The Power of Intention

The strength of your intention determines whether or not you cross the finish lineImagine that feeling you get when a plan you’ve had for a while finally all comes together. Sometimes the rush is so strong that it gives you goose-bumps. So, if it feels that good, why don’t we make it happen more often?

We often say to ourselves that life just got in the way; that there wasn’t enough time; that we didn’t have the resources; that it was just too hard; sometimes the rationalisations border on the embarrassing.

The difference between wishing for a thing though and really wanting it, until it possibly feels like a burning obsession, is that level of desire.

Desire is not necessarily a bad thing, or a lustful or greedy thing – it can be simply a non-negotiable self-determination to see a thing through; to do whatever it takes to make the idea become a reality.

The litmus test is to ask ourselves, “Am I serious about this? Is it merely a wish or a is it a serious desire?” Wishes might come true, but they rarely lead to the same commitment to action, and taking action is what brings about change.

Here’s the icing on the cake – the more you follow through with the little decisions, the more you believe in yourself and the easier it becomes to make your ideas take shape. That’s why winners become adept at keeping on winning.

What do You, Arjen Brandsma and Eleanor Rigby Have in Common?

'Would you like a song named after you?' asks life coach Tony Inman

Would you like a song named after you?

I’m guessing you may have heard of Eleanor Rigby? Her name is the title of a song written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon of the somewhat famous band, ‘The Beatles’. If you haven’t heard of them, please ask your parents!

I’m also guessing that you may not have heard of Arjen Brandsma? Who is or was he and what does he have in common with Eleanor Rigby?

I have to confess that all I know about Arjen is that he was a ‘Friend of Hyde Park’ in North Perth. I discovered that this morning when I decided to sit on a park bench and admire the beautiful scenery, the flowing fountain, the majestic trees, the ducks diving in the lake for food and the proud Black Swan parents shepherding their baby signets, whilst on my morning walk today. There was a small plaque bearing his name on the bench, but alas my efforts to discover anything more about this benefactor have so far drawn a blank.

It got me thinking though. I remembered the famous Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly telling us during his show in Perth that he has a special place overlooking a lake where he would like to have a bench named after him, so that fishermen for years to come could be spiritually joined with him as his ghost looks out at the spectacular vista.

'What purpose do you want to be remembered for?' asks life strategist Tony Inman

What purpose do you want to be remembered for?

The name Eleanor Rigby actually started out as Daisy Hawkins when Paul McCartney began composing a song one day at his piano. The song originally started with “Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church”, whereas the name Eleanor was inspired by actress, Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the movie, ‘Help’. Rigby apparently came from the name of a shop in Bristol. McCartney later conceded that he might have subconsciously stored the name from having seen a tombstone in the graveyard of St. Peter’s Church in Liverpool, where history states that he first met John Lennon at a garden fete in July 1957. The gravestone belonged to a real Eleanor Rigby, whom researchers say, lived a lonely life, just like the lady in the song.

So what does this have to do with you?

Have you ever stopped to think about your legacy?

What will be your gift to the world to denote your very existence?

The obvious answer for most of us parents, is our children and hopefully our grandchildren. For some who achieve fame, their exploits may live on in the history books. Sports stars, musicians, authors, poets, politicians – all hope to make their mark on history’s page. Business moguls build hospitals and schools or perhaps their name adorns a library or is the title of a charitable organisation.

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

Is fame the most important legacy or just a means to be able to positively influence the world?

It’s clearly a human trait to want to feel special; to have a sense of purpose; that our life means something; that we matter now and that later on, when our human form has returned to dust, that we mattered.

I know that might all seem a bit sombre, because it means acknowledging our mortality, but here’s the exciting part of my ponderings today…

Assuming you’re still alive and kicking, you still have time to pull a metaphorical rabbit out of your hat. You see, you are the one who has control of your own thoughts and actions, nobody else – YOU.

So YOU can decide what meaning you wish to ascribe to your life. You can be a criminal and become infamous; you can be a leader or a teacher and become influential; you might be able to be a sports star, a writer or an actor, or follow any of the other pursuits that I mentioned before.

 

 

Proud parents with their legacy

Proud parents

Would you like to leave the world a memory of you?

