Published April 23, 2014
This post is part of the ALIVE in Berlin Blog Tour, which is spreading the power of
ALIVENESS to the masses. ALIVE in Berlin is a global gathering devoted to personal
transformation that takes place on the 30th and 31st of May 2014 in Europe’s most exciting city. The event will bring together worldclass experts, visionaries and change
makers from a variety of communities and disciplines. Together, we’ll explore the
common threads that connect us and make us come alive. To learn more and join us,
It is the 7th of February 2009.
It’s nearly midnight. Hubby and I are holed up in a pub in the middle of Nowhere, Australia, with a heap of other stranded people. The area is surrounded by fire and I’m on the phone with my Dad.
It’s baking hot and my eyes are streaming non-stop from the biting smoke that penetrates everything. I’m scared. A hundred thousand thoughts are running wild in my head. One of them clearly says: this could end badly. And I nearly say it…those words…’Hey, Dad, if anything happens to us, make sure the kids are ok.’
To this day, I cannot say, or write or even think those words – that I left unsaid – without my eyes welling up with tears. Imagine.
Never being able to hug your kids again.
The world will call it Black Saturday. But we don’t know that yet. We don’t know we’re in the middle of an historic day. Marysville alone, where we find ourselves when it all starts, will lose 97% of it’s buildings. And 34 of it’s 500 people. The total death toll of the fires will add up to 173.
Right now, there’s no electricity or mobile coverage, so we are clueless. All I know is that I can’t breathe. That the heat is unbearable. Outside, fire engines are racing past. One minute they head one way, just to turn around a minute later and head back exactly the way they came. It’s like watching a tennis match.
People are rushing in and out of the pub. Like me, many of them are talking on the phone, trying to warn their family and friends or just trying to get in touch with loved ones. Babies are crying.
It’s utter confusion.
Only hours earlier, our fate had been decided. If Steve hadn’t been outside of our weekend cottage drinking a beer, if he’d been inside with me…we would have got swept away.
As it happens, I suddenly hear him calling. ‘Kath, you gotta come out and see this.’ There’s an urgency in his voice. I get up and step out.
I can still see him standing there. Facing me but looking up and beyond. I can also see myself, like in a movie, turning around to see what he sees. My heart misses a beat (I’m sure) and my knees go weak. There’s a fireball rolling down the hill. And it’s heading towards us…fast.
Then there’s the couple from the cottage next door. ‘We’ve got to leave. Now.’ They tear me out of my stupor. And then we run. Grab a few things. As we pull out of the drive, the fire touches our back bumper. For weeks after, the car will reek of smoke and every time I drive, I’m back there.
The week that follows is tough. I cry. A lot. The news are horrific. And you can’t escape them. The media is having a feast. A lot of people have died unspeakable deaths. Why them and not us? Survivor’s guilt suddenly becomes real.
Then I pick up the phone. My call is to The Coaching Institute in Melbourne, and it will change my life forever.
I had to nearly die to come ALIVE.
I will spend hours and days at TCI over the next 6 months. Every time I open the front door, I feel like Alice going down the Rabbit Hole just to discover that there’s another world down there that I never even knew existed.
I am like a sponge, willing to soak up every last bit of information. I love the coaching, but what really grabs me is business in general. It becomes my passion, my reason and my way to connect with people. It forces me to do things I have never done before. Network. Speak in front of an audience. Work harder than I ever have. Overcome limits. Learn to be patient.
I didn’t know then where it was going to lead or what it was that I wanted to do with all that information. In fact it took me a couple of years before I figured out my place in all of this. But I started and ran my first business whilst figuring. A serious business that had a greater turnover in it’s first year than the average Australian small business does.
Today I come ALIVE when I’m in session with my clients and talk business. I love sharing what I’ve learnt over the past 5 years. It’s been a bumpy ride. But it’s been worth it. I’m not the same person that I was. I’m better. And I continue to get better. Not just at business, but at life. That’s what I love about business…it’s the biggest journey of self development that you could possibly take.