Layne Beachley and I both grew up at the beach; she at Manly in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and I a bit further up the NSW coast at Terrigal. We both loved the beach, but while she lived to surf the waves, I was happy to soak up the sea atmosphere as a spectator on the sand.
Layne embraced the waves physically, while to me they were a creative muse. Her surfing career skyrocketed internationally, culminating in seven world championship titles, as I honed my journalistic and public relations career. Our paths met last year when I attended the Tasmanian Telstra Business Women’s Awards and we were seated at the same table. Layne was the keynote speaker for the night so I got to chat with her between professional commitments.
It’s easy to look at high achievers like Layne Beachley and think she climbed those steps to success with ease, one accolade fitting neatly on top of the last. However, as Layne explained, that was not the case. She could have ended her career as a five-time world champion. Don’t get me wrong; winning five world championships is incredible, but history shows us there was more.
As Layne competed for the sixth world championship title, she had to overcome the negativity in her head and the exhaustion that spread through her body right to her core. She was tired; she didn’t want to keep competing; she wanted to give up.
From this experience Layne learned: “The greatest growth happens when challenge and support meet”. I pondered these words that night, and in the months that followed. I believe the best things come from the biggest battles. We’ve all experienced hard-won achievements. And it’s the struggle that makes those achievements that much sweeter, right?
But those weren’t Layne’s only words of wisdom that night. She still had something that I considered even more powerful than the sage advice I shared above: “Choice, not chance, determines your future”. And she is right. We choose our own destinies and are responsible for making and reaching our goals.
So, which path do you choose for your business?