Guest blog by Jess Caire
Last year was a turning point for me. I felt like I had made great headway in my business, I seemed to be getting my shit together on the elusive work-life balance, and I felt more in control of the working mummy life than ever.
Then a client of mine suggested I undertake a Tony Robbins Unleash Your Power weekend. My first reaction? No way! Are you crazy? Isn’t that the 7ft American guy yelling at me from a stage? And don’t you have to jump around and hug random strangers? (FYI, yes you do.)
But I had made myself a promise to try new things and reach new heights and leave some of the judgment that had been holding me back behind. So… I did it. I booked a ticket. And this same client said, ‘If you’re going to do this, do it right, and get a ticket to the VIP room.’ I had to overcome a few, ‘Am I am good enough to be in a VIP room?’ moments, but I got over myself and bought the ticket.
So in September 2015, I headed off to UPW in Sydney, full of nerves and trying very hard to keep an open mind about what lay ahead.
Fast forward two hours I am in the VIP room, feeling very much a non-VIP, when I look around and see Turia Pitt. I was a bit star struck, but I made myself a deal – by the end of the weekend I HAD to introduce myself. Well as luck would have it I didn’t have to wait that long. As we lined up to go into our assigned area, she stood next to me. We bonded over our Mimco handbags. She introduced herself. I smiled and said, ‘Hi, I’m Jess,’ and from that moment on we rode the Tony Robbins wave together – and what a ride it was.
Turia and I hit it off; I was drawn to her zest for life, and her hilarious no-bullshit approach to just about everything — and an instant friendship formed. For those of you who are familiar with a Tony experience, you know there is a fire walk involved. Firewalk/burns survivor ‘nuff said! I know how much I was worried about it; I can’t even imagine what she was going through. As it got closer, Tony’s guys came over to Turia and said Tony wants to do the walk with you. She said sure, as long as my friend Jess comes too. And just like that, we were ripping our socks off and went backstage with Tony Robbins, getting ready to charge at some hot coal.
Tony went, Turia went and then I went. We nailed it! A bond was formed, and that moment remains among the most magical of my life. I watched someone overcome something so huge, and she didn’t just overcome it, she stared it down and owned it.
Later that night we started talking about cool shit to do in life (you know, I’d just walked on fire so I was pretty much invincible) and she started talking to me about her Inspired Adventures, and how the next one was Kokoda. I said I’d always wanted to do that. She just looked and me and said, well do it, next year with me. Ten minutes later I had an email entitled “Kokoda Bitch” with the details listed. By the end of the weekend I had signed up, committed to the trek, and the fundraising for Interplast that goes with it.
A few months later it dawned on me that it was real. I had committed. And in that moment I had made a decision to do something fantastic, something huge that allowed me to pursue a passion – helping people less fortunate than me. Raising money for Interplast is a hugely rewarding experience, and to know that people who can’t afford reconstructive surgery in developing countries are getting it because of movements like Turia’s inspired adventures is awesome.
On May 23 a team of us, led by Turia and including my dear friend and partner in fundraising Sally, will jump on a plane to Papua New Guinea, and trek the 96km Kokoda Trail. Ten days, no phones, no emails, no outside world – just us, the ghosts of WWII and Turia’s zest for life.
I’m not going to lie – I’m bloody scared. Mostly about being away from my kids for 11 days. But also about how I’m going to cope with the gruelling trek.
I knew meeting Turia would change my life, but I didn’t realise it would change how I looked at life. That shift in perspective has allowed me to shake off those judgements (including my feelings about Tony Robbins weekends – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it). I’ve set myself free of some of that inner torture that has weighed me down all of my adult life, and stopped me from being the best I can be.
It’s a work in progress, but I feel like I’ve taken my first step.
Jess Caire is a mother of two, wife, insomniac, business owner and a proud South Australian. If you would like to know more about Jess’ Kokoda Trek or her life, head over to her FACEBOOK or visit turiaskokodatrek.gofundraise.com.au. If you would like to know more about Interplast Australia & New Zealand, head on over HERE.