[as seen in I AM magazine issue #14 apr/may 2014 – GO! http://issuu.com/iammag/docs/i_am_issue_14_2014 ]
Recently I decided, at the ripe old age of 40, I needed to lose the pounds, get fit, get healthy and change my lifestyle. The big questions were, where do I start and how do I get motivated?
Enter my very own Uncle, Baden Green. The most motivated person I know. He sets a goal and he achieves it! As I am writing this story my Uncle is celebrating his 60th birthday, with possibly way too much champagne, but you can bet your bottom dollar he will be back in Sydney to take me for a grueling session at the sand hills on Tuesday morning offering support and encouragement and whatever else it takes to get me to the finish line.
From his late teens, along with one of his best mates, Kevin Neilson, Baden dreamed of swimming the English Channel, and guess what? He did it! Not once, not twice but 12 times. The first time he swam was a solo effort and he did it in a record time for an Australian male. He was lucky enough to have the legendary Des Renford who, for a period of time in 1980 held the title ‘The King of the Channel’, as his mentor and inspiration.
What inspired Uncle Baden? How did he achieve his goal? It is difficult to grasp but so simple really, he had conviction and determination. Once he decided to actually do it he committed wholeheartedly and just went for it. Nothing stopped his training. He was in that pool following that black line rain, hail or shine. At 37 he was approaching middle age and getting chubby so fitness was also a key motivator. Being a swimmer from a very young age and a lifesaver with Cronulla Surf Club the swimming part came easily to him. The determination for success and the fear of failure was all the motivation he needed.
The training started in August 1991 and he gave himself until December that same year to make the final decision on whether or not he was actually going to go for it. Obviously the answer was…this is my dream and of course I am going for it.
He commenced training 6 hours a day and worked 10 hours a day at his accountancy firm. This weighed heavily on his family but his children were fortunately young at the time and Baden attributes the complete support of his loving wife Jenny as a contributing element of his success.
The fear of failure and also the fear of disappointing his wife, mother and children spurred Baden on to train for the 11 months it took to get him ready to attempt the Channel swim.
Uncle Baden swam the English Channel in July 1991 and became the fastest Australian male ever to do so. He is currently ranked 67th out of the 903 solo swims completed.
I asked Uncle Baden at what point did you decide to not drown? His response…when he stood on the shore in Dover he knew it was a certainty that he would make it. He said he would have swum through a brick wall to the finish line. There was absolutely no fear of failure and he had never felt so sure of success in his life. He has never felt so pumped and full of such surety since.
Baden has not only swam the English Channel as a solo swimmer, he has participated in 11 relay crossings, also being part of the first group of men from Australia to compete in a 4 way and a 6 way crossing. Funnily enough, the first time he crossed the Channel was by ferry at 21, drinking lots of alcohol and he advises this was by far the easiest way to get from A to B.
The success of the Channel swim has changed my Uncle Baden as a person. It gave him the confidence to achieve greater success in business, gave him more focus, provided him with a more meaningful life and a sense of achievement because he now knew that he could achieve anything he set his mind to.
As a result of this great achievement Baden became an Australia Day Ambassador which saw him travel throughout Australia to give motivational speeches. This appointment was a complete honor for him but he does say that, although it was a total pleasure for him, he felt sorry for the poor people that had to listen to him speak.
The moral to this story…He was motivated, he had conviction, he was committed, HE DID IT.
If you have a goal and are committed you can achieve anything. If you need to fear anything, fear FEAR.