In memoriam

A view to die for

A view to die for

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all starts with how you think – how you think about the world; what you think of yourself and your capabilities and what it is that inspires you.

You really can make a huge difference with a bunch of small decisions. It could start with something as simple as the decision to go for a walk and admire nature, or the decision to help another human being in need. It could even start with a decision to smile or say something nice to someone and make their day.

If you haven’t yet come up with the grand design, maybe you’d benefit from a chat with a life coach, business coach or strategist like me (of course I had to shamelessly promote myself somewhere!). Until then, however, you can start with the small decisions. Never underestimate the power of small decisions to have a massive ripple effect. Those are the small dots we later connect backwards…’It was only after I decided to (this thing) that (another thing) happened’.

Whatever you’re doing with your life right now, I urge you to be happy and despite all of our human failings and setbacks, to decide to do your best to leave others around you feeling happier for having encountered you.

Even Eleanor Rigby’s sadness later brought joy to others in the form of inspired music. Arjen provided a bench for me to peacefully enjoy nature’s magnificence. What, if anything, will you do differently now?

Feel free to contact me for a chat over a coffee about what you would like to achieve and what strategies you need to help you get there. Telephone: 0419 860 382

Why Rupert Told Reginald He Should Be Grateful His Life Was Crap

Is your life tough? asks coach Tony Inman

“Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”

“My wife just left me, the house burnt down, my dog’s run off and I just got fired!” said Reginald, a miserable looking mouse of a man, his hair unkempt and his clothes crumpled, dejectedly nursing his beer in the darkest corner of the pub. His life sounded like a Country and Western song.

“Never mind mate. You’ve got to look at the positives and feel grateful for what you still have. A lot of people would love to be in your situation! You’ve just got to be more up tempo.” said his friend, Rupert, a man who had been unable to hold down a regular job, and who actually hated his own life, yet who also happened to be a recently qualified ‘success coach’.

Rupert had read ‘The Secret’ and was eagerly awaiting the definitely imminent arrival of his lotto winnings cheque in the mail. He was also a master of ‘positivity’ and spin. He had even had his social media image photo-shopped to make himself appear like a Hollywood star.

You’ve probably heard coaches like Rupert talking about the power of gratitude before, yet if you’re going through a difficult time when you hear that, it’s easy to understand why you might feel somewhat cynical about the well-intentioned advice. You might even tell Rupert to stick his advice where the sun doesn’t shine!

Now to go back to the example – it’s entirely possible that Reginald (a) had drifted apart from his nagging wife and despised her anyway; (b) never really liked his dimly-lit but fully-insured house; (c) never wanted the dog that had originally belonged to his wife and her former lover; and (d) hated that job and his bullying boss and had only just been offered better employment for higher pay, this very week!

bourbon-on-cereal

Are you feeling somewhat challenged by life’s disappointments?

It’s also possible that none of these positive slants existed and that Reginald has every reason to feel like putting bourbon on his corn flakes every day, just to numb the pain.

We never really know what someone else is going through. We can imagine what it might feel like. We can even sympathise with how we think it would feel if we were them, yet we’re not them. We don’t see the world exactly the same way as them and they may not have the same coping mechanisms as us, nor may they have the same strength of character that we believe we possess.

At the risk of sounding a tad ‘Rupert-esque’, it’s fair to say however, that there is always someone, somewhere, whose situation is a damn sight worse than yours. Nevertheless, if your leg is injured and it’s giving you a lot of pain, you can be told that another man’s leg was amputated or that yet another’s was badly burned and you can understand the difference between their plight and your own. You can even accept on a logical level that you should probably feel ‘lucky’. Yet despite this knowledge, it doesn’t stop the fact that your leg still hurts.

Now this is the point in my article where I ask you to indulge me for a moment. You can call me a ‘Rupertian disciple’ if you like, but just for a moment, consider this…

My delightful coach, who is absolutely beautiful both on the inside and the outside, is also a very smart lady. (Yes, even coaches have coaches! We know the value of it more than most.) A while ago, she told me to start a new habit that would have a very positive impact on my life. My coach advised me to get an empty jar and label it my jar of ‘gratitude and happiness’. She instructed me to develop the new habit of writing down each day on little slips of paper at least one, and preferably three, of the things in my life for which I could feel grateful or about which I could feel happy.

