I was Born in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1968. At the age of 3, I was very fortunate to have a father who came home and announced that we were selling up the family house, leaving behind his successful career and travelling around Australia, as a family, until we worked out where we wanted to live and what we wanted to do. He wanted us to see our own country first before moving onto the rest of the world.
So after taking care of the details, my Mum, Dad and 5 year older sister Di climbed into the front of our single cabin, blue Dodge truck, with Caravan in tow and headed off around Australia. It took us over 2 years, whilst my memories are few, it was 2 of the most formative years of my life.
We started by heading only a couple of hundred kilometers up the road and settling in for a few weeks of grape picking. When we were done there, when the moment felt right and mum and dad had done what they were there to do, we moved on. This became the routine, all the way up the east coast of Australia and across to the Northern Territory, over to Western Australia and down the west coast and then eventually back across the bottom, through South Australia, to Victoria.
From town to town, mum and dad did what it took (fixed, cooked, cleaned, repaired) to make ends meet and whatever felt right, lots of play and adventures and lots of real world education for Di and myself.
We swam with crocodiles, played in Aboriginal settlements, hunted and fished for dinner, climbed the largest rock in the world and visited every corner of Australia. We were free and we did it as a family. We were living life with nothing but our imaginations and a few needs, guiding the way.
Often, when we were stopped on the side of the road, hundreds of Km’s from the nearest civilization, My Dad would take Di and myself out into the bush and lead us on a merry waltz, until it was almost impossible to remember our way back and then, taking turns, he would look to either of us to find the way back. We had to get home from a combination of memory and instinct. When I think of it now, it gives me goose-bumps to realize he was preparing us for the game of life. How to find your way home, to the seat of your soul, with a few vague memories and pure instinct. Thank you Dad!
To cut a long but memorable and adventurous story short, we eventually settled on the Gold Coast, the stunning, but small at that stage, east coast holiday destination, for a lot of Australians and indeed international visitors. We lived on a diet of Sun, Sand and Seafood. We were living in paradise and once again learning way more than meets the eye. For starters I never knew of a bigger priority than enjoying myself and that included sharing with people from all over the world, another major lesson in life.
I eventually found the sport of Ocean Ironman racing through being a Nipper (a junior Surf Life Saver). I was 8 years old when I started but, true to form, life’s training continued with wonder. I learned, firstly how to be of assistance to others, to save lives, help someone when they got a little out of their depth, and bring them back safely to terra firma.
I am sure you can see the parallels’ to life in general, because it wasn’t til I became proficient myself, at swimming out through the crashing breakers and riding wholeheartedly back in, that I realized, most of us are petrified of taking our feet off the ground and going with the flow. The breakers of life and the rips and currents, all play a part in either setting us free or having us live in fear.
Not only did I have to take my feet off the ground every day, to keep up with my peers, I also had to, to save others lives and had to become, paradoxically, a master at letting go to be able to navigate the energy of competition, waves and currents to become known as a master of Ironman racing.
Funny, through all of my professional career, it was more about having fun, letting go and relaxing in the moment than it was about being tough. Sure, there was hard work, but the best and most remembered wins felt like, what I call, effortless effort and there was always an element of having to let go. Even when perceived failure stared me in the eyes, handling things exactly as they were in that moment was the only thing that every opened back up the possibility of succeeding. I realized – The possibility of success and failure co-exist in every moment. Through our actions or in-actions we, often unknowingly, invite one of them to waltz through the door and take up residence. Life’s lessons kept coming and for many of them I had sport to thank.
Funnily enough though, whilst there were those varying motivational factors, such as success or failure, the biggest driving force was that I simply felt good when I wasn’t operating under any limitations of how fast I could go or how big I could go out in, I loved pushing the limits. I loved flying along effortlessly, it felt like I was constantly riding a wave, even on my way back out to sea. I felt free. It felt like home.
It was the freedom that drove me, the competitive results were all in a days work – A day of playing, making ends meet and doing what felt right at the time that it felt right. Once again, thanks Mum and Dad!
By this time, having had a few big sporting wins and creating a pretty full life, I had the help of many others and had so many to thank, including two major relationship partners, children, coaches, friends, family, sponsors and club mates.
Now, at that point, I didn’t have a problem with letting my feet be swept off the ground, it was more a problem with putting my feet back on the ground. I had become well and truly engrossed in my own story and, for starters, couldn’t see it for the life of me. I had a very healthy (oxymoron coming here) case of ego. It lead to broken relationships, busted finances, injuries, illness and life giving me a few swift kicks up the bum. The second half of my life’s book was about to be written, as I took an inward journey to attempt to understand what I was missing, where had I gone wrong, who was I really?
This search lead me to some wonderful people who long before, asked themselves that same question, and had managed to get some pretty good answers. I was on the road to understanding the inner me and leaving the outer me to come right in the process. I came to free out a lot of stuff and have a much more heartfelt understanding for the gift of life and our role within it. It took some painful honesty and searching and a lot of aha moments. Eventually though, I came out the other side, I had a sense of who I really was. Life became fun again, this time with more love and more ability and more clarity. Life was all of a sudden like riding a wave again.
I loved what I found so much that I wanted to help others more than I wanted to continue my own external pursuits, helping had become my external pursuit, as such. After many, many stories and much inner searching, with the help of a few very determined friends and family and quite a few wonderful realizations down the track I had realized it was time to bring both stanzas together, to marry the inner me and the outer me together and to get on with living life fully.
It started with simple things, just setting relationships right, telling the truth, following things through. Then it grew into following my intuition as passionately as I had when I was traversing the wave area on the world sporting stage, only this time it was the crashing breakers of personal and professional relationships. Then I started creating business out of being there for someone else to come through that process and become more them-self.
I had a new lease on life again and decided to create every action in my life from love, authenticity, intuition and a desire to play my part in life’s bigger unfolding. Since that moment, I have not looked back, whilst still challenged, usually daily, I am driven by living life fully and helping others do the same. I have come to understand lots of wonderful things about life and I can’t think of anything better than sharing them but above all else,
I want to play my part in letting everyone else know, if they don’t already, that they have all of the love, inspiration, answers and truth they need, inside of themselves and with the occasional pointer from another, we don’t have to take eons to find it. We are all here for far more than we have previously allowed and the only limit is truly our imagination. Ultimately my wish is that we let the games peacefully come to an end and let the love and truth shine through and may we all enjoy playing our part.