Rolleston, Christchurch, New Zealand
Last year Phil Keoghan, a New Zealander who now works as a TV presenter in the US, did a nice little feature about a certain female solo ocean rower (click here to watch it on YouTube). He and I have stayed in touch ever since, particularly regarding a pet project of his to make a TV piece about the North Pacific Garbage Patch, a pet topic of mine.

So when he heard I was coming to New Zealand, he suggested I drop in on his parents. They run a small but very lovely B&B outside of Christchurch.

I arrived here yesterday after a meeting in Christchurch with Renzie Hanham, a sporting coach who focuses primarily on the mindset needed for success. His company, Gazing Performance, helped me out with my preparations for the Atlantic and yesterday’s session was a useful refresher course.

There was a particularly useful exercise we did that I would like to share, in case it resonates with anybody reading this. I suppose you could call it a clash of priorities – but this clash is taking place within one person’s mind, and can lead to feelings of conflict and stress.

Do you ever feel like you are being held back from being all that you could be, and you can’t figure out why? It could be that you have another goal that clashes with the one you think you are trying to achieve.

An example that Renzie gave was of a very talented athlete who also had a strong desire to be liked. Anyone who is at the top of their field runs the risk of being DISliked, at least by their competitors, so she also had a conflict of desires that led to problems – and could even have led to her failing to reach her potential because she didn’t want to accept that we can’t necessarily be successful AND popular, all of the time.

And here is my example: I feel I should try to be perfect, yet one of my goals is to be at peace. NOBODY is perfect, so while I strive for perfection I can never be at peace. This may sound obvious, but for me it was a dazzling insight. I either need to accept that I will never be perfect – or face an ongoing tension over my imperfections.

Sometimes we need someone else to hold up a mirror so we can see where we’re going astray. Thanks, Renzie.

And thanks also to Beth and John Keoghan for their hospitality at the Garden View. Dinnner last night (corned beef and home-grown veg) was delicious – and all the better for being fresh from the garden.

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