My Gratitude Jar

My Gratitude Jar

Knowing that my coach is a smart cookie, and with me being, at least most of the time, an ‘action-taker’, I did it. Now I can openly admit that I wasn’t disciplined enough to remember to do it every day, but whenever I did miss a day, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just wrote something extra the next day. For example, I wrote things like, “I’m incredibly grateful for having a wonderful girlfriend” or “I’m so blessed to have such amazing children”. It could even be random things like, “It made me happy to give that shop assistant a compliment and to see by her smile that it had made her day.” I even wrote good things down on my crappiest of days. I even smiled at the irony of it sometimes, because yes, it’s true – even a ‘change catalyst’ like me has bad days too!

At the end of the year, I opened the jar and read all my little messages. All I could say was “Wow!” The impact was huge. Not only that, but my girlfriend said she would make it her goal to give me good reason to write even more sweet little messages about her, during the next year, which she actually did.

So, if you think you’re just feeling a bit down or that life’s not so special, give this a try – I promise you it works. If your life is really as bad as Reginald’s in my little story above, then maybe you do need to talk things through with an experienced coach, or a counsellor or a psychologist even. Sometimes life does hand us really tough challenges, it’s true, and sometimes you do need some external help to get you through it. If that’s the case, then let me encourage you to seek help without delay from the appropriate professional. (I fit the first of those descriptions, so feel free to contact me if you’re feeling stuck, or over-whelmed, or you just know that you could really benefit from having a professional sounding-board.)

I’ll finish though with this thought. Actually, it’s more than a thought, it’s commonly accepted as a proven fact by those who have successfully conquered many challenges in their lives… (and I can vouch for it myself).

“When you focus on the things in your life for which you can feel grateful and happy, you will automatically empower yourself to be better, to do more and to have better outcomes.”

~ Tony Inman, ‘The Change Catalyst’

If you don’t believe me, just try it for one month. I now write mine in a journal and that’s another topic for another day, but do whichever works for you. Do please let me know how you go and do remember to have an awesome month, filled with gratitude and happiness.

Overwhelm – Why it Happens and How to Deal with it

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

Do you find it all goes wrong at once?

“Why me?” you shout loudly inside your own head. “Why am I in this mess and why is everything happening all at once?”

They are good questions, but do you stop your brain from whirring around in circles like a hamster wheel long enough to answer them?

Some people have a great relationship with themselves, while others don’t. Now that might sound really bizarre, but let me elaborate.

Firstly, you may be relieved to know that it’s quite normal to feel overwhelmed, especially with the pace of our modern world and the often unreasonable expectations that we allow society to place on us sometimes.

I find many of my coaching clients start off by engaging my services because they are simply swamped with everything that’s going on in their world. A lot of this is because they are unwittingly lumping all of their problems together as if it was one massive, all-consuming and life-threatening blob. I understand– I’ve been there myself.

Stress head

 

Part of why people struggle to deal with this tsunami of anxiety is that they haven’t learned how to ask themselves better questions. Another factor is that most people simply don’t think, and by that I mean that they don’t step back away from their crazy life and review it as if they had temporarily stepped outside of themselves. That’s one advantage I have straight away as their coach – I’m not them, so I can perceive it differently.

 

So let’s go back to the question of your relationship with yourself. Here are a few key questions:

  • Have you ever taken the time to reflect on who you are?
  • Have you thought about your own strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have you asked yourself ‘What are my core values?’
  • What do you like about yourself?
  • What do you dislike about yourself?

There are many more I could ask you, but that’s enough for now to make the point. The better you know yourself, the more resilient you become. That immediately means that you increase your ability to cope with stress and adversity, including a sense of overwhelm. It’s like putting on a life-jacket and sailing over the top of that tsunami I mentioned.

So part of dealing with overwhelm is realising that you CAN. Recognising your own capacity for having competently handled previous situations builds your confidence for dealing with this latest blob of yukky stuff.

Secondly, I’ll go back to an old tried and trusted question – “How do you eat an elephant?” Don’t worry I’m not actually proposing that you do! The answer though if you were to undertake that task, would be “A mouthful at a time”.

