously funny thing about having a goal that has a purpose bigger than you?  You know you have nothing to lose, and that every step (literally in Alexandra’s case) will take you further from where you are right now.

Alexandra says as she trained, she had exhilarating days and ones at the other extreme, but what kept her going?  Her purpose.  Promising Mads and his family that she would finish meant she wasn’t racing just for her, but for a bigger cause – to raise money and awareness of the deadly blood C.

Yesterday I started my own Ironman event.

As those who have attended the Create the Life You Want events will know, 100% of ticket sales goes to educating kids in Ghana; but what comes before education – basic human needs.  Pre Alexandra’s talk, I viewed 67 videos of the kids at both the Abundant Grace School International and the Proud Academy School in Elmina, neither of which have toilets.  Let’s just say that the bush surrounding the schools is well fertilised. Having visited Ghana twice, I just think Snakes!!!!  Providing sanitation for the staff and students has become key and Proud Academy walks miles to get fresh water, so it’s time to bring the water to them.

This is a wee bit bigger than the pencils, equipment and uniforms that I saw myself providing for the next few years.  But, like Alex, you know the beauty of signing up for something bigger than you?  Fear takes a back seat.  Pride goes out the window, and momentum and action become the building blocks to create the path to what it is you are working towards.

My tips for beating overwhelm:

  • Be clear about your purpose. Crystal clear.
  • Take inspiration from those who have gone before you. What skills have they used to reach their own audacious goal?
  • Ask for support
  • Be open to new ideas, other thought processes and different perspectives, but never lose sight of your purpose and use it as a barometer to decide what propels you forward, and what you can let go of
  • Make a start. Where you are right now is the perfect starting line. Step up to the blocks and see where your run takes you.

Please don’t just watch this space.  Jump on board as my team makes shit happen in Ghana (literally) this year.  Let’s build toilets, let’s get water to the schools and let’s educate kids in a way we never would have expected even a day or so ago.

Alex said what kept her going with 10kms to go was the people cheering her on from the sidelines.  Support is key, and I thank you for yours as we make that small start.