Sunrise is one of my favourite times of day and in the Maldives the pre-dawn night sky is dark and filled with stars. Living in Sydney means I hardly ever see more than just the very brightest stars in the night sky. In the Maldives the whole of the Milky Way was right there; such a treat and a wonderful reminder that there is always more there than meets the eye.
Every morning I headed to the upper deck of our dhoni boat with my cup of tea to enjoy that wonderful transition from night to day. There were no clocks on our boat, no phones, no alarms and yet I seemed to wake at about the same time every morning. Time is a construct*. We’ve created time, we’ve made it up, the minutes, the hours, the schedule, it’s all a construct, it’s all made up. After 7 days of no clock and no real schedule it felt like time really didn’t matter. If we were hungry we ate, if we wanted to snorkel with the fish, we jumped into the water. Nap? Anytime we wanted.
How can I retain that feeling in a world where we fell scheduled to the nano-second? I’m working on that. Meanwhile it is a great reminder to have days where there is no time, whether weekends, holidays, just to have that sense of freedom of not needing to know “what is the time”.
Most mornings one of the others on the Dhoni boat would join me on the top deck to watch the morning sky and the Ocean. On our final morning I mused about “What might we take away from this holiday experience” and she immediately spoke about “being present”. “It’s so easy to be present when it is the only thing we are doing” Out there, on the water, with an abundance of time it’s much easier to pay full attention to the one person, the one activity. In our everyday lives while we might try to be attentive, to be present to the one person, the one conversation, there is often a running tape in our head thinking about what to say next, thinking about emails to be written and read, listing activities to be attended to today, tomorrow. Many of us are full of good intentions to be present.
How can I take that feeling of being present and attentive into my every day life? Of course, awareness is first step, Practice. While on the boat being able to be present has reminded me of the effectiveness and has renewed and increased my commitment to continue the sense of connectedness that comes from being in conversations, experiences that are present, mindful and attentive.
One morning after breakfast we spotted a group of Manta Rays. We spent most of the morning snorkeling and swimming with them. Manta Rays are naturally curious. Magnificent, graceful creatures and enormous they swam around, above, below us. Even though they grow to 7 meters they eat only plankton, having a large mouth which they open wide as they swim along, filtering the plankton from the water.
The Manta Rays provided me with an experience that was at the same time both extremely exciting and extremely frightening. At one stage I looked around and heading towards me with their large mouths open were 2 Manta Ray. I was filled with excitement at how close they were; I thought “I could almost touch you”. And at the same time frozen with apprehension bordering on Fear! “You are So close” And then just as they were close enough that I could see the detail of the gills inside their mouths, they dived deep. Staying very still at a moment of fear, do nothing and the danger will pass.
They circled round and returned (or maybe it was different ones as there were a few in this group) and I discovered they enjoy to “race” and as I swam/ kicked as hard as my flippered feet would go, one of the Manta Ray kept pace and watched me with his one eye, me and the Manta Ray eyeball to eyeball, swimming along at a fast pace with a completely wild animal; what an absolute privilege! When you are in the flow, keep going. When you are really having fun, really loving what you are doing, put in every effort, to your last gasp, into making it to continue.
Every day we snorkeled amongst the reefs and observed more fish than I could possibly have imagined existed**. All my life I’ve watched nature programs about under water life, actually being underwater and seeing all the fish; large and small and spotty and striped and in the coral and eating the coral and darting about and chasing each other is a complete sensory overload! A magnificent experience. Each and every fish has a role to play, even the tiny fish right out there in the middle of the vast Indian Ocean has it’s place in the Grand Scheme of Things. And this led me to think about Everyone exists for a reason, everyone has a purpose and has an important role to play in the grand scheme of life.
It’s so easy to wonder what our role is, what am I to do? I hear people ask. And, Who are they and why are they so different? We live in communities where there re many different people, different nationalities, have different beliefs, who have a different work ethic. People who want to create change, people who want less change.
All those fish co-existing and just getting on with their own thing, made me think maybe some times it’s enough to just remember they everyone has a role to play in the Grand Scheme of Things and
maybe I don’t need to know what that role is, it is enough to know they are who they are and they fulfill their role as best they can…. Just like the fish.
There were 5 of us on board the boat. We all booked through the same “adventure” company. We live in 4 corers of the world; Sydney, Cambridge, Berlin and Boise (Idaho) and yet there were many similarities. As the days progressed it struck me how alike we were in various ways. The adventure company has a clear Customer Avartar and each of us is that Avatar in our own way. I teach my Business StartUp clients about the importance of being clear about identifying and understanding their customer/ client Avatar and here was living proof of how it works.
Eventually our holiday came to an end and we returned to land and the internet and I learned 2 more things:
The first: Nothing happened! I missed nothing! Checking the on-line news “Nothing’s happened” I’m not really sure what I thought was going to happen and of course lots of “things” happened, they just all seemed to be more of the same things that happened before we left….
The second: most of the emails are really not that important. I have 500+ emails and as I eventually found time/ inclination to scan through them about 30 were of importance and required my attention and response. This only took about 2 hours! 7 days of emails managed in about 2 hours. This confirms that in the past I have spent way too much time on email. From today, I am completely changing the way I interact with emails! And FB and all other forms of distraction from what I really want to do.
My desire to do what I do best is stronger than ever. My week in the Maldives was filled with wonder and joy and amazing sights and experiences. This is what holidays are for. Now, onward with my Sydney city life, and my business and making a difference.
* ”The U.S. national time standard, for instance, didn’t emerge until 1883, when it was adopted by the railroads, which needed to maintain common timetables. Before that, cities largely kept their own local time, and many were not happy to have big government and big railroads force standardization on them. “Let the people of Cincinnati stick to the truth as it is written by the sun, moon and stars,” editorialized one newspaper when the changeover was going into effect.” Smithsonian
** “According to FishBase, 33,100 species of fish had been described by April 2015. That is more than the combined total of all other vertebrate species: mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.” Wikipedia.
Are you thinking about starting your own business? Head over to our Business StartUp Readiness Quiz and once your score has been calculated you will be able to read your results right there and then. Our system also produces a tailored report outlining specific actions for creating your Business StartUp. Check out the Quiz here
I’m Ingrid Thompson and thank you for reading this post.
My guess is that you are here because you are curious about what it might be like to start a business?
Perhaps you’ve been wondering if you have what it takes? If your idea will work or even how much it actually costs to build a successful business?
I’ve written a book that can answer pretty much all your questions “So You Want to Start a Business” and you can download the first 20 pages at www.thestartupsteps.com
15 years of experience working with start up businesses are condensed into this book.
It’s your step by step guide to launch your business smarter and faster and I’m so excited to be sharing it with you and can’t wait to hear about your progress.
Are you ready to grab your excerpt? Click here www.thestartupsteps.com