Sitting here, off-grid in the world’s oldest rainforest Daintree, we are halfway through 2020. Returning back to where I was raised as a kid these past three months has reinforced the lessons and values learnt through approaching life head-on this past decade. To experience poverty, climate change, violence and inequality around the world is not a comfortable experience, but important to be relevant in how we are approaching these pressing realities. Over the course of recent years especially, many perspective shifts have taken place that push me to become less arrogant, and more inclusive as a leader. To listen instead of waiting to respond.
Returning to the wilderness time and time again has checked my entitlement and convenience. Stripping me back to basics of working with your body, having to earn something, instead of it just being given. Bound to the laws of gravity, the elements, and sometimes not knowing what to do. I remember getting lost in the rainforest more than once as a kid. Being scared and uncertain. Through facing fear and dealing with situations at hand, instead of running away into distraction, I have slowly learnt the power of personal resilience. The art of not blaming others or finding a quick fix. But rather owning it, committing to change, and dealing with things in the moment.
These humbling processes have come up time and time again. Whether skiing two months to the South Pole, making the wrong decision in business, truly facing raw personal insecurities, or feeling my mouth go dry before presenting to 1,000’s of people on stage. Being made to feel like a very small fish in a vast ocean. Holding space in -40 ice conditions, screaming winds in the mountains, and stressful situations underwater have empowered me to keep control, lean on your team, and not panic. Such threshold moments make me feel small and very human in being comfortable experiencing vulnerability.
Drawing on these expanding moments past and present, there remains an unwavering responsibility to leave places better than I found them, to regenerate. Whether showing up for people in need, giving full focus in a meeting, tending to a garden, or not walking past trash on a beach, there are always ways to be of help. Converting fear and anxiety into opportunity is a huge thread within this spirit of service- reframing problems and checking one’s attitude constantly.
Taking personal responsibility for both the broader impact of my adventures inspired me to start a charity, ClimateForce limited. The mission is to empower businesses, students, and everyday citizens with sustainable development strategies and hacks. Centralizing around reducing CO2 and regenerating the land and ocean. It can feel like the future does not look bright at times, but we have control showing up for today with light and gratitude. Surely that is better than feeding more fear. Never underestimate the individual. Billions of small fish are more powerful than a few hundred sharks. Swim on friends.