In other words, the reason you are often overwhelmed is that you are looking at ‘everything’ as one monstrous problem, when you’d be better served by breaking it down into bite-sized morsels. If you’re a visual person or a kinaesthetic learner (more attuned to feelings than images), write down your problem on a big piece of paper, then separate it out into smaller problems, even tearing off the separate pieces and moving them around on a table. If you’re a person who learns through audio, speak these problems out loud and ask yourself (and answer) the full range of five ‘W’’s and one ‘H’ question:

Who? What? Why? When? Where? And How?

Now here’s the secret gem that you deserve for having read my post today. Ask yourself this:

“What would be a better question?”

The key here is to separate the ‘problem’ into smaller ‘problems’, then examine them in turn to see what can be done about them.

Here’s another nugget – If they still seem like problems, ask yourself:

‘What lesson or lessons is the Universe trying to teach me here?’ and ‘How could this be seen as an opportunity?’

Going through those processes doesn’t always make the problems disappear, but it certainly helps you to look at them differently and perhaps to seek alternative resources. In the best examples, you can turn them around completely and wonder why you ever felt overwhelmed in the first place.

One family I started working with a while ago were in complete turmoil. They were trying to build their business but it seemed to be going wrong. They felt as if they didn’t really know how to run their business. They had staff who were not really the right people for the job. They were in the middle of renovating their home, whilst living in it, so they had builders and tradies coming and going. They had two very young children – you know how demanding that alone can be. They were battling and feeling chaotically swamped.

Do you see the glass as half-full or completely full?When I started asking them about their aspirations for the business, I continued to ask how that business would fit in the overall context of their lives. I asked them what was on their ‘bucket list?’ They answered with, “We don’t like to think about those things because we know we’ll probably never make them happen!”

Long story short, we separated the issues. We figured out a long-term and exit strategy, re-branded their business, recruited a new team, identified and worked on their skill-sets and rebuilt their self-confidence. Today they are way ahead of that dark day. They now have a swimming pool and play areas in their back yard for their children. They are taking holidays with their family and their business is in far better shape.

It starts with asking yourself better questions, like changing “Why can’t we have that lifestyle?” to “How could we make that happen?”

If you need any help with it, feel free to contact me via this website for a chat or call  0419 860 382. 

 

 

 

To Greet or Not to Greet – ‘Why?’ is the Question!

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth

Jo takes in the magnificent view of Perth city

The young, respectable-looking couple bounced cheerfully up the gravel path towards us, chatting happily with each other and breathing in the delightfully fresh morning air of the Zamia Trail at Perth’s Bold Park. Their facial expressions changed however, from a contented beam to a poker face as they realised they were not alone in this urban wilderness.

My partner, Jo and I were out for an invigorating morning stroll in one of the City’s most beautiful walking trails, surrounded by spectacular, natural Australian bushland and we were descending down the path towards the young adults.

I could sense a certain uncertainty from them as to whether or not they would acknowledge our existence.

“Good morning” I said chirpily and smiled at them. I was proud of myself for getting out of bed to go and do a 5.1 kilometres walk.

The relief on their faces was palpable as they turned towards us and smiled radiantly back without breaking stride, in as perfectly synchronised a fashion as a pair of those bizarre swimmers at the Olympics. The only things missing from the display were the nose plugs and the speedo’s! They were very polite and seemed genuinely cheered that a complete stranger had taken a moment to greet them.

“That was interesting “I observed, deriving a smattering of amusement from my little social experiment.

“What do you mean?” asked Jo, somewhat bemused by my comment.

I had been inspired to conduct this exercise when a memory was jogged in me by a middle-aged gentleman (older than me obviously!) I had said good morning to him only minutes before and he had completely blanked us. Jo had theorised “Maybe he didn’t hear you or maybe he didn’t speak English, or maybe he was just a rude bxxxxxxd!”

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

The beautiful Hyde Park in Perth

“That reminds me of something I was pondering a while ago at Hyde Park” I replied.

A while back I had got into a routine of going for very early morning walks around Hyde Park in Perth. That’s when I began thinking about a strange phenomenon that I had noticed.

