I was so inspired this morning to read Marelisa’s most recent post over at her Abundance blog. Marelisa tells the story of Roz Savage, a woman who seemingly had it all but left a charmed life to create a life of adventure. Roz completed an extreme rowing challenge, coming in last in the 2005 Atlantic Rowing Challenge [the same year as Hurricane Katrina, a record year for tropical storms in the Atlantic]. Now if that sounds like a failure to you, don’t take it that way at all – Roz rowed for 103 days and faced many challenges alone at sea. How many of us can say we faced our fears, jumped in head first, and completed the enormous task that we set out to meet?
Roz’s story really inspired me for a few reasons: she is attempting to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean [starting in San Francisco and ending in Australia, she will have rowed over 8,000 miles cumulatively, made over 3 million oar strokes, and spent over 312 days alone at sea on a 23 ft. rowboat]; she left an idyllic, seeming perfect life and followed her heart to live an extraordinary life; but mostly because she changed the story in her head from one of limitation to one of empowerment.
She could’ve continued to tell herself, “I’m a professional married woman, with money, possessions and a charmed life. Women like me don’t have adventures. Adventurers are muscular guys with beards.” For 11 years she conformed to society’s definition of success: after earning a degree from Oxford, getting married and buying a house in a fashionable London suburb, Roz worked as a management consultant. She said that she knew from day one that this wasn’t the life for her, but social conditioning kept her in place. She wasn’t happy, and try as she might to fill the void, nothing worked. Until she started telling herself a new story.
Roz started asking herself what her purpose was, instead of just relying on what she was ‘supposed’ to do. She started dreaming about what life would be like if she actually lived her dream of adventure, instead of living someone else’s dream.
What We Can Learn From Roz
The biggest lesson I take away this morning is to listen to your dreams. No matter what you have or who you think you are, if you’re not happy then the pieces of your life will not fit together. It all starts at the center and from there, your happiness radiates outward. But you have to take the time to stop and listen to your heart. Then, feel the fear of moving out of your comfort zone and do it anyway with courage and determination.
There are so many of us, walking around, conforming to the 9-to-5, 2-kids-and-a-dog prescription that don’t really want that. I’m not suggesting you quit your job, get a divorce, sell your house and row across the Atlantic like Roz did, but I am encouraging you to follow your dreams no matter how impossible they may seem to you. Telling yourself that they’re impossible is all a part of the old story in your head that you need to change in order to be happy. No one can monitor your thoughts and you can honestly tell yourself whatever you want. A belief is only a thought that you think over and over again, and you are the only person in control of your beliefs. To change your beliefs and make them work for you, change your old story to a new one every time you have an opportunity.
For example, the old belief I’m changing regarding my relationship with money is that ‘I’m not good with money”. This belief emerges every time I plan to spend or save money. I’ll look at a goal, think about how much I have to save, and my automatic reaction is, “but I’m not good with money”. Every single time this happens, I immediately stop and ask myself where’s the evidence that proves this is true? Why do I keep referring to events that happened in the past? What’s true for me today, right now? And then I remind myself that I am good with money, because I say I am. The more I do this, the more I believe it and my confidence with money matters grows and grows. I no longer feel the same tension with money that I used to, and I know that one day I won’t feel anything at all except ease and abundance.
So what story are you telling in your head? Maybe you can affect change in your life, by beginning to tell a new story of how you want things to be, instead of how they appear right now. I’ll leave you with a quote from Roz, to inspire you to do the mental work of telling yourself a new story:
“The bigger the challenge, the bigger the sense of achievement when you get to the end of it.” ~ Roz Savage