A few days ago I received the unofficial attendee list for the TED Mission Blue conference, where I am due to speak next month. As my eyes panned down the list my jaw hit the floor. My hair stood on end. My heart pounded and my butterflies fluttered. And my mouth expanded into a huge giddy grin of amazed disbelief.
This was the A list. Big time.
They and I will be part of a select gathering of 100 people on board a ship for 4 days together. There is every chance I will get to speak with amazingly famous people – or at the very least present in front of them for my own 18 minutes of fame. I was gobsmacked, terrified, and exhilarated, all at once.
Unfortunately I am not at liberty to divulge any of the names. To followers of my Tweets, the biggest name on the list – a major Hollywood star – is now known as “Insert Name”.
Whether or not Insert Name turns up (and I’ll believe it only when I see it), the implications of this are considerably further-reaching than just a one-off event in the Galapagos. I realised that I am moving into the Big League. So I’d better grow up fast and get used to it. This presentation had better be darned good – but more than that, it was time for me to revisit my vision of the future. I had outgrown my current vision.
6 years ago, when I decided to row the Atlantic (and yes, I knew even then that the Pacific was the likely encore) I had a very detailed mental image of how it would pan out: how I would spend my time, what I would do with the attention around my adventures, what I wanted to say, and who I wanted to be and who I wanted to associate with.
Last year on the ocean, one night as I lay out on the deck of my boat when it was too stuffy to sleep inside the cabin, I gazed up at the stars and thought back over the last few years of my life, and realised it had all come true. When I first had that vision, I had no idea how I was going to get from the life I had then to the life I wanted to have. But somehow, little by little, I had consistently taken step after baby step in the right direction, and now here I was, exactly where I had dreamed of being.
So now it is time to figure out where I want to go next. Aspire, achieve, advance. The achievement is not the end – it is just the stepping stone on to the next, bigger and better achievement.
This weekend I went for a couple of long walks to think about it all, and have started to evolve a vision for the next phase of my life. It needs work yet, but I’ve got a 100-day thinking opportunity coming right up, so I’ll have plenty of time to refine it and flesh it out until it exists as a vividly real future reality in my imagination. If you can dream it, you can be it. The subconscious can’t tell the difference between something that really happened and something you imagined, which is why visualisation works so well. Success feels as real as if it has already happened.
For more on this, here’s a blog I wrote from the ocean last summer that mentions my obituary exercise, which led directly to my vision of my future as I wanted it to be.
Meanwhile, I’m busy trying to figure out how to impress the socks off this prestigious and influential audience – and how to lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks. For some reason my visualisations of a skinnier me don’t help much when my stomach starts rumbling. Hey, I’m only human!