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Off the Couch | Finding Your Impossible

02 August 2018

When it comes to impossible, I’ve learnt that the real limit is definitely not where your mind tells you it is. There is always significant margin on the other side of this ‘safe’ limit which is where the magic starts to happen. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to help audiences to Push Past Impossible – not anyone else’s impossible, but rather their own.

So where is that line between your mind’s end point and the real end point?

The space between those two lines is where you start to get a concept of how much more you are capable of. It’s not a comfortable space, it’s the definition of being outside your comfort zone – but that’s where you’re going to learn something.

Ice swimming, for me, has been a tool to learn these things. I think one reason people enjoy my story as a speaker is that I’m able to show them – first hand – that more is possible despite the odds. I’m an ordinary person, speaking to ordinary people. Together we draw parallels to daily life and slowly I witness eyes start to open wider and wider.

All the little impossibles that have shaped each and every one of us, are subconsciously there to govern the way we think and act. They keep us from achieving our full potential. Once you start challenging that, you take your first step on a journey of personal discovery. Do something that you think is impossible or unlikely to succeed – just something small – and you might even achieve it. And so it begins…

“We’re all shaped and guided by ‘little impossibles’. Those things you’ve been telling yourself are not for you, are too much of a risk, things you might want to do but don’t because they’re hard, or too much effort or simply quite terrifying. I want to encourage you to think about what yours could be and then challenge them.”

How does someone identify their impossibles?

I think people know what their impossibles are, deep down… The first step is to identify those moments where there’s a choice to make: you can follow this path because you know you can deliver a nice steady performance, learn nothing and achieve a reasonable goal. But at the same time there’s another potential path: a way to do something differently, or better. Why didn’t you choose that? Because it was a risk, and you thought you could fail. Once you start challenging things on a small level, you can keep growing.

A big question to ask yourself is: Are you setting goals you know you can achieve, or ones you’re not sure you can achieve?

How do you fit this kind of thinking and planning into real life?

One of the things I strive for is a little more structure in my life, because I know it’s not impossible! So I don’t sit down and think about pushing past impossible in a structured way. It’s just a different way of thinking and a different way of looking at barriers – in business, in family, in swimming. I do think it’s important to put yourself out there with people who are doing things you admire. You align with someone and they inspire you, and all of a sudden things that seemed impossible seem more possible.

Should you focus on one at a time, or a group of impossibles?

I’m not into radical change, because I don’t want to preach something I don’t do. I think change can be really effective if it’s just little steps.

I didn’t sit down and think: what do I think is impossible? It was just one step at a time: if you can do Robben Island, what about the English Channel? And on it goes. My next challenge is that people are suggesting I write a book. It seems impossible… is it really?

Where do you get the energy from?

It’s important to surround yourself with the right people to give you energy and motivation. If I train with someone not committed and not at the same level as me, I get complacent. It’s easy to say, “I’ve done enough.” You need to be strong yourself and draw on the strength of others. Becoming friends with people who do things in a different way has been so helpful – even if it’s not my personality, it’s shown me how not to take no for an answer, or shy away from things that seem too hard to do. Teamwork, make a plan, have a goal… That’s the essential trio.

