what do you think you can do for me?

“give a man a fish, and you feed him for one day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
~ anne isabella ritchie ~

the title of this post is the theme of a message I received from a prospective mentoring client, who also went on to say:

“I want to live life to the fullest but I’m scared of letting go”

it is usually the case, these days at least, that people, things and events crop up at exactly the right time. this is no exception. you see, while I have been processing the great achievement of crossing Australia on foot, I have also been searching for the purpose. why I did it, what the point was, how it has changed me and where things go from here.

this is reflected with amazing (and slightly disturbing) accuracy in the remainder of this prospective client’s questions:

Why did you decide to walk across Australia?

What did you leave behind?

What did you learn from the experience?

Can you remove fear from your life?

Can we stay “tapped into” that inspirational place where everything makes sense?

What’s important to you in your life?

Why did you go public with the things you wanted to do?

before I provide answers to these questions (and more), I think it is fair to say that today is something of a turning point; in the past I have touched on non-running subjects, I have written personal pieces, and I have alluded to desires to “do good in the world”. today, I believe, I am stepping up to a new start line. Taking the initial steps on the next leg of my personal journey and life purpose, bringing those aspects of my writing and my work onto the main stage…

Why did you decide to walk across Australia?

the starting point of this decision was simple, I wanted to prove that you can go from being an obese, unfit, unhealthy, unhappy, negative-minded, bitter, sarcastic smoking and drinking “mr ordinary” to achieving something big and extraordinary.

fact is I probably wanted to prove it to myself, maybe I wasn’t completely convinced by the marathon, or maybe the marathon gave me just enough confidence and passion to take the next step…

however it played out, there is an underlying reality that has nothing to do with running and fitness at all, although becoming healthier & fitter and becoming a runner gave me a foundation, tools and confidence to dare to allow that idea into the sunlight. the idea that i was born to do something special, big, extraordinary. not just a foot crossing of Australia, and (contrary to what some may think) that comes from a non-ego place within me.

I decided to walk across Australia, when all is said and done, because it was the next leg of my personal journey, I was inspired to do it, and once the seed was planted there were “signs” and synchronicities that encouraged me to go down that path, step by step (literally!)

What did you leave behind?

in all honesty I think the answer to this is still revealing itself to me. in a literal sense I left behind a job (voluntary redundancy), my 6 year old son, my friends, my everyday life. in a more abstract way, I left behind my comfort zone, familiarity, established routines, a sense of “safety” and remnants of my old external self that were still clinging after the life-changing experience of completing a marathon.

What did you learn from the experience?

there are so many things, and again I think many are still revealing themselves. I learned that an idea can be put out there, the vision held onto with faith, along with belief and a burning passion, and as long as you’re open to the opportunities to take action towards that vision, amazing things will happen.

i learned that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought. I learned that nothing significant is achieved alone, that it requires teamwork, collaboration, gratitude, an approach based on the idea of serving rather than taking, and that there truly are forces at work in the universe that we cannot control, but which will come in to help and guide as long as willing to allow.

Can you remove fear from your life?

honestly, I don’t know. I think that fear exists at the edge of every comfort zone, and so until your current comfort zone is infinite, there is always a step beyond its limits where fear exists.

you can, however, reduce the impact fear has on you, establish a habit of feeling the fear, facing the fear, stepping through the fear, and experiencing personal growth every time you do so.

we should not have a fear of fear, it is an ally in that it helps us to know when we are growing, or about to grow. it lets us know when we are about to break through a comfort zone.

on that basis, I don’t think we actually need to remove fear from our lives, just minimise and find the silver lining in it.

Can we stay “tapped into” that inspirational place where everything makes sense?

again, I don’t know, I think life is always going to come along with something that drags us down, pulls us away, and attempts to trick us to return to the world of worry, anxiety, stress, pain and lack of fulfilment.

with practice, and wth increased faith, we can return to that place more easily and more often. we also acquire tools and the ability to stay there longer each time.

logically it would seem that there may be a “tipping point” where you would simply remain in that place. I can’t say for sure, all I can tell you is that I am certainly not there yet….

What’s important to you in your life?

I think, ultimately, that everyone’s answer to this is identical. give any answer to this and then keep asking “why?” and drilling down, eventually you come to the principal notions of happiness, fulfilment and love.

what is important to me is that I achieve these things through doing something impactful and meaningful, through “doing good in the world”, by inspiring change in the world at large.

it is also starting to be important to me that I tend to my own needs first, not in a selfish manner, but so that I can live my own truth, be an example of these ideas and, as the quote by Gandhi goes, “be the change you wish to see in the world”.

at a more mundane level, it is important to me that my personal and business lives are congruent and that I live my personal values in accordance with my own needs, in a way that makes the world a better place overall.

Why did you go public with the things you wanted to do?

in the first instance, and at a very practical level, I did it for accountability. because when I put things “out there”, I immediately make it harder for myself to backtrack. I have made a personal commitment to the idea of always doing what I say I will, so by saying things to a wider audience, I have a lot of individual commitments to honour.

these days that is just part of the picture, another aspect of making things public is the education and inspiration value of doing so. if I tried to just teach ideas and tools and principles, a few people might read them, act on them and get some value, however most will just dismiss the dry theory as not being for them. by putting things out there and showing the challenges and results, it becomes a living and breathing example to others, an ongoing case study. I am, in effect, my own guinea pig for the things that I most want to show people.

“what do you think you can do for me?”

so, to answer the overall theme of this essay, I offer nothing more than conversation, a buddy system, a sounding board and the benefits of my own experience. these are simply tools that you can make use of.

tools which, if you so desire, can be used to unearth your own dreams and meaning, to find your own “on button” and to provide pointers and assistance as you shift yourself from unconscious, automatic existence, into a life with meaning, purpose, fulfilment and spiritual enrichment.

what I can do for you is show you that you can, and must, help yourself.

 

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