In Portland, Maine, September 3, 1987, a commuter airline pilot, Henry Dempsey, fell through a door that popped open 4,000 feet above the ocean. The co-pilot immediately radioed the Portland tower for instructions to make an emergency landing, and asked that the Coast Guard be informed, as he thought Dempsey was lost at sea. Actually, he was hanging on for his life. When the plane touched down, at about 100 mph, Henry Dempsey was holding on with all his might, and his head missed hitting the ground by six inches, as he grasped the landing.
After the plane had landed and somehow, miraculously, Henry Dempsey had hung on and survived, rescuers raced out to the plane. Dempsey had passed out in the trauma of the event, and even in his unconscious state, his bloodied hands had to be pried open to release him from the step he was grasping. His dream to survive was so strong, that he hung on, even in a seemingly lifeless state. This is an extreme case. As hard as it may have been for Henry to hang on, what was the alternative for him? Yes, he could have let go, and then, fallen to a painful and terrifying death. I want to encourage you to hang on to your dream, with everything you have, conscious of it or not.

I have three heroes in my life, my mother, my father and my wife Laura. Before I even knew Laura, she was a successful designer, with her own label… men’s lingerie and loungewear. She had a large vision and strong dream to take her label to the world, and, was right on track. Just when she thought she had found the breakthrough, in the form of a businessman who would fund her vision, she faced her first major challenge. This man, on the eve of handing over the money Laura needed to take her vision and label to the next level, suggested, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted more than profit-share in return for his investment. Laura, shocked, devastated, but confident enough in herself and her ability, turned her back on this man and walked away with her dignity intact, but, no money and a broken spirit.

How do you come back from that type of trauma? It’s not easy. Laura was understandably rocked to the core and her confidence was shattered, for a period time. When I met her, she was working as a retail manager in a menswear store, trying to pick herself back up after her ordeal. I saw the spark in her, but she was not the person she had been, nor was she living her truth. Over the years, Laura tried to come to peace with what had happened, and move on, but something inside her was yelling at her to hang on to her dream and go after it again. She was at the same stage Henry Dempsey was, as he hung on for his life. It would have been very easy to let go, but she would have sacrificed everything that was in her heart to do. Over the years, and unconsciously, the grip she had on her dream got tighter and tighter, until a trip to Bali changed it all.

Hang on by your fingernails until the opportunity comes!
Whilst on a retreat in Bali, Laura’s dream was re-ignited, and she saw a vision to design leather bags and clutches for men and women. She had met some people in Bali who encouraged her and could help her with this venture. She came home excited and quickly booked another flight to Bali to start manufacturing her bags and get her new business running. As the time for her flight to Bali was fast approaching, Laura started panicking. Why? She had no clear designs, no suppliers and no-one to make the bags in Bali. She was on the verge of cancelling the trip when I encouraged her to go anyway. So, she went on faith.

As I dropped her at the airport, she was worried, anxious and nervous, but she went anyway. She checked in, got on board and sat down in her seat on the plane. She was seated next to two men, clearly together and clearly gay. She said hello, they returned the greeting and the plane took off. Not long after the plane was in the air, one of the men asked Laura what she did. She said, ‘I design clutches for men and I’m going to Bali to get them made.’ The two men looked at each other and started laughing. Laura, a little confused, asked, ‘Did I say something funny?’ One of the gay men said to her, ‘Darling, in Melbourne we are known as the ‘Clutch Queens.’ We have over 200 clutches between us!’ You can imagine how the rest of the flight went. There was vodka, laughter and ideas flowing for the next five hours. When Laura stepped off that plane, she had her designs! The rest of her time in Bali flowed like it was just meant to be. She found great suppliers and she found an amazing manufacturer, who she still uses today. Her business was launched.

Well, that was back in 2015, and let me tell you, since that time, Laura has done and achieved some amazing things. Her designs are incredible, the work she has done is tireless, the people she is meeting are influential and the opportunities now coming her way are mind-blowing. She recently, and very randomly, met up with an old friend, who has opened doors for her that she had no idea were there to open. As a result, she was featured in a prestigious online fashion magazine, Casper & Casper. But the biggest breakthrough so far was the introduction to a designer who wants to collaborate and use her bags on the catwalk, at – wait for it – New York fashion week in September this year!

Laura is currently back in Bali, getting her amazing designs ready for New York and the wonderful things that are continuing to come her way as she holds on tight to, and works tirelessly towards, her dream. The LalaRocca label is about to take off, so watch this space. She is at this point in her life, because at no time, did she let go of her dream, even under the most devastating and trying of circumstances. She held on with all her might, because the alternative was not an option. Can you see why I love this lady so much and why she is one of the top three heroes in my life. She inspires me every day, and, I hope this story inspires you.

What is your dream and most important to you? Is it in the front of your mind and are you chasing it hard, or has it fallen by the wayside and you are just hanging on to it by your fingernails? Hang on! Hold tight! If you let go of it, what is the alternative? Sometimes it can seem that letting go of the dream will bring relief and be the best option. It is true, letting go will bring relief, it will remove a source of stress and discomfort, and, it will give you some time back, but will it fuel you, feed you and enable you to live the life you desire? I have always followed the mantra; I would rather live with discomfort, failure and rejection, than live with regret. What about you?

You are on this planet just once, and, you are here for a reason. Your job is to work out what that reason is and spend your life pursuing it. There will be times it seems out of reach, there will be times when it all seems too hard, and there will be times when your grip starts to slip, but, it’s your dream, so, hold on tight!