BOLD Women - Jessica Watson

BOLD Women - Jessica Watson

In celebration of ‘True Spirit’, the story of the young and trailblazing Jessica Watson voyaging non-stop around the world at just 16 – I sit and reflect on the moment I was fortunate to become a part of the journey, a moment which was to stop the nation and make history.

There are a few words that come to mind when I think of Jessica; bold, spirited, determined, but most of all fearless, and it is these attributes that reflect the Ella Baché brand, and the amazing women behind it.

It was 13 years ago when I first met Jess, the young and fearless girl determined to non-stop sail around the world, what she needed, was to be ‘backed’, and that’s when Ella Baché jumped on board, when no other sponsor would.

After months of fielding criticism from the media Jess set sail from the Sunshine Coast headed for Sydney where she would officially begin the around the world voyage. The next day I turned on the news at 6am and saw Jess had hit a tanker. The calls from the media were brutal, but we stood by Jess and her dream and a few days later I went out on a zodiac to farewell Jess in Sydney harbor. I was there with Jess’s mum, sister and a 60-minute reporter, no one else. Her dad too nervous to watch.   

So, from the comforts of dry land, Ella Baché became the main sponsor of the journey, whilst Jessica set sail across the globe in ‘Ellas Pink Lady’. Often, throughout her voyage, we would stay in touch through her satellite phone, or over email, which helped us stay connected, but more importantly I hoped it gave her some sense that she wasn’t alone.

Fast forward 210 days, she sailed into Sydney harbor, undoubtedly one of the proudest moments for not only Jess and her family, but all the people that backed her along the way. Jess had not only made it around the world, but she had also fiercely redefined her future, proving that when you set your mind to something, anything is possible.

Jess stopped a nation and proved to the nay sayers that a 16-year-old girl could achieve her dream.

So today, I share many insights and learnings from Jess, whilst celebrating the Bold Moves she has made along the way.

When it comes to living Boldly, anything is possible, the question is are you willing to do what it takes - I have always enjoyed the feeling of being stretched, looking out for opportunities and situations that give me a feeling of slightly daunting and quite simply being bold. But, its these thoughts that are not always easy to sit with, they can feel overwhelming and all consuming, once I learnt to manage these, I realised that I could shift that energy to motivation.

“The ability to make bold choices comes with an attitude where you will challenge the norms, quite often these challenges can sound unrealistic, but with the right amount of sacrifice and dreams, your passion will become so great you can achieve anything.”

Backing yourself is the best thing you can do when it comes to making bold decisions and putting yourself forward – When it comes to feeling confident, the best thing you can do is put your opinions forward and step out of your comfort zone. For me, confidence came during my voyage, it built up naturally as I had an all-consuming purpose were holding back wasn’t going to be a part of my journey.

Stepping out of your comfort zone will bring a period of adjustment – Setting a goal or shifting your focuses to a new challenge brings a moment of mental toughness, its important to allow yourself time to adapt and adjust as you step into a new space of focus.

“Building up confidence requires time; it’s all about taking previous situations and learnings and moving them fearlessly into the future.”

Undoubtedly, we all face setbacks, it's how we learn from them that’s important – Remind yourself of the previous knockdowns you have survived. As it turned out, I hit a 63,000-ton cargo ship right before I set off on the voyage, I turned that moment into an opportunity to prove to myself, and everyone around me just how resilient I could be. I know it’s an absolute cliché but from my experience, challenge makes us stronger!

“Being audacious goes hand in hand with being bold, so how are you going to step up, stand out and make your next bold move?”

My biggest piece of advice to anyone wanting to live boldly – Look at all the people you are inspired by, in whatever field they may be in and ask yourself, why shouldn’t I be one of these people? Figure out what it’s going to take to get yourself there, and then start working backwards!

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