Living a Life Free of Regret
Meet Michelle Lee, a 45-year-old, Sydney-sider with the goal of becoming the first Australian female to row any ocean solo.
We ask Why? She tells us for peace! Michelle has been plagued by the possibility of rowing the Atlantic for a while now and has finally decided to take to the water to appease the challenge that keeps drawing her in. 'There was only one way, one answer, if I was to live free of the fear of regret of never having taken the shot.'
We caught up with Michelle who we have followed ever since we heard about her dream and more recently again she has had to disappointingly postpone it. We discuss her project, the importance of a support network and the difficulties around not only being an adventurous woman breaking glass ceilings but also the support needed to navigate the business behind such an endeavour.
Tell us about your dream and how it has come about?
To row the Atlantic Ocean Solo. Self-sufficient and unassisted. I am taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge - the worlds toughest row. I was inspired by the book Rowing The Atlantic by Roz Savage telling the true story of the hardship, challenges, and reality of such an adventure. The journey screamed triumph, a never give up attitude and integrity.
I was so inspired in fact, that my everyday life began to feel like it lacked something. This was the start of my motivation to achieve my dream. I continue to be driven by the people who are supporting me and inspired by my story. I am not a rower or even an athlete as such. I want people to see that anything is possible. That we can all find our Everest - whatever that is. We can all be challenged to achieve small but consistent milestones and set new benchmarks on our path to being a better version of ourselves.
What impact has adventure had on you and why is it important that you share with others your dream? What do you hope to achieve?
Adventure comes in many forms and I seek to bathe in it frequently. From trekking Nepal, to white water rafting, backpacking through Europe and committing to the Kokoda Trail, I just love the discipline and regime that a commitment to a cause promotes in your life. Purpose and self-worth, as well as confidence, are increased and this makes the feeling I get, in my life, feel even more fulfilling.
I am hoping through my journey to raise the ceiling for other women to simply "Start thinking you can and you will". I am proof of this statement and went into my recent world record attempt with this on my mind. I trained for 6 months repeating "Start thinking you can and you will" over and over. It became my mantra and today I remind others mindset is so powerful. I hope that girls and women will look at my story as an ordinary human, not an athlete or an adventurer and realise anything is possible. I want to encourage women to be challenged, achieve those small but consistent milestones and set new benchmarks for themselves. To be empowered by their own sense of achievement and reap the rewards of consistent effort. It really does work. The pay off is huge and I want as many girls as possible to know and experience this.
Having recently had to postpone your goal due to not having secured funding, what would it mean to have the additional funding, media support and connections to a network of inspiring individuals keen to support you via mentoring?
OMG. Yes please! This is a massive part of the journey and this is the support that doesn't come easy. There is a lot of time wasted simply because I am floundering, because of lack of knowledge, time and direction of where to go next. I am learning it's not necessarily what you know - but who you know. This feature of the Women's Adventure Grant would be worth a million on many levels. The thing is, although adventurous and committed to our goals, we are not necessarily marketing people. This is a daunting aspect and often can be bigger than the actual challenge itself.
Why do you think it is an exciting prospect that through TPL Womens Adventure Grant that women will have the opportunity to have their adventure dreams funded and supported?
What a platform to raise awareness, ignite dreams and stir passion in others. Women can be so hard on themselves and talk themselves into self-doubt, fear of failure and being not worthy. This campaign screams I'm worthy as I am and "just have a go." Funding can be the first thing that stops people in their tracks and this opportunity might just be the catalyst to women solidifying their dreams. By having people believe in you is so powerful in assisting you and encouraging the first step - which is often the hardest.
What value do you think a mentorship program (beyond the grant), would have in regards to equipping the applicants and also recipients with skills that will support their endeavours? i.e. How to put together a sponsorship proposal, make a video, use social media to gain a following to support brand sponsorship etc
I believe this feature is invaluable and I would've jumped at the opportunity. To have the guidance in even just formulating a plan would be so insightful and time efficient. I think I have utilised so much energy on trial and error. It is a daunting and overwhelming task to cold call potential sponsors for an investment from them for your cause. Over time I have improved but still find it difficult and would love to have support through this unknown territory and process.
I also love this idea so much i would love to be able to assist when my challenge is complete as a way of giving back to the people who have supported me and share my knowledge of lessons learned. It really is a full-time job and then trying to balance the work, life, train, campaign- Man, it is tough.
To find out about how you can support the Australian Women's Adventure Grant initiative head to our Pozible Page and help us see four Australian women achieve their dream.