Natalia Cohen has been travelling the world for the last 15 years. With that experience, she’s been immersed in a wide variety of cultures and customs on all continents. Her journey has come with incredible personal insights and understanding of human potential.
Her most recent adventure was to row across the Pacific Ocean with the Coxless Crew. This experience led her to challenge her mind and understand the strength of her own spirit.
Natalia and her team set 2 world records: the first female team to row the Pacific Ocean and the first team ever of 4 to row the Pacific Ocean. The adventure went 9,000 miles from San Francisco for 9 months.
Are you ready for your next great adventure?
Natalia gave us her tips on finding and preparing for a rewarding experience.
1.Be Open to Opportunities When They Come Your Way
It was after her time managing a safari lodge that Natalia saw an advertisement looking for a team of women to row across the Pacific. At first, Natalia thought the idea was ridiculous, but the more she thought about it, the more she believed she could do it. She asked herself, “What actually is stopping me from applying to this ridiculous expedition?” She had never rowed before, so she went to the gym and sat on a rowing machine to try it out. She immediately loved the experience and later applied to be on the rowing team.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities that could change your life. Sometimes the things that seem the craziest are the things we need to learn and grow.
2. Focus on Mental Resilience
In order to get on the rowing team, Natalia had to endure through a number of challenges, many of which were mental. This made mental resilience key. Natalia trained to work on her mind and thought patterns. The team underwent cognitive behaviour therapy and learned how to shift their mental state and deal with things happening around them. Natalia reflected on how fascinating the process was to mentally prepare months before getting close to the starting line.
If you’re going to be doing anything to challenge your physical limits, you need to prepare mentally. Consider what training might help you develop mental resilience.
3. Study with The Experts
To prepare to cross the Pacific Ocean, the Coxless Crew went through a 9 month training period. They took this time to align with experts in every field. They didn’t want to be girls out on a pink boat needing to be rescued. They had to work on strength and conditioning, adding weight in case of calorie deficiency, and learn everything about their boat and more all while keeping full-time jobs. In addition to the physical preparation, the team had to manage PR, marketing, sponsorship, and legal aspects of the adventure. It was challenging and quite overwhelming, so the team members each took leadership over different areas and held each other accountable. They slowly managed to cross off necessary goals and prepare for the crossing.
When you embark on something you’ve never done before, you’ll want to be educated on every aspect of the adventure. Knowing what you need to do in the event of anything unexpected is important for your safety and the success of your mission. Working with experts and people who have experienced what you’re going to do before is a fantastic way to gain the knowledge you need.
4. Break Down the Overwhelm
When you set off to do something out of the ordinary, overwhelm can be a great obstacle. It’s easy to look at the entire journey of what you have to do and feel overwhelmed. Balancing your life on top of all that makes it seem even more difficult. Natalia revealed that one of the best preparations for preventing overwhelm is to break down whatever you have to do into manageable size chunks. Take it day by day or week by week.
9 months of training seemed like a lot to Natalia, but she didn’t let her mind dwell on doubts. To get through training she took it day by day, concentrating all her energy on getting to start line. “When I felt overwhelmed, that’s when I slipped out of the moment,” Natalia explained.
5. Never Lose Your Sense of Humour
Natalia believes that humour and laughter can soften most of life's blows. In fact, she never laughed as much in her life as she did during the expedition. Laughter is how the team dealt with hardships, monotony on ocean and pain. Through training and raising a huge amount of money, the Coxless Crew needed to be positive and optimistic. Little by little, they would get there in the end. It was a test of perseverance and never giving up.
Hear Natalia’s incredible story of rowing across the Pacific Ocean and preparing for the journey on the Tough Girl Podcast!
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