When you encounter people out walking or jogging early in the morning, most of them it seems, give you the kind of greeting normally reserved for old family members you haven’t seen for years, often accompanied by a weather report.

“G’day mate!” they’ll bellow, “Lovely day for it, eh? Think we’re past the worst of the rains now.” They’re always glowing with positivity and energy, as if there’s some kind of secret battery charger hidden in the bushes next to the lake that they plug themselves into, to start the day beaming. Even the joggers wearing earphones will nod and grin as they bounce past.

Then I noticed that when I walked around that same park later in the day, hardly anyone will move their head, nor will their face crack. Very few will acknowledge you or say hello, unless…

You say it first. If you smile and say hello, in Perth at least, most people will as a minimum, nod and possibly smile. Some will even speak to you. That’s because on the whole, Perth is a friendly city.

I’ve also conducted this experiment overseas, and the one that really blew me away was in England. In London, down South, if you speak to someone in public, especially on the Underground, they will assume you are either (a) an unpredictable nutter or (b) about to mug them. Either way, their initial reaction is often very defensive, and that’s in the daytime. In Manchester, up North, you couldn’t shut them up! If you spoke to a random stranger there, they’d tell you their life story. Now I know where my Mother got it from!

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

The great ocean views make you smile at Bold Park (Rottnest Island in background)

 

I realise that some of it is down to population size. Those of you who may remember the ‘Crocodile Dundee’ movies would recall that when the hero, Mick Dundee walked down the street in his Aussie Outback town, everyone knew each other’s business and they all said ‘G’day’ to everyone. When he travelled to New York in the movie’s sequel, it was comical when he walked through a massive crowd trying to say ‘G’day’ to everyone he met until he became overwhelmed.

Some of it may also be a cultural thing. Some nationalities have a culture of being chattier and more open than others. I found that very interesting when I owned a backpackers hostel business for fourteen years.

 

 

One thing I have reaffirmed everywhere though is that a smile is universally understood. A nod with the smile is respectful and polite. Combine those two with a genuine greeting and positive body language and you may just make a new friend. Ignore people or put up a defensive or even hostile countenance and they will mostly ignore you. If you DO make the effort though, you may notice an increase in your own energy.

So there you have my quirky ramblings. The question for you is, ‘To greet or not to greet?’ Don’t grin too hard or people may think you a grinning idiot, but smile warmly and authentically, and the world smiles with you  🙂

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Monty Python made a movie about it

Monty Python made a movie about it (Image courtesy of Monty Python)

‘What is the meaning of life?’ is a question mankind has asked ever since Mr Neanderthal had too much time on his hands around the late night cave fire. But what is your answer, specifically for you?
It’s probably still a question that most of us ask of ourselves at some point, perhaps when things have gone badly – a loved one has passed away, a marriage has broken up or a career has ended abruptly?
All too frequently though, it is filed in the ‘too hard’ basket, because in reality none of us can solve such a big conundrum on behalf of mankind.
But what of those people who seem to have figured something out?

There has to be a better legacy than mayhem

Suicide Bomber Training School – Image courtesy of www.StrangeCosmos.com (cartoonist unknown)

 

Sure there are the religious zealots, who have surrendered their lives to a perceived higher power. We’ve seen the potentially lethal results of unquestioning commitment to someone’s interpretation of what God/Allah/Jehova (substitute your preferred version there) says we should do with our lives. If a person decides that being a suicide bomber is the thing they want to be remembered for by their loved ones, then who am I to argue with them. That’s nothing new by the way – people have fought to the death in the name of religion for millennia. My choice would be something more people-friendly than that.
I loved Dr Demartini’s story, where a scroll was made in his honour, featuring much of his life’s work – his teachings, and it was placed inside the sealed vault at Vatican City to be opened and read by future generations in a thousand years’ time. That made me go “Wow!”
So, one answer would be that your life’s work might be kept and referred to by future man. Your name would be spoken, just as the names of greats like Gandhi, Da Vinci, Socrates and Darwin have been revered.
It’s certainly a factor in why I recently wrote my book, ‘If Life’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Well’. I’d like to think that somewhere, a long way away, perhaps many years from now, someone might read it and be inspired by it in some way. I might never even know about it, but just the possibility of that happening is a cool concept for me.

