Learning to face your fears to find ultimate happiness
Each of us has a vision that seems to be at the edge of what’s possible for us, resonates deeply in our hearts, would require us to be at our best to accomplish it, and if successful would transport us beyond who we thought we were. The issue is, often there’s a lot of fear standing between us and that vision. There’s action that has to be taken between determining a goal and conquering it. And that’s where most people get stuck.
I have always been drawn to the ocean but have also been afraid of it for a large part of my life. Born in country Victoria, I almost drowned at a young age and when my family later moved to Queensland, I was living my childhood fears on a daily basis. I loved the beach, but I lacked confidence in the water and so it turned into something I focused all my energy towards, which later developed into my greatest strength.
Fast forward a few years to 2014-2015 I reached my highest achievement so far by winning the Big Wave Paddle-in Award and was a three time runner up in the ASL Big Wave Awards. I've coached many of the worlds best athletes including world champions such as Kelly Slater, Marcus Buchecha, elite military groups from the SAS to Navy Seals and billion-dollar tech companies from around the world. After years of amazing experiences, coaching and studying, I found my niche in specialising in the process of how people deal with fear and how to manage high stress and intense situations in both the water and in everyday life.
In my own professional experiences, I have dealt with fear on such a high level that the ‘loss of life’ has been a very real scenario. I would often come home after surfing at big wave locations and try to re-create the situations where I was scared - the times I lost my nerve, my ability to function effectively and when I was totally overcome by fear. Specialised coaches supported me on this journey in a safe and controlled environment, so I could figure out the process of reducing fear in different situations.
This training allowed me to become more confident within myself, which saw amazing projects start to evolve - like parachuting out of aircrafts at 5,000ft in search of unknown big waves, driving me into a whole new type of fear. Being comfortable when your body is spinning around at terminal velocity was a challenge that tested my skillset to its limit. It was during these experiences that I started to understand how the human body and mind deals with fear. I decided to map out the process, as I could see the cross over was the same regardless of what you were doing - it was still the feeling of fear, the sequence in which our bodies shut down is the same no matter what the scenario. Exploring new types of mental awareness and mindful training allowed me to operate in a highly productive manner during these fearful, intense, high stress or anxious moments. I realised how important this was to my personal and professional development, how much it changed what I was able to achieve and the opportunities it gave me to grow.
To further understand the effect of ‘feelings’ both physically and mentally, I spent over 16 years working with Kinesiologists with a further 18 months of intense mental and emotional training with a lady in the forest of Ubud. After working alongside another coach who spent 15 years in India working on just one section of the brain, all of my learnings were leading to how I could accurately lay out and understand this process in order to improve the lives of others. But I wanted more scientific answers versus the feeling I felt, so I could clearly articulate how that response could be processed for others to understand themselves and use to their benefit.
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MEET YOUR COACH
Mark Visser is an Australian big wave surfer, author, keynote speaker and ocean adventurer. He is the 2014/15 Big Wave Paddle-in Champion and 3x runner up for the ASL Big Wave Awards. He is known as one of the fittest watermen in the world. Visser is a coach to many world champion athletes, professional sporting teams, business and elite military groups around the world.
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