Full text of world champion surfer Layne Beachley’s talk: The Power of Self-Belief at TEDxStHildasSchool conference.
Best quote from this talk:
“Ultimately it’s choice, not chance, that determines our reality.”
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Layne Beachley – World champion surfer
Am I on? Yes, I’m on! Don’t fall asleep down there, okay girls. You look very comfortable.
So I’m thrilled to be here today, and I’m going to talk about the power of self belief.
So the most magnificent being you will ever be is YOU. And if you’re not going to take my word for it, then maybe take it from Dr. Seuss. Because today you are YOU; it’s truer than true. And there’s no one alive that’s more youer than YOU.
So if you were to open up your mind and believe in yourself a lot more, what would your world look like? If you believed you are magnificent, if you believed in your ability to overcome challenges and obstacles. If you believed in unlimited potential and possibility. And if you believed that you have the ability to shape and create your reality, what would your world look like?
And are you willing to step into that aspect of yourself? Are you willing to give yourself permission to be the best versions of you?
That photo on the screen behind me is the moment I claimed my 7th World Title. I had to step into believing to be the best version of myself. It’s the moment I actually stepped into the history books. I became the most successful female surfer of all time; permission to brag.
I did something that not even the king of surfing Kelly Slater can do. I won six World titles in a row. And so I had to believe in myself. But it’s our self-limiting beliefs that actually create the lives that we live.
And if you want to understand what you believe, you just have to ask yourself: what you want. And then the thought that follows that is actually what you tend to believe. Your yeah, buts, your but ifs, are your beliefs.
Winning my seventh world title taught me a lot about myself. It taught me a lot about getting out of my own way. It taught me a lot about believing in myself. It taught me a lot about trusting in my instincts and ability. And it taught me about trusting in ease and grace.
Because, like you, I used to think that success required a whole lot of struggle and trouble and challenge.
Oprah Winfrey once said, and all thought leaders say this: you don’t manifest what you want; you manifest what you believe.
Now to give you a little bit of background about my life, I grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney. I actually grew up at a beach called Manly; anyone familiar with Manly Beach? Yes, it’s the most appropriately man-beach in the world.
And I grew up as the only girl surfer down at Manly beach. These photos of me is a four-year old surfing down at Man Town, I refer to it as… this is actually on the harbor side. I’m waiting for the fairies to come in to create boat wave me to surf on.
I started surfing as a four-year old down at Manly and it was a place that I felt truly connected to. The ocean is something I still feel truly connected to. It’s where I resort to every day to get a sense of balance and a sense of freedom.
And so when I started surfing as a four-year old, it wasn’t an environment that was very welcoming, or a place that was very encouraged for women to consider.
And so I started to find a place where I felt comfortable by surrounding myself with people that believed in me, sometimes more than I believed in myself.
I started surfing as a four-year old right there in the corner of Manly. And then by the time I was six or seven I was paddling out the back on my own and I was dominating the lineup.
But I realized that it was my beliefs that were holding me back. But it was also my beliefs that were actually propelling me forward. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
When I was 8 years old, my dad sat me down and told me I was adopted. And now for anyone in this room that’s ever experienced adoption on any level, from my own personal experience, when my dad told me I was adopted, it was that moment in time that I believed that I wasn’t worthy of love.
I believed I had been rejected by my own mother. I believed that I was worthless, loveless, and I believed I had been abandoned.
That was the belief system that I had in my mind as an 8 year-old. And that gave me a choice, and that’s what obstacles and challenges and setbacks do: they provide you with an opportunity to determine what’s a really important course of action now. What is it that you want to do with this information?
Because when you feel abandoned, when you feel rejected, you have a choice. You can become a victim of your circumstances, or you become a master of your destiny. The choice is yours.
And it’s the choices that you make that determine the realities of your life, or determine the quality of your life.
So I made a choice as an eight-year-old that I’m going to become a world champion. Because I thought if I become a world champion, everyone will love me.
Now I realize it doesn’t work like that, but that is essentially what drove me to become a six-time consecutive world champion. It was that fear of abandonment, that fear of rejection, that fear of being worthless is essentially what drove me to become so successful.
I didn’t allow those setbacks to define me. I didn’t allow those setbacks to hold me back. That was when I clarified my vision that I have to become a world champion.
Now at the time it was anything and everything… anything I was good at, I thought I could become a world champion at. Now obviously my beliefs were a little bit skewed.
I obviously believed in myself a little bit too much. But I had the conviction to clarify what my vision was. And that was to become a world champion.
Now if you want to become successful in anything, here are the three things you have to do.
Number One: you have to be willing to clarify your vision.
Number Two: you have to surround yourself with a great team of people… people who support you, people who believe in you, people who are there to encourage you and people that actually believe in you sometimes more than you believe in yourselves, not the ones that try and drag you down and pull you down and tell you that you can’t, that you won’t, that you never will.
Because I was surrounded by those at Manly. And I refer to those guys as my dream thieves, my life vampires. The guys that would paddle out and growl in my face and harass me in the water and intimidate me, they’d look at me and go, you’re a girl; get out of the water.
And I look back at them and go: what are you doing out here then?