 

Tony, Kim and Craig Inman

My daughter, Kim and son, Craig

In truth though, I was already a lucky man long before I burned the midnight candles required to complete that project. One of my greatest legacies is my family. Not everyone has offspring, but I have been blessed with a son, a daughter and now a grandson. I hope there will be more to follow!
My parents had four surviving children, ten grand-children and around about twelve great-grand-children. Now that’s definitely a legacy. It’s something unique that defines your existence in this realm.

 

Perhaps what matters more, however, is not just whether you created new life, but how you lived your own.

Did you live it in pursuit of your dreams or did you just exist? I know that to some people my whole ‘Living the Dream’ maxim might seem a tad corny – especially to someone who’s slogging away just trying to feed a family and pay the bills. Most of us have experienced that at some point in our journey through life. The point is though, that merely existing is only a stage we pass through. If we get our act together, we will, and do, come out beyond that tunnel and into the light. So, if you were able to wave a magic wand, what life would you really like?
I’m not here to give you the answer – merely to prompt you to think about your own answer, because thinking about it is the starting point to creating it.
Until next time, ‘Seize the day!’

 

Tony manages a business and a great lifestyle!

Steve Wholer

Steve Wholer

Tony has managed to be a business owner and yet have a great lifestyle.

A skill that few of us have.

Steve Wholer

Owner, Computer Resolutions WA

Let Your Light Shine

Nelson Mandela - Former President of South Africa

Nelson Mandela – Former President of South Africa

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Nelson Mandela

From his 1994 inaugural speech

(written by Author Marianne Williamson)

President Mandela’s speech captivated the world.

As a man who spent 26 years in prison for speaking out against the racist regime of apartheid in South Africa, he did not speak of revenge for the injustice – he simply promoted peace and harmony.

He encouraged people to overcome their fears and be the best they could be.

So the question is ‘ Are you allowing your light to shine or are you letting your fears get in the way?’

Food for thought!

Here is the full speech:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is written within us.

It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

 

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xoˈliːɬaɬa manˈdeːla]; born 18 July 1918) is a South African anti-apartheid activist, revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, the first to be elected in a fully representative, multiracial election. His administration focused on dismantling apartheid’s legacy, and cutting racism, poverty and inequality. Politically a democratic socialist, he served as president of the African National Congress (ANC) political party from 1991 to 1997.

Image and background information courtesy of Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Mandela

“Tony has been a fantastic sounding board…” – Juan Rando, Perth

Juan Rando, Owner - Juan Rando Dance Academy

Juan Rando, Owner – Juan Rando Dance Academy

“Although I have a successful business, I felt overwhelmed when my partnership broke up.

Tony has been a fantastic sounding board and has helped me rebuild my focus, enthusiasm, vision and profitability.”

Juan Rando, – Owner, Juan Rando Dance Academy

 

Juan operates Perth’s premier dance academy in Subiaco, Western Australia.

If you have been thinking about learning to dance JRDA caters for all levels, from those wishing to simply have fun, meet people and improve their fitness (and their sex life!) right through to aspiring professional dancers and instructors.

Check out his website at: http://www.jrda.com.au/

 

JRDA provides classes in various styles too:

Cleared to Final

Two of my favourite planes

Two of my favourite planes – Cessna 152 & Piper Warrior

After over two hours on my own, suspended in the tiny Cessna 152 training aircraft, navigating my way over the fields and railway lines of Normandy in north-western France, I was filled with nervous excitement when I spotted an airfield in the distance.

That airfield was Rennes airport and I had never seen it from the air or landed there before.

It was a defining moment in my life story because this was one of the final stages of gaining my Private Pilot’s Licence – a solo cross country flight, landing at Rennes and Dinard before returning to my home base of Jersey, the largest of the English Channel Islands.

For a nineteen year old I was quite mature and confident. In that same year I was promoted to a Deputy Store Manager in a supermarket with 23 staff. That was one thing, but flying solo at two thousand feet over the English Channel, map-reading my way down the French coast and finding an unfamiliar airstrip was quite another test of self-reliance altogether.

I contacted Rennes Air Traffic Control and was cleared to descend and join the circuit.

