When doubt sows the seeds for success

As far as Australian sport goes, this week is a blockbuster with both the NRL and AFL grand finals taking place, and in the week leading up to these events are a cavalcade of stories of the men that will try and win the respective premierships for their club.

On the AFL’s night of nights, 24-year-old Nat Fyfe won the coveted Brownlow Medal, proving what an outstanding young player he is and earmarking him as a future leader of his team, the Fremantle Dockers.

While Fyfe puts the proof in the pudding of youth achieving high goals, it is an older more experienced player of the ‘other’ code, which exemplifies the message that Wings Around the World (WATW) is sharing about achieving success even in the face of adversity.

Too small and too slow to be a first grade player – that was the verdict on North Queensland Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston in the early 2000’s when he was trying to make a name for himself as a rugby league player.

While there will be an overload of articles praising Thurston this week, it’s important to look past his four Dally M medals, multiple State Of Origin wins and game winning plays for Australia, to note that his greatest legacy may well be that he overcome one of the toughest adversities to now be teetering on rugby league immortality, he reversed the doubt others had in him.

Lack of speed and size were both elements within Thurston’s control. But what he couldn’t control is the doubt that almost everyone in the game had about his ability in the early days of his career. History shows that the Cowboys pulled off one of the best recruiting decisions in their 20-year history and threw a chance to a relatively unknown Thurston, helping him overcome adversity and become one of the most successful players in the history of the game.

It is stories like this that cement the importance of chasing your dreams.

For Lachlan Smart WATW is a huge task. While he has self-belief and a strong team behind him, there will be those that doubt that he can break the world record to become the youngest person in history to circumnavigate the globe solo, in a single engine aircraft. But importantly, there will be people that do believe in the journey, people that will support WATW like the Cowboys supported Thurston.