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  • @seachangeproject #MyOctopusTeacher #Netflix #Conservation #oceanconservation #singleuseplastic #WWF #SASSI #sustainability #sustainablefishing #SeaChangeProject" > @seachangeproject #MyOctopusTeacher #Netflix #Conservation #oceanconservation #singleuseplastic #WWF #SASSI #sustainability #sustainablefishing #SeaChangeProject" />Can you watch The Octopus Teacher and still not want to do all you can to help protect our ocean and it's incredible, mysterious, peaceful tenants?This Documentary really touched me…I can't compare to Craig Foster, but I’ve been so blessed to swim with so many beautiful Ocean creatures – from mammoth whales and smaller ones too, countless playful dolphins, plenty cheeky seals, weird anti-social sunfish, penguins and yes, sharks too.I have even had yellowtail fish follow me for kilometres when I was swimming between continents, Europe to Africa’s Gibraltar Straits. They would inquisitively look directly into my goggles with their big round, penetrating eyes. When you share each other’s space in this way, something creeps into your core, into your soul and you’ll intuitively know you’ve been tasked by the creatures of the sea to help them. Follow -> @seachangeproject #MyOctopusTeacher #Netflix #Conservation #oceanconservation #singleuseplastic #WWF #SASSI #sustainability #sustainablefishing #SeaChangeProject
  • Laying down audio books today at @blackhole_studios with @chris_tait_saLaying down audio books today at @blackhole_studios with @chris_tait_sa
  • Another epic swim camp run by @bigbayevents in Langebaan 🤟🏻Another epic swim camp run by @bigbayevents in Langebaan 🤟🏻
  • When it comes to the prism of possibilities, I’ve learnt that the real limit or “IMPOSSIBLE” is definitely not where your mind tells you it is. There is always significant margin on the other side of this ‘safe’ limit which is where the magic starts to happen. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to help audiences to Push Past Impossible – not anyone else’s impossible, but rather their own.The space or MARGIN between those two lines is where you start to get a concept of how much more you are capable of. It’s not a comfortable space, it’s the definition of being outside your comfort zone – but that’s where you’re going to learn something.I think people know what their impossibles are, deep down… The first step is to identify those moments where there’s a choice to make: you can follow this path because you know you can deliver a nice steady performance, learn nothing and achieve a reasonable goal. But at the same time there’s another potential path: a way to do something differently, or better. Why didn’t you choose that? Because it was a risk, and you thought you could fail. Once you start challenging things on a small level, you can keep growing.When it comes to the prism of possibilities, I’ve learnt that the real limit or “IMPOSSIBLE” is definitely not where your mind tells you it is. There is always significant margin on the other side of this ‘safe’ limit which is where the magic starts to happen. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to help audiences to Push Past Impossible – not anyone else’s impossible, but rather their own.The space or MARGIN between those two lines is where you start to get a concept of how much more you are capable of. It’s not a comfortable space, it’s the definition of being outside your comfort zone – but that’s where you’re going to learn something.I think people know what their impossibles are, deep down… The first step is to identify those moments where there’s a choice to make: you can follow this path because you know you can deliver a nice steady performance, learn nothing and achieve a reasonable goal. But at the same time there’s another potential path: a way to do something differently, or better. Why didn’t you choose that? Because it was a risk, and you thought you could fail. Once you start challenging things on a small level, you can keep growing.
  • Please think twice before you buy, take a straw, eat with a plastic fork 🏻️ #strawssuck #reuse #recycle #singleuseplasticPlease think twice before you buy, take a straw, eat with a plastic fork 🏻️ #strawssuck #reuse #recycle #singleuseplastic
  • #Repost @tmpublishers・・・A piece from Ryan Stramrood’s chapter, You Are All Extreme Adventurers, in THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ …“Every time I have jumped into cold water, be it an uncomfortable 16 degrees Celsius, a brutal 5 degrees Celsius or a deadly minus 1 degree Celsius, without fail, while I am swimming and trying to achieve my goal, the overriding emotion and belief is that this will never end. At many points it will feel impossible to reach the shore I am aiming for. The pain and the discomfort are often way too daunting to process at that moment, and the distance still to cover way too far. At some point my mind will do its best to convince me that I will die if I do not bail from the challenge. Quit. I look for excuses to fail, not for reasons to finish. And I spend a lot of time beating myself up for voluntarily putting myself in this position.But while all of this is certainly true, the overriding truth and the lesson here, is that every time I complete the challenge and slow the shivering, it is only minutes before all that pain, discomfort and doubt during the challenge disappears into the abyss and it is only the learnings that remain. … And it will be the same, as we mop up our businesses and our lives.”Available in all good bookstores countrywide, and as a Kindle on Amazon: copy link in comments.