There is no use continuing to lie on your back on that scratched, leather lounge, trying to block out the intrusive airport intercoms announcing the next departure. Your brain is filled with jetlag and your clear thoughts have been replaced by a murkier mess. Somewhere between Finland and Melbourne self-doubt has crept into your grey matter. Empower yourself! Getup! Just do something!
You did a great job in Finland assisting those younger Australian Orienteers with their preparations for their World Championships. Amongst the forests and lakes, you found an opportunity to anchor your own life experiences to your skills and academia. With your help, those team members were able to perform wilder. You were empowered! You found a voice to encourage them and help Australia succeed on the world stage again. Remember how you started each day in Finland with an early morning explore, cruising along the lake’s edge, finding animal paths through the forest undergrowth. The lake was often mirror calm so after the run, you could slip into the gleaming water. For one week, this was your shower. Find some of that inspiration now! Get out there and empower yourself again! Whilst the team fondly nicknamed you ‘Nanny Hanny’ thanks to the copious cups of tea and early-to-bed habits you enjoy, this should not reflect your napping skills here on this airport lounge.
Hanny, think back to those who have touched your life in ways that enabled you to achieve beyond what you dared to dream alone. Max Cherry jumps to mind. At 80 years of age, bumbled under an old tracksuit and a tartan beret, it was his bellowing voice from his car whilst you ran alongside, his handshake at the start of training, his gentle hug when you ‘did good’, that taught you there is no such word as can’t and to see your talents in distance running. Remember how Jackie Feathweather (nee Gallagher) also helped to highlight the importance of vulnerability. One hell of a listener, she allowed openness, demanded honesty and coached you to strength as a marathon runner. Today, Jeremy, with his bike shoes under the table, empowers you to seek authenticity in your own marrow. So many amazing individuals, all with authenticity visibly bubbling from even the smallest of handshakes, nods or eye contact. This authenticity is what enabled them to empower you just like you empowered your athletes in Finland.
In Finland, you became the mentor for our future generation. The team gave themselves permission to be empowered by you as they sensed your authenticity, excitability, and self-connectedness. Lying here on this lounge feeling blue is not you! You found your authenticity in the natural environment beyond urban walls. Mornings in the sunshine, forest scraps stuck to your hair, mud spatters up your calves… this is where you connect the strongest with your truest self to find inspiration and self-connectedness. Each day you took this empowered-self to the competition arenas. There you saw athletes begin to dream bigger and perform wilder, seeing physical, mental and emotional strength unite to create optimal performance. In turn, you felt a return of positive energy. Do you see the cycle? Empowerment is like the rain that falls plentifully in Finland, it evaporates from your leaves, condenses, and falls again to spark more growth.
Han, today you are as stale and unexcited as the airport terminal itself. Do what you know best – rip open that bag, scrounge for your stale-smelling running attire, draw tight the laces of your shoes and go exploring.
That’s the girl! See, to our great surprise, Melbourne Airport has the most fabulous trail running on its doorsteps. Out past the smokers’ precinct, we go, round behind McDonald's, down around the runway lighting, across a ditch and ‘pop’, into an open parkland we find ourselves. Here the noise of that airport begins to fade and the evening light dapples through the open eucalypt forest with dancing grasslands beneath. Can you feel it, Han? You are your best self out here far away from concrete, air-conditioning! Run out of those stale thoughts, up through this old gate tucked into the fence line with more holes than wire. Up towards open skies we go! Take a deep breath a look at that view of Melbourne!
Do you understand it now Hanny? You empower others when you empower yourself. It requires you to build a bank of trust every day, not with other people, but with yourself. Each and every day… remember this! Capture this moment too. For out here on this hilltop with aircraft skimming overhead you have seen more than the sun’s rays, but your own light glowing. You are breaking the norm, escaping the concrete and empowering yourself as an excitable adventurer. This simple act of inspiration has replaced the negatives with positives, the internal critique with a gentler voice of compassion, and restlessness with excitement. Empowerment. Au natural, bubbling up deep from within.
When you get home just remember that this empowerment blooms from daily actions, (as well as perhaps the occasional big F$%k-Off adventure!) that inspires you. Remember the small things that uplift you, from a nourishing diet to early nights, time camping under the stars, and your mini-morning missions before you open your laptop. Find creativity, foster rich friendships, and nurture yourself to stimulate richer thoughts. Spend more time immersed in your goals, explore your values and reflect on these in your journaling. Give back when you can and share, share lots. All of these little things add up!
Hanny, when you first started Find Your Feet back in 2009 you were simply trying to find your own feet. You had fallen out of love with your running and walked the tightrope of health. However, super eager, you found a way to help other adults fall in love with the sport of running. At Find Your Feet they found friendship with themselves and other like-minded individuals. But do you recall how after six months one of your regular clients and someone that you now proudly consider a friend pulled yours aside?
‘Hanny, you have the potential to give us all a beautiful gift. But if all we see is someone who doesn’t give to themselves then we will never be able to truly appreciate the gift you are trying to give us’?
Hanny, after all these years I hope you can finally, truly understand his words of wisdom – empower yourself to empower others.
Get out there girl! You were born to be wild.