This week I share with you how our amazing Little Champions and the message of ‘The 3 Levels of Focus’ helps me get across the line with my personal challenges as a beginner paddler (one year on the water) as I prepare for a 111km overnight paddling adventure.

06-02 Sensei SnapperOur Sensei Snapper message for our Little Champions Program this week was all about the ‘3 Levels of Focus (Focus your eyes, your mind and your body).’  I hope that our Little Champions had fun exploring this theme at the dojo and expanding their minds, as I know it was the perfect theme for me this week as I entered my final weeks of preparation for my 111km overnight paddle.

“Hocus Pocus, EVERYBODY FOCUS!”  If you were at the dojo this week you may have heard our amazing Little Champions yell this short riddle at the top of their voices throughout classes.  Although I didn’t paddle down the river screaming this riddle out loud, it was in my mind.

The toughest part of the week was listening to that negative voice (let’s call him the ‘Smile Thief’) that sits on your shoulder and wants to tell you how life is and how there is no way that you will ever be able to achieve your goals.  My little Smile Thief seemed to grow bigger and louder throughout the week but I had some magic flowing through my mind thanks to our Little Champions, “Hocus Pocus, EVERYBODY FOCUS!

DSC_0120Check out these smiles on our amazing Little Champions.

After 24 years of karate, I have learned:

  • to be grateful for the Smile Thief being present in my life as he highlights the things that I fear most.  These are the things that elevate me to greater heights more quickly than anything else.  It is these things that I need to prioritise and do more of in my day.
  • the louder the Smile Thief gets in your life, it is usually an indication that you are on track and you are getting closer to reaching your destination. So, get excited and focus!!!
  • there is only one way to move forward and that is to confront your fears, one step at a time.  In your own time for as long as you are moving forward you will get there.

Back to the water, it is time to paddle 35km…..

I was ready, I was focused and….. I soon learned that I was going to have the tide against me for most of the way. “Hocus Pocus, EVERYBODY FOCUS!”  I made a deliberate decision that if I could complete this 35km (mostly against the tide) it will give me a confidence boost going into the 111km paddle where I’d have to be against the tide for around 5 hours.

My food storage on board wasn’t going all that well.  My perfectly rounded rice balls had all been flattened like pancakes as they got jammed between the ski and my leg.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.   On the good side, they still tasted like rice balls and I could reach them.  I won’t tell you about my drinking system and other challenges, but let’s just say the more determined I was to complete my 35km the more challenges presented themselves.

Although I endured some tough moments on the water there was also many magic moments too.  One section of the river seen that I was welcomed with a light shower that reminded me of my wedding day and the most magnificent rainbow.

This is not the rainbow from the paddle bit it was very similar as I ventured through Bli Bli

I paddled past two of our ex-karate students, Evie and Rueben.  They were in their early primary school years when I first taught them karate, and now they are young adults and out rowing on the Maroochy River at 5:30am. How nice it was to see a familiar face to share a smile with along the way.

The further I went the harder it was on my body, yet I found my mind had found a place of no point of return.  I was going to finish no matter how long it took.  When I took a look at Martin’s fancy technology gadgets, I focused on the one thing that I had control over and that was my effort.  I was monitoring my heart rate (average %) along with some other things.  I had no control over the tide being against me (and my snail like speed), but I could control my effort.  For as long as I kept my effort in my desired range consistently I knew that I would eventually and in my own time complete my 35km.

DSC_0028If only I could paddle like Sami.  It would do wonders for my numb butt.

After what seemed like a whole day on the water, I did finish the 35km. And I must say that through the eyes of a beginner paddler it was a great victory.  In the last part of my paddle, the pain melted away as I focused on a rather tall person standing at the waters edge.  It was Martin waiting for me to wrap up for the morning.  At least the pain was absent until I started to try and get our of my ski.  It may not have been a pretty sight, but it was some good entertainment for Martin.

I have no doubt that the ‘Smile Thief’ may return as I follow through with my 111km overnight paddling adventure. In accepting this adventure I knew that I would be dealing with a number of fears simultaneously but I figure there is no time like the present to tackle these fears head on before they amplify themselves any further.  As mentioned above, the Smile Thief only grows more loud when I’m closing in on a personal victory so it really isn’t anything to worry about.  I simply need to direct and focus myself and keep moving forward.

A Quote for today:  “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~ Unknown

DSC_0009Sami and Steven helping me confront my fears whilst keeping it fun. 

F-E-A-R has two meanings:
1.  Forget Everything And Run
2.  Face Everything And Rise
~Unknown