While sitting in The Farmer's Daughter last week, the uncanny name of a lovely cafe in Yarralumla, I was receiving some timely and judicious advice regarding my current state of affairs. For those of you in the business of entertainment I am sure you can comprehend. To you, the pleasant public, our wondrous audience to whom we aspire to delight and captivate, trust me when I say, ‘It is the time spent between each event, each milestone, that is the hardest to manage’. The constant chase and contesting trials for the next gig, the more lucrative job with a more rewarding paycheck and in some cases any job at all honorable enough, at least, to keep the ambition alive.
Sitting in the cafe I got to chatting about all of my experiences. The good and the not-so-good. From learning how to march in a military unit, attaining the skills to fire rifles and anti-aircraft guns to becoming a pilot at the age of 19; working as a specialist consultant for a recruitment firm to pacing the catwalk as a succesful model; becoming a recognisable face on national television to jumping out of airplanes and travelling the world over.
It is a perplexing series of events, influences and occurrences that must take place for anyone to walk that path, a path so contrasting of itself never mind that of the 9 to 5.
As I listened I looked for a sign, a clear messege in the conversation that would tell me how to manage the idle, nonproductive and stressing vacuum of time until my next commision. As we spoke about my life experiences, the early years of my honest and perhaps naive ambitions, I remembered an instruction that was often given to me as a young recruit in the defence forces, ‘You must at all times be in a constant state of readiness’.
When I was 17 I travelled to the Royal Marines Training Centre at Lympstone in England. This, as I was determined to become a pilot in the Royal Air Force, was a means to that end. During my short time there I received that same instruction, ‘You must at all times be in a constant state of readiness’. In the military this applies to every enlisted personnel regardless of rank or duty, even during times of peace,to always be prepared for battle.
I am not fighting a foreign enemy nor do I have any plans to do so. However, It was made clear to me that this lesson still applies. In fact I would say it applies to everyone. That may seem obvious to some of you reading this but consider this; the more ambitious and rewarding our goals, the more time we will spend to achieve them. That is our ambition. But as time passes even the strongest and most driven of us will have moments of doubt and it is in those moments that we find the battle we wage with ourselves. The struggle to keep going or give up. To sacrifice more in the hope of success or to quit and save time, energy and self-regard.
I have fought this battle time and time again and if not for the support of my closest friends and allies I would most certainly have been defeated. One more victim of deserted self-belief. But, sitting by the window in The Farmer's Daughter, ten thousand seven hundred miles away from my home, my refuge, I was enduring. I am still travelling the same path I had set off on almost 3 years ago.
So how does one maintain a constant state of readiness? In my case the daily routine of a 24k cycle, swimming, running and the gym keep me physically in shape while reading, music, study and vocal exercises keep me mentally sound.
Before we left the cafe I was reminded of another saying, the motto of the famous military wing of the British and Australian Special Forces:
– Who Dares, Wins.
A befitting statement no doubt.
* Thank you Diana for your time, support and words of enlightenment. You are a caring spirit and wonderful friend.