A few weeks ago, I flew to Australia on the invitation of Darren Rowse and the Problogger team. I spoke at Darren’s Problogger Training Event, which took place at the beautiful RACV Royal Pines resort on Australia’s Gold Coast.
This post is an excuse to share my photos — my lessons learned and my experiences — with you.
I want to share a few lessons I picked up: I think you’ll find them as valuable as I did. There’s a mix of business and life lessons — some profound, and some very simple.
Do things that scare you, Part 1
I have to confess: I was NOT looking forward to the 15-hour flight. At all. And if it wasn’t for the invitation to speak at this event, there’s a very good chance that I never would have made that flight.
I mean, look at this face. This is me, getting off the four-hour flight to Los Angeles, ready to transfer to the plane that would fly me over the Pacific for fifteen hours.
Do I look excited?
But this is me once we landed in Sydney (my husband was with me on the trip).
This is the face of someone who confronted her fears head on, and triumphed! It’s also the face of a sleep-deprived person, but that’s nothing a nap and some coffee won’t cure.
Lessons learned: Face your fears. Do what scares you. Travel is always worth the effort.
Don’t be afraid to be iconic
Once you arrive in Sydney, you discover it’s hard not to stare at the Sydney Opera House. It’s an incredibly audacious design:
And it looks great from every angle, even close up:
And at dawn:
And at night:
You really can’t take a bad photo of this place!
The funny thing is that this incredible icon that represents Sydney around the world had a troubled history. The architect selected ended up resigning from the project, and it was finally finished ten years late, and 1,457% over budget.
And yet, look at it:
All is forgiven and forgotten when you have an end result like that.
Lessons learned: Push the envelope and don’t be afraid to be different, especially if it expresses your true self. Hang on to your vision and persist on your quest, despite the challenges along the way.
See the unusual in the everyday
Birds. You see them wherever you live, right?
But the birds I saw in Australia were just a little different.
More colorful. More tropical, like this cockatoo, which you can find all over Sydney.
And they’re friendly. Like this guy who became my best friend one evening at an outdoor café. (OK, I may have tossed him a few crumbs from my plate.)
Lessons learned: Keep your eyes open and see the beauty in the everyday things all around you.
Do things that scare you, Part 2
Once I arrived at the Problogger event later in the week, I had to shore up my courage to enter room after room full of energetic and friendly people, 99.9% of whom I’d never seen in my life.
This can feel quite daunting! But I was happy for every conversation I struck up, and every connection I made. I now have a pile of business cards on my desk, and a “heap” of new friends.
— Bargain Chick (@BargainChickOz) August 19, 2015
Lessons learned: Everyone else feels as intimidated as you do, so reach out, grab a hand, shake, and start talking and listening. You’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy good coffee
A few days into the trip, it struck me: Australians know their coffee.
There’s a long history of Italian and Greek immigrants in Australia, and they brought their coffee know-how and culture to the country.
They don’t just know how to make coffee. They know how to enjoy it, too. Coffee isn’t something you slurp out of a take-out cup while rushing to your next appointment. It’s something you stop, sit, and enjoy every sip of.
Lessons learned: Life moves too fast. Find an excuse to slow down, enjoy, and drink in the moment.
Do things that scare you, Part 3
If you’d told me five years ago that I’d be getting up on a stage almost once a month to address a group that had gathered to hear me speak, I never would have believed you.
As a matter of fact, public speaking was high on my list of Things That Terrified Me.
Actually? It was at the top of that list!
— Matt Jones (@mattjones7) August 15, 2015
But at some point in the last few years, I remembered back to my high school days. I attended a large high school (2,500 students) and was elected student body president when I was just 17 years old.
That meant that on a regular basis and at a young age, I found myself standing on stage in front of a mic addressing huge groups of people.
I’m not sure what happened between those brave teenage years and adulthood, but somehow I became cautious to the point of limiting what I thought I could do.
A few years ago, I decided it was time to get over this fear. And I’m glad I did.
— They Call Me Mummy (@theycallmemummy) August 15, 2015
Lesson learned: Look back and recognize the courage you’ve shown in the past. That courage is still inside you! You can tap into it at any time. Don’t let the years you live make you scared to try new things.
Reflect, remember, relate
My trip to Australia was amazing on so many levels. I had the pleasure to spend time with online friends I’d never met in person, like Jacqueline Stone:
And Siita Rivas:
I pushed myself to do things I wasn’t sure I was capable of, like flying across the Pacific and back, and addressing a large group of people for almost an hour … two days in a row.
I stretched myself, and my world expanded. And it was worth every bit of the preparation, time, and effort spent.
Lessons learned: When you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience, take some time to reflect and record what you’ve learned so you can carry it forward into the rest of your life.