Four short words to cross the Pacific

Have you come across the blog

It’s the personal reflections of four British women who rowed into Cairns harbour, in Australia on 24 January after crossing the Pacific – all 8,446 miles of it – in a boat called Doris.

Rowing two hours on, two hours off around the clock, these four really quite ordinary women took on sharks, storms, food rationing and exhaustion on their epic 257 day journey. You can imagine the exhilaration and relief when they finally put down their oars to the sound of celebrating onlookers.

There’s a whole load of life lessons in their story. It’s well worth taking a look at their blog to see what they discovered about themselves and about life. You can donate to their charities Breast Cancer Care and Walking with the Wounded here too.

Eat, sleep, row, repeat 

What I found most intriguing about the coxless crew’s experience was their use of the mantra, “eat, sleep, row, repeat” to keep them going on their journey across the world’s largest ocean.

Use your thoughts positively to get things done

Exhaustion, deprivation and discomfort must have been overwhelming at times, yet this simple mantra seems to have had great power. It helped them challenge negative mind gremlins when they arose and to focus on their purpose and their goal. It helped them to focus on the inner game whatever else was going on ‘out there’ be it massive waves or not enough sleep.

These four women knew the power of their thoughts. Your thoughts, too, are hugely powerful and can make or break what you achieve at work, even if you don’t actually have to row across the Pacific.

Turn your thoughts around

In my Taming Time workshops for third sector organisations I encourage participants to create mantras (affirming statements) to help them focus on what’s important each day. It might not be sharks and storms you’re battling in your job, but the challenges you face can seem just as impossible in that moment. Not enough time, too much to do, computers taking an age to fire up etc, etc. It’s so easy to start thinking negatively and end up going way off track from what needs doing.

Taming Time workshop at the Retail Trust

 How to create a time taming mantra

  • The first step is to identify a thought popping into your head that probably isn’t serving you too well in your efforts to get things done. It might be something like “I’ve got way too much to do”, “I’ll never get everything done” or “there just aren’t enough hours in the day”. These statements may seem like facts, but in fact they’re just thoughts or strongly held beliefs – and they’re not helping you at all. They put you in ‘fight or flight’ mode, so you feel negative and out of control which is no place to be tackling the important work that you do
  • Think about how you could turn one of your statements around to make it more useful to you. You’re after a new thought which will help you feel upbeat and in control. For example, “I know I can get everything done,”  “there is plenty of time,” (a favourite in our Taming Time workshops) or “I am calm, in control and capable.” These type of thoughts will serve you far better and the wonderful thing is, you don’t even have to believe them! They automatically lead you to take more productive actions which get better results.
  • When you’re happy with your new thought write it down and say it out loud over and over again. Say it when you find yourself getting overwhelmed. Say it first thing in the morning. Say it till you’re mighty sick of it. This stuff works!

Over to you

So, what do you think? Do you arrive at your desk each day positive and upbeat about how to get things done? Or perhaps your thoughts aren’t serving you in your efforts to zoom through your to-do list. Would you find this approach helpful, do you think? Please do share your comments here.

What next?

If you or your third sector team aren’t achieving as much as know you can and are missing organisational goals let’s have a chat about how Taming Time training can help get things done. Click here to book a time or call me on 0208 772 7808. We could have our first session scheduled in for later in February.



4 responses to “Four short words to cross the Pacific”

  1. Linda Anderson avatar

    Great post Katie – and useful to acknowledge that all those limiting beliefs you mention are affirmations too, of the kind we don’t want!

    When I catch myself spinning into that ‘not enough time’ space, I take a deep breath, tap a little and affirm that I’m choosing to stretch time. It brings me back into the moment and works like a dream – so I’m able to focus on what’s in front of me and accomplish more, whilst feeling relaxed and spacious (which feels like more time). My body loves it, it uses up less energy, and it’s a whole lot more fun than being in the stressed out overwhelmed space.

  2. Katie Duckworth avatar
    Katie Duckworth

    Sounds like a great tactic. Thank you, Linda!

  3. Janet avatar

    So interesting. It sort of explains why some days I just whizz through things: tick, tick, tick and other days I just grind to a halt. It’s what is going on in my head more than what’s going on externally that is the problem!


  4. Katie Duckworth avatar
    Katie Duckworth

    I’m so pleased you liked it. Yes! Our thoughts are hugely powerful and can make or break our productivity.