Discomfort & Risk with Roz Savage


How and why does a management consultant become the first woman to row across three oceans? How does she overcome the ocean at night, and above all, the doubts swirling in her own mind? Roz Savage, environmental advocate and TED speaker, shares the specific process that set her on this wild adventure — one that you can do in under ten minutes.

Highlighted Excerpt:

Roz: I think as women, we do tend to be more susceptible to wanting to please people… Later in life when I started asking big questions about where I was heading, a good friend of mine kept repeatedly asking me, “Well, what do you want?”

That blew my mind. I’d never thought about that. I’d always thought about what I must do… What should I do, what ought I to do? This wanting concept– oh my god– I just couldn’t compute it at all, which was quite a revelation in itself.

Majo: Let’s talk about that. You eventually ended up in a corporate job working several years as a management consultant. Then what happened?

Roz: I spent 11 years as a management consultant. The thing that is rather embarrassing to admit is that I think I knew from day one that it really wasn’t what I wanted. I thought I wanted it, because… when I was 16, we moved to San Diego for my dad’s work, and it really rocked my world. To go from Britain in 1984 where we had cool music but not much else over to Southern California, and to see the standard of living there… it made me very aspirational and materialistic. I wanted to have the money and the big house and the fast car and all that stuff. I thought I needed all of those trappings to be happy. I totally bought into that myth.

When I left Oxford University with my law degree at age 21, I went into the city of London to work as a management consultant. As I say, from day one, I felt like a square peg in a round hole. The clothes I was wearing just felt like a costume. It didn’t feel like it was me. I felt like I was pretending to be a grownup. That’s quite stressful, to pretend to be something that inwardly, you’re just not.

I managed to fake it for over a decade, but towards the end of that time I was really approaching a crisis point. My self-esteem was going down and my stress was going up. And then I had a bit of an epiphany.

I did an exercise that I think I must have found in a self-help book although I couldn’t tell you which book it was…. but it was a real eye-opener and my life was never quite the same after that.

Listen to full episode here.

Show Notes:

  • Roz’s upbringing as the perpetual new girl and her skill at jumping through childhood’s hoops. [1:51]
  • How Roz got stuck for 11 years pretending to be something she didn’t want to be. [10:00]
  • On the epiphany (inspired by a simple self-help exercise) that changed her life. And why she waited to act. [12:58]
  • From self-sabotaging to her lowest point, to finding transformational confidence and her life’s calling. [17:39]
  • How the unlikely idea emerged to use ocean rowing as her platform for bringing environmental awareness. [24:46]
  • Going into the first race (as the only solo female) and the challenges she faced. [29:35]
  • How Roz destroyed self-limiting beliefs and redefined what she was capable of. [35:50]
  • On surprising herself, being grateful for challenges, and choosing to see her discomfort as a clear sign of success. [39:15]
  • The story of her emotional decision to be rescued when she really needed it. [44:11]
  • The toxicity of criticism: Roz’s theory on why people criticize, dealing with with her own inner critic, and how she stays true to her vision. [49:22]
  • Understanding internal motivations and taking ownership over your life. [56:13]
  • On the importance of amplifying heroine journeys, being open to spiritual perspectives, and balancing feminine and masculine energies. [1:00:55]
  • Looking to the future: Roz’s belief that stories like hers help others to challenge old paradigms. [1:09:35]
  • Roz breaks down the exercise that changed her life and discusses the importance of crafting your own story. [1:12:28]

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Roz Savage’s book, Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean.

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