Layne Beachley’s talk at Newcastle Uni tonight came at just the right moment for me. All week I have been swallowed by my worst tendencies – timidity, self-doubt, defeatism. I asked "What if I’m not good enough?" and "how can I know this is what I really want?".
And then Ms Beachley came along (she’s so tiny!) to teach me a lesson.
Layne decided she wanted to be a pro surfer when she was 16 years old and for the next decade she fought through injury, personal tragedy and fierce opposition to get there.
As Layne spoke I started thinking about what I really want in life. I want to travel, to meet people, to keep learning, to keep growing in myself. I don’t want to give in to those tendencies listed above, because I will miss out on so much. Success to me has to be the ability to keep learning all throughout life. To never get so set in your ways that you stop listening, stop changing and growing.
For this reason I am going to fight to get ahead in journalism.
I was speaking to hubby earlier about whether journalism is really the right thing for me – and if it isn’t, why should I work so hard to try and get there? He gave me the answer, but Layne solidified it in my mind.
Who cares about the destination? It isn’t important. What is important is the journey – the learning and the growing. I’ve met and gotten to know some fascinating people through the few steps I have taken so far in journalism. I’ve stepped into opportunities, like the iLead program, and Community Connections, that I never would have had the self-confidence to do, had I not had the goal of personal growth through journalism.
I’m becoming a better person. And it is worth fighting for.
I have this issue that if I am not the best (amongst my peers, at least) at something, I will want to give it up. This is very problematic for me, as I am constantly fighting the urge to hide under my bed and never bother with anything. That’s me worrying about the destination. "Why bother?" I ask.
"Because what you are doing now is making a difference in the world," Layne would probably say. It is making a difference to the person I am, and to those around me.
I want to be a leader. I want to develop the qualities that I admire in other people. Journalism, at least the kind I am doing at the moment, is a step in that direction.
Layne thinks it is imperative that you step out of your comfort zone before you will grow or learn, and of course I agree. It scares me so much to face rejection, but it is the determination and discipline that rejection will hone that will be the marker of my success.
So, in honour of Layne Beachley, a woman who has faced enormous challenges and won for the sake of what she believes in (women’s surfing) and who she cares about, I am going to go out into the world and get my arse kicked. Because it is this journey that will be my success. I will look back on my life and know that I have lived, and I have learnt, and I can be an example for my children and for the young women around me who face these same issues.