I’m very pleased to have scored an interview with Laura Dekker.
A brief history: In 2009, Laura became the youngest person to sail around the world by herself.
Now at 23, Laura is wise beyond her years. This interview will resonate with you if you:
A: Are fighting for your dream and wondering if it will all be worth it in the end
B: Need to refuel yourself with positivity and hope after a long journey to your dream
C: Looking for the courage to be yourself and go after what you want. Whether in the office or outside of it.
1. What wisdom did you learn from your voyage?
Many things : P I learned to appreciate and be happy with what you’ve got – but also to always, always chase your dreams and only give up when you’ve tried everything from every angle 😉 I loved seeing the world and other cultures, I thought that things don’t need to be done the way we do at home or have grown up with. Everyone is different and you just need to be yourself.
2. When in a tough situation, like the turbulent storm in the middle of the ocean [in Maidentrip], nothing but miles of water on all sides of you, did you tell yourself any phrases or pep talks to help you push forward past this obstacle? Please enlighten us!
Haha, well – I wasn’t always happy or knew exactly what to do either but what helped most when I didn’t know what to do was to stay quiet, read a little, or play the guitar. even if something was broken or rather urgent because I figured it was better to find a good solution rather then panic and break more stuff or worse.. Of course it also really helped that it was my big dream that I’d fight for for years, so I’d just tell myself: ”Well you got yourself in here, you better get out again. 😉 Don’t think about all the things that could go wrong when you’re in a tough situation. But do think about it way before the situation arises is of course always good, however, this is not always possible. Hmm, this is getting a long story. Main objective is: don’t panic, stay calm count to ten when necessary to calm yourself, keep breathing : P and take it step by step.
3. In 2009 before your trip, the courts tried to remove you from your ultimate goal of navigating the globe solo. Not only that but there was a ton of other pressure for you to not complete the trip. Much like when women are at work and we face obstacles like a difficult co-worker or bad boss that might remove us on our climb toward a promotion or being recognized the way we want to within a company. How did you not give in to the pressure and think “maybe I shouldn’t do this after all.”
It was my dream and most of the naysayers had no idea how hard I had worked and fought for it to get where I was. Nor did the judges have any clue about sailing or what I wanted to do. It was my dream, I had worked towards it for years – I wasn’t gonna give up until I had tried everything. And then of course in this case, halfway through the case there was no turning back. The childcare wanted to put me in a closed children’s home. And that was pretty much my worst fear so I had to keep fighting.
4. Laura, what would you say to women who can’t find their strength. We all have strength inside of us but we must dig for it and go through trials and tribulations to bring it out. Do you have any advice so that we may become as strong as you?
Always believe you can do it, you know yourself best so you will feel if something is right for you or not. Of course, you will have doubts and fears but if you never shoot you will always miss. if something doesn’t work don’t give up straight away, you just found a way that didn’t work and honestly, there are many more ways that don’t work than ways that do, so it takes a bit of patience, endurance and lots of trial and error to achieve your goal. But it will be worth it, it will be soooo worth it. Fighting for your own dream and then achieving it is such a powerful boost! And you’ll learn heaps of lessons along the way 🙂 So you always come out stronger and smarter than before.
5. You aren’t afraid to be yourself. An admirable and rare trait. For other women, it is not so easy to stand out or let their voice be heard. What is your take on people not living authentically and are scared to be themselves for fear of backlash?
Well, every person is unique, there is no one on the planet just like you! Isn’t that amazing, so many people and every single one is unique 😀 Yet we all try to be like each other – that doesn’t work does it?! If you try to be like someone else you will never find what special powers you have, everyone has special powers, but you need to allow them to come out have a chance to show themselves. You can only do this when you simply do what you want to do and with what you feel comfortable.
6. Lastly, if someone has upset you while sailing, at a job, or in your life do you have a method for pushing through the emotions?
Good question – yes I do, because even though it has become much less I still get mean comments every now and then. And everyone will always have that. It’s unavoidable.
I always think whether the statement or comment the person made is valid, and what it’s based upon. Mostly you find they haven’t done their research and don’t really know what they are talking about. It’s important to not react in anger or frustration straight away because sometimes that’s what they actually want. Stay calm and think about why they did what they did then decide whether it’s even worth your time and effort to reply. Quite often it isn’t, so spend your valuable time and thoughts on people and things that do bring you further.
A special thanks to Laura Dekker for this interview.
Now it’s your turn, what are you fighting for?