An Interview With Roz Savage
During the worst period of your Atlantic row, what propelled you to carry on?
Hmmm, just about the entire row counted as the "worst period"! It was incredibly hard, and so far outside my comfort zone, it wasn't even funny. I had two powerful "reasons why", and I needed both of them. The first was my desperate desire to raise awareness of our human impact on the planet and on our own health and happiness, and to encourage people to step up and make a difference. The second was more personal - a deep need to find out who I was when I was alone, and to discover what I was capable of. I'd suspected for a while that I had hidden strengths and abilities, and I needed to put myself somewhere extreme, alone, to really dig deep and investigate that question. Oh, and stubborn bloody-mindedness goes a long way too!
What's next on the horizon for you?
I'm taking a leap into a new career - executive coaching. I am specialising in supporting women moving into leadership roles, as I firmly believe we need more feminine leadership in this world. Over the course of my life I've had to confront a lot of the self-limiting beliefs that can hold people back from fulfilling their true potential, so to me, it seems perfectly natural to offer to coach as a complement to my motivational speaking career.
You say your passion for highlighting environmental damage was what encouraged you to undertake these huge feats of effort, what sort of thing do you think we could be doing at home to help combat this?
I'd like to answer this question on two levels. First, the practical level. Plastic packaging is a disaster - most of it has a very short useful life, and a very long afterlife when it does nothing but harm. I've seen where a lot of it ends up - the ocean - where it kills wildlife and gets into our food chain, and it's not good for us. Please do what you can to minimize your use of plastic, and when it's unavoidable, make sure it gets recycled. And for me, the more important aspect is a deep understanding that everything we do has an impact. You might think that anything you do is just a drop in the ocean, but every action counts. It took me around 5 million oarstrokes to row those 3 oceans. Each oarstroke only got me a few feet, but they all added up. We all have to pull together to solve our environmental challenges, but it has to start with the thoughtful individual. That's you!
What are your top tips for managing stress?
For me, the most common cause of stress is overwhelming. So much to do, so little time. Or, when I set out on my first ocean - so many miles, so slow a speed. It has sometimes sent me into a panic, which is completely counter-productive. So now I force myself to remember that I can only do the next thing. I can't do the one after that, or the thing 100 steps from now. In this present moment, I can only do the next thing. So make sure it's an important thing, and that it's moving me closer to my goal, and focus exclusively on that. And only when it's completed focus on the next thing after that. Forget multi-tasking, focused uni-tasking is the way to get things done.
Your endeavours will have inspired many people to make changes in their life, who inspired you?
Many people! My mother, who is my role model of stoicism. She unfailingly focuses on what needs to be done, rather than the emotions that we attach to things. She also totally gets the power of accumulation - that by chipping away one tiny step at a time, we can achieve huge feats. The many people who have believed in me, even when I didn't always believe in myself. And Nelson Mandela, who was wise, savvy, and patient - and even when it must have seemed impossible, kept the faith in his dream.
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