#100: Michelle Lee on Overcoming Obstacles & Oceans - Sparta Chicks

#100: Michelle Lee on Overcoming Obstacles & Oceans

Sparta Chicks Radio

Mar 31
Michelle Lee is back on Sparta Chicks Radio
You’ve just gotta trust yourself and you’ve gotta back yourself. And be brave enough to give it a go.

This theme of backing yourself and trusting yourself is a constant in any conversation with Michelle Lee.

Michelle first joined me on Sparta Chicks Radio back in July, 2017 when she shared her goal to complete the world’s toughest nautical challenge; the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. 

A 4,700km / 3,000 nautical mile solo, unassisted and self-supported ocean rowing event across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain all the way to Antigua in the Caribbean.

In February 2019 after 68 days at sea, Michelle achieved her goal!

And in the process of doing so, she became the first Australian woman to row across an ocean.

Michelle's poor hands after 68 days at sea!

Now there’s one key piece of information you need to know; Michelle did not come from a rowing background.

At the time she set the goal, she had never pulled an oar through the water.

In fact, when Michelle pulled out of the dock at the start of the race, she had never rowed in the open ocean (all her training had been confined to inside Sydney Heads). Wow!

So in this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio, Michelle rejoins me to share what’s happened in the last 18 months since we first spoke, as well as how this incredible race unfolded for her.

This concept of ‘trusting yourself’ and ‘backing yourself’ is tossed around a lot on the interweb these days (often flippantly).

But I really get the sense of it talking to Michelle. She just ‘knew’ that she was going to figure things out and (barring something outside her control) that she would finish.

And to be clear, it’s not about never having doubts; it is ok (and in fact, normal and natural) to question yourself as part of the process.

But I can see (hear?) in her a quiet confidence to figure things out no matter what.

In this conversation we discuss:

* the reason she had to delay her attempt at the race for a year and why it was a blessing in disguise, 

* how she trained to row 12 - 14 hours per day for between 60 and 90 days,

* the reason she hadn’t rowed in the open ocean before she started the race,

* the first time she confronted her fear of sharks and had to jump overboard to do maintenance work on her boat,

* how her relationship with the Imposter Complex has changed over the last 18 months, 

* how things turned incredibly difficult for her after 46 days at sea, 

* the time her stove caught fire and she had to throw it overboard, 

- how her commitment to choosing ‘acceptance over resistance’ (which we discussed in our first conversation) was tested during the trip,

* the highlights of the trip that she’ll remember for the rest of her life,

* the importance of trying (irrespective of what you think the outcome might be), 

* when she knew she would finish (the answer might surprise you), and

* what surprised her most about the journey.

A quick note: Michelle was on a mobile phone throughout our conversation and sounds a little muffled at times. So it might be easier to listen to this one with headphones (also because it has an explicit rating!)

Click here to listen on iTunes.

Notes and resources:

iTunes | Stitcher | Spotify

To find out more about Michelle or to say hello, you can find her on Instagram, Facebook, or via her website

Michelle will be sharing her story in person in Castle Hill, NSW on Friday, 12 April 2019. You can find the details here.