Although I was still a student pilot, my training had been thorough and I had picked things up quickly owing to a lifetime of affinity with aviation. In fact I had ‘gone solo’ one fine but grey afternoon on the grass airstrip at Lessay, after just nine hours of training – one of the most memorable moments of my life.

Flying solo for the first time had been another defining moment for me – that heart-pounding moment when the instructor says, “When you land this time, pull over on the side of the runway but keep the engine running.’
Then, said my instructor, John Pedley, ‘Ok mate, you’re ready. Just do one circuit, request a full stop this time, park it over there and I’ll see you in the bar. Enjoy yourself.’

Taking my parents to France for lunch

Taking my parents to France for lunch 1981

I was born with avgas in my blood. My father had joined the Air Force as a mechanical apprentice at fifteen and was fixing Spitfires on Malta, Sicily and in Egypt during the War, before a lengthy career as an aircraft engineer for British Airways in Jersey. My eldest brother became a commercial helicopter pilot, having served with the Army Air Corps, and my sister was a stewardess for British Airways. No wonder I loved assembling and painting model aircraft kits as a child.

When I was seventeen, Dad got me a summer holiday job at a small airline he had joined while in semi-retirement, called Intra Airways.

I had the joyful job of cleaning the aircraft on the turnaround between flights. I had felt important, driving support vehicles across the airport apron, putting locking pins in the undercarriage of the old Dakota DC 3’s, wiping oil off the engine cowlings and directing passengers which way to walk to the terminal building. The downside was in having to empty the bucket from the chemical toilet, but even that unsavoury task did not diminish the joy of working with my father and being ‘one of the guys’ at Jersey airport.

So on that July day in 1980, as I joined the downwind leg of the Rennes circuit and began my pre-landing checks, with my hands on the controls, I felt literally as free as a bird.

I think I had goose bumps as the tower controller said, ‘Golf Romeo November – you are clear to final.’

Before I knew it I was cleared to land. The wheels greased smoothly onto the bitumen and I taxied my plane to a parking spot in front of the control tower.

As I turned off the engine, I threw my hands in the air and yelled ‘YESSSSS!’

I think it was a little from nervous relief as it was from exhilaration. The concentration had been intense, realising that the only person I could count on to bring that plane down safely was me.

I had to have my log book stamped by Customs to prove I had been there, before flying on to Dinard, then back to Jersey.

When I gained my wings at the Channel Islands Aero Club in Jersey that Summer, I was very proud of the achievement.

Tony-flying-Rotto2007

Tony flying in WA

When I reflect on it though, a large part of my pride stems from the fact that it represented the realisation of a huge dream come true.

I had set the goal to obtain my licence; I had researched what I needed to do; I had sought the finance required – I took out a two thousand pound bank loan; I enrolled in the course; I studied the things I needed to study – navigation, meteorology, principles of flight, air law, radio procedures, airfield procedures, flight planning and much more.

I had made a commitment to myself and I saw it through, overcoming occasional fear and self-doubt, carried with the wind of desire and determination beneath my wings.

As a metaphor for life in general, it was a great testament to the power of a dream.

Sir Winston Churchill once remarked that, ‘Nothing can stop the totally committed will’ and I am a firm believer in his maxim.

If you decide that you really want something, and of course it fits with your ethical and moral values, then if you commit to its completion, and really apply yourself, you can overcome any obstacle, rise to the challenge and live the life of your dreams.

We are blessed to live in a free country, surrounded by resources at our disposal if we will but look and ask. We live in a place where the seemingly impossible can be made to happen, and the difficult – well that just serves to make the challenge worthwhile.

So I hope that you have not given up on your dreams and settled for less because opportunity is all around us.

I recommend that you encourage others as you yourself would like to be encouraged. The power of a good support team is not to be underestimated.

If you would like any help with defining your goals or planning their accomplishment, please feel free to contact me for a chat. I offer a free discovery session.

Life coaching, lifestyle consulting or whatever you prefer to call it, can help you rediscover the dreams and goals you may have filed in the ‘too hard basket’. What if, just maybe, you could still do them?

Do you dare to dream?

Until next time, may you live your life with passion!

Tony Inman