On Friday morning I went to my first Business Chicks breakfast. Before I left home I was a little nervous about going by myself, but I had ended up having fabulous morning!
The speaker for the morning was Heather Swan. I hadn’t heard of Heather before but her bio sounded pretty awesome:
How many women do you know who’ve flown a wingsuit from the highest cliff in the world, scaled Himalayan Mountains, taken a hot air balloon ride to 38,000ft and flown across the Australian desert at over 400km per hour; in addition to giving birth to a baby at home, delivering a keynote speech to an audience of 8000, and cooking for a dinner party of 35?!
A world record-holding BASEjumper and author of ‘Defying Gravity, Defying Fear’, Heather says these and other very scary experiences have taught her a lot about fear. This is useful when the world is in the grip of a fear epidemic. Big fears, small fears, real, imagined, irrational or justified – it doesn’t matter. When fear is not managed properly the adverse psychological and physical effects can be devastating to our health, success and happiness. The good news is this is not inevitable. You can be afraid, but not overcome. You can understand fear without being limited by it. You can be free to be the best you can be.
Heather’s approach is not exactly conventional or common, but even those of us who may never want to climb a mountain or jump off a cliff can learn a lot from her approach and her ‘can do’ attitude.
However, before Heather spoke we heard from a first year uni student that credited Kids Helpline for still being alive. Childhood familial abuse had caused her to consider taking her own life only 18 months previously. It was a confronting, but inspirational story. While I had of course heard of Kids Helpline before, I didn’t know the details of the services that they provide – I now know the amazing difference they make in children’s lives. It’s a very important charity for Business Chicks to support.
After breakfast Heather Swan regaled us with her story of how, as an ordinary 40 something mother with no background in adventure (or even fitness), she became a dual World Record Holding extreme sports woman. The footage shown throughout Heather’s talk was amazing and you can check some of it out here.
Not only does Heather tell a great story, but she just comes across as a really likeable person. I’m currently reading her recent book No Ceiling, which I also thoroughly recommend.
The big take home message from Heather’s presentation and book is – never let fear stop you from living your dreams. I’m fearful about many things – swing bridges, skiing, heights, looking dumb, embarrassing myself – the list goes on! But the last couple of weeks my eyes have kept on settling on a card I got from Lululemon , which among other things says –do one thing a day that scares you.
I know being fearful holds me back from lots of things that I may enjoy, in fact could even become lifelong passions. I’m going to work at pushing myself beyond the fear and follow my bliss.
You begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss and they open the doors for you. I say follow your bliss and don’t be afraid and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.
- Joseph Campbell
I would also recommend that you keep an eye on the Business Chicks website and perhaps even think of gifting someone (or yourself) a membership. I’m looking forward to seeing the line up of speakers for 2011.
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