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5 Lessons from Roz Savage - the First Woman to Solo Row Across 3 Oceans

5 Lessons from Roz Savage - the First Woman to Solo Row Across 3 Oceans

Rosalind “Roz" Savage MBE, is an adventurer, author, ocean rower and environmental campaigner. Roz has rowed over 15,000 miles, taking over 5 million oar strokes, and spending cumulatively over 500 days at sea, living in a 23-foot rowboat!!


Rosalind “Roz" Savage MBE completely turned her life around from a career in management consulting to a life of adventure. After deciding to leave everything stable and secure behind, Roz set out to become an ocean rower and raise awareness for sustainable living. Today, Roz is the only woman to have rowed across the world’s “Big Three” oceans, a span of over 15,000 miles!

This record-setting adventurer has much to teach us about embarking on a life of adventure and using our minds to achieve our desires.

1. Connect with a Life Vision

Jumping into a life of adventure didn’t come quickly for Roz. It took her 11 years in a consulting job to admit to herself that it wasn’t what she wanted to do. After a bad day at the office, Roz decided to write two versions of her obituary. One focused on how she wanted to be remembered and the other focused on what her life trajectory currently looked like. Roz realised that the way she was living wasn’t how she wanted to live her life and she needed to make a radical change.

“Once you connect with that powerful vision of how your life would be if you were living without fear, you can’t go back to pretending you don’t know,” Roz explained. With her own vision in mind, Roz made some tough decisions and ended up letting go of everything that gave her a sense of security.

For Roz, it was almost like being born again. Living without a plan was something Roz wasn’t accustomed to but she learned that having no plan leaves room for the serendipitous. Roz also developed a confidence that she could find somewhere to live and feed herself completely on her own in this new life of hers.

Roz soon went to Peru on her first adventure, going on an expedition and then going her own way for a few months. This was a life-affirming experience as Roz learned to trust her instincts rather than plan everything out. Having gone with the intention to write a book, Roz didn’t care what happened as long as it was interesting.

2. Learn From Those Around You

As Roz continued down the path of a more adventurous life, she became aware of critical environmental issues and wanted to do something about them. After someone mentioned rowing across an ocean, the idea stuck in Roz’s mind and she decided that would be a brilliant way to get people’s attention and talk about this issue.

With most adventures, you can usually find someone who’s done something similar. Roz is a proponent of getting as much advice as you can. She made a massive to-do list breaking down everything that needed to happen before the race into baby steps and got to it.

Roz decided to compete in the Atlantic Rowing Race to give a structure and deadline to her first attempt at rowing across an ocean. The ambitious adventurer stayed so busy with preparations that she didn’t have much time to second guess herself. In 2005, Roz became the first woman to complete the Atlantic Rowing Race solo.

3. Develop Mind Discipline

With any of these challenges, it always comes down to the mind. Roz noted, “When you’ve got that absolute determination to see something through, it’s amazing what you can do.”

Working with a sports psychologists helped Roz gain useful mindset techniques, but she had to learn it all over again out on the ocean. Roz said she made every mistake in the book from overwhelming herself by focusing on the entire journey to feeling guilty for letting her discipline fall apart.

In almost total isolation, Roz had to learn to keep her discipline and cling to a routine like her life depended on it. She found it much easier to get through the days by making her routine non-negotiable.

4. Manage Your Thoughts

Rowing on the Atlantic was a tough year for Roz. Despite all four of her oars breaking, the toughest aspect was negative mental dialogue. Because her stereo had broken, Roz had only her thoughts to distract herself and that proved to be a major obstacle.

The aha moments of dealing with this challenge turned out to be the highlights of the trip for Roz. After a day of negative thinking, Roz remembered her desire to get out of her comfort zone. That was part of why she was embarking on this journey. Of course, things would be uncomfortable!

It’s difficult to quit an ocean row when you’re out in the middle of nowhere and help is days away. Even when she couldn’t stand it, Roz was in it for the long haul. “I will never forgive myself if I give up now,” she’d repeat to herself.

The expedition wasn’t just about the challenge, it was about her whole life direction. Thinking about what the future Roz would think of the current Roz’s decisions gave her the long-term perspective she needed to overcome negative thinking and challenging obstacles.

5. Tap into a Higher Purpose

Wanting to be successful as an adventurer and ocean rower kept Roz going no matter what. After a tough time on the Atlantic, Roz told herself that all of insights and aha moments would help on her next journey. She was determined to take the person she’d become after the Atlantic row and make that ‘Ocean Roz’ a part of her daily life. Successfully rowing across the Atlantic ocean made Roz respect herself in a whole new way.

“The really cool stuff happens when we tap into some sort of higher purpose,” Roz said. Your purpose could be simply developing into the best person you can be as an individual. It’s about being open to your intuition and the sense of being called to do something.

For Roz, that was something that would make the world a better place through inspiring people and creating a sustainable future. Finding that sweet spot between your unique talents and what the world needs is where truly incredible things happen.


Roz is on twitter @RozSavage,

I’m also on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL


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