#Bookstagram #books #newrelease #southafrica#Repost @tmpublishers・・・A piece from Ryan Stramrood’s chapter, You Are All Extreme Adventurers, in THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ …“Every time I have jumped into cold water, be it an uncomfortable 16 degrees Celsius, a brutal 5 degrees Celsius or a deadly minus 1 degree Celsius, without fail, while I am swimming and trying to achieve my goal, the overriding emotion and belief is that this will never end. At many points it will feel impossible to reach the shore I am aiming for. The pain and the discomfort are often way too daunting to process at that moment, and the distance still to cover way too far. At some point my mind will do its best to convince me that I will die if I do not bail from the challenge. Quit. I look for excuses to fail, not for reasons to finish. And I spend a lot of time beating myself up for voluntarily putting myself in this position.But while all of this is certainly true, the overriding truth and the lesson here, is that every time I complete the challenge and slow the shivering, it is only minutes before all that pain, discomfort and doubt during the challenge disappears into the abyss and it is only the learnings that remain. … And it will be the same, as we mop up our businesses and our lives.”Available in all good bookstores countrywide, and as a Kindle on Amazon: copy link in comments.#Bookstagram #books #newrelease #southafrica
  • Some artsy captures of my 110th Robben Island Crossing by @candicebakerwhiskygirl 🤟🏻Thank you @bigbayevents  #pushpastimpossible #pushpastimpossible️ #freedomtoswim #robbenislandSome artsy captures of my 110th Robben Island Crossing by @candicebakerwhiskygirl 🤟🏻Thank you @bigbayevents #pushpastimpossible #pushpastimpossible️ #freedomtoswim #robbenisland
  • Hello to “The New Normal” I can now present my keynote from my dining room 🏻 I am digital conference ready🏻#pushpastimpossibleHello to “The New Normal” I can now present my keynote from my dining room 🏻 I am digital conference ready🏻#pushpastimpossible
  • "The time for different is now." When @tmpublishers reached out with a request for me to contribute to a new release: "THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ" I jumped at the opportunity to feature among some of SAs most brilliant business thinkers.Thanks to the glorious rain and cold weather in Cape Town, I am halfway through this book and literally inhaling the knowledge and insights on every page. As the title says, it is certainly the book every business owner should read right now, although I feel it's highly relevant for ANYONE in current circumstances of overwhelm and uncertainty.To quote from the @BonangMohale chapter, an expression passed down from his Grandmother that I simply LOVE: "Behold the turtle - it only makes progress when it's neck is stuck out!" Copies are still available on Loot - link in bio#TimeForDifferent #PushPastImpossible #RecommendedReading #BookRecommendation"The time for different is now." When @tmpublishers reached out with a request for me to contribute to a new release: "THE BOOK EVERY BUSINESS OWNER MUST READ" I jumped at the opportunity to feature among some of SAs most brilliant business thinkers.Thanks to the glorious rain and cold weather in Cape Town, I am halfway through this book and literally inhaling the knowledge and insights on every page. As the title says, it is certainly the book every business owner should read right now, although I feel it's highly relevant for ANYONE in current circumstances of overwhelm and uncertainty.To quote from the @BonangMohale chapter, an expression passed down from his Grandmother that I simply LOVE: "Behold the turtle – it only makes progress when it's neck is stuck out!" Copies are still available on Loot – link in bio#TimeForDifferent #PushPastImpossible #RecommendedReading #BookRecommendation
  • Yesterday I became the record holder for the most Robben Island Crossings ever completed, a goal I have been working towards for many years 🏻 Being my first RI swim since lockdown restrictions, and very little training, my support crew reckon I broke two records that day, the second record being my “slowest” crossing to date  Not entirely correct but very close! It was tough, but it’s done. Dedicated to the late Theo Yach, who held the record previously and set the bar so high 🏻Yesterday I became the record holder for the most Robben Island Crossings ever completed, a goal I have been working towards for many years 🏻 Being my first RI swim since lockdown restrictions, and very little training, my support crew reckon I broke two records that day, the second record being my “slowest” crossing to date Not entirely correct but very close! It was tough, but it’s done. Dedicated to the late Theo Yach, who held the record previously and set the bar so high 🏻