In the last weeks of my twenties, I can honesty testify that I thought nothing needed to change. I was a happy Tomboy, chasing dreams and living life as I had always done – a car cruising along the highway on automatic pilot. However, as I turned the corner into my thirties, I suddenly felt like I was confronted with an enormous junction, a confusion of dead-ends, back roads, and stop signs. It was overwhelming and I was afraid to look back to where I had come from for fear of what I may see. At the end of 2016, I wrote a reflection of this experience titled Planting My Feet. This piece was a very personal account of the journey I went on after I turned 30 and how I navigated this crossroads, discussing how I began working on ‘self’ to find greater purpose in my relationships, sport and career. As I moved into 2017, my greatest intention, call it a new year’s resolution if you must, was to consolidate the positive experiences and hard work of 2016. I think I can honestly say that I have done so, and here is what I have learnt from this wild ride of the year just gone:
My greatest fear is failure:
Two years of internal work, exploring the actions of my past to enhance future experiences, has led me to understand that I have a massive fear of failure. Most surprisingly, learning to rock climb this year has highlighted this to me. Fingers and toes delicately holding onto a sheer wall, the land far below, this exposure brings up many emotions but a fear of heights or falling is not one of them. No, I simply have a fear of not making it to the top. To me, this would mean failure and in these moments fear squeals at me in a higher pitched, feminine voice – ‘Don’t fail!’. As I began to realise this, I began to look at other areas of my life. Sport, business, writing, academia – ‘Don’t fail!’. Here I pause. Please do not get me wrong, I am not competing with you. No, this is an internal competition with myself, a fear that I will not succeed with the challenge I have set myself.
What has helped me to overcome this fear of failure has been to rewrite my definition of success, which has slowly become to ‘seek craftsmanship and strive for beauty’. And my modality for achieving this is, ‘be wilder, to play wilder, to perform wilder’. Gone are my days of butchering onwards, thinking more is better and rushing for outcomes. I now strive to find ways to feel more beautiful in my intentions, so that I experience more joy in my actions, so that I can, in turn, strive for mastery in the outcomes I aspire for. I believe that this has to be the order of priorities… Be, Play, Perform.
2. Ego is the elephant in my room: After turning thirty, I spent twelve-months working with a performance psychologist. After a few sessions, he suggested that there was an elephant in the room with us. I knew he was right. I could feel the beast lurking in the corner, poking me occasionally with his trunk and occasionally stomping on my toes. This year I have finally come to identify him by name and to bring him out of the shadows. Everyone, meet Ego! For the most part, Ego likes to take long naps and doesn’t bother me. However, when the high-pitched, feminine Fear squeals, ‘Don’t fail!’, the dominating, male presence of Ego the Elephant heffalumps to my rescue. ‘Just do more. Train more. Work harder. Try more. Say yes! Don’t say no!’ And so the tug-of-war starts, feminine Fear on one side and Ego the elephant on the other. Until we all get so damn tired that we put down the rope, call truce, and make a cup of tea.
3. Honest ends the tug-of-war Honesty is, and has always been, one of my strongest values but I actually didn’t realize its quieter, positive influence in how I live my daily life. Whilst I find it easy to be honest with others, this year I have come to truly understand that I am the best version of Me when I am truthful with Hanny. This is because it halts the tug-of-war between Ego the Elephant and my feminine Fear.
It is definitely easy to drift from the truth, sometimes slightly and other times wildly. This usually happens when Ego is winning the war and I find myself saying to myself, ‘She’ll be right…’ The most frequent example of this is when my body is pleading with me to be kind to it and instead Ego encourages me to battle on through. This has resulted in a few injuries, such as currently with my Achilles. Sometimes I find that the truth feels shameful, like realizing you are not as strong as you thought you were. And it can be uncomfortable, like admitting you were wrong in your judgment. Other times I find the truth confusing, especially in relationships. And sometimes, like when you stand alone on a remote peak, it is wildly exciting. What I have discovered, using wilder adventures and business as a method of discovery, is that to live truthfully is to live in the NOW. When I am in the moment, not thinking about my past or future, I am being honest with myself and finding positive outcomes. When I am in the NOW, there is little room for Ego who is forced to return to his corner, trunk between his legs. And amazingly, as he does, fear abates too.
2017 was beautiful, albeit busy. The highlights have definitely been:
Standing on a patch of white sand pledging to remain by my best friend till death do us part;
Overcoming a trepidation of the vast unknown to traverse the South Coast Track of Tasmania on the eve of my 31st birthday;
Guiding a group through the Overland Track on a 65km wild adventure in wooly Tasmanian weather;
Crossing the finish line at the Ultra Trail Australia 100km and feeling a rich sense of completion;
Completing my first, large solo, remote adventure on a trail run to Frenchman’s Cap in Tasmania;
Beginning the vertical journey in the sport of rock climbing;
Seeing Find Your Feet continue to succeed my expectations and in doing so, foster a wilder community around Australia;
With the new year now upon us, my intentions for 2018 are to:
Live more in the NOW;
Practice more gratitude;
Nurture my body with wholefoods and appropriate exercise;
And to seek craftsmanship when I ‘Dare to Play Wilder’.
I hope that you are also looking forward to a wholehearted year ahead! May it be the ride that you wish for.
I really appreciate all your continued support. If you haven't already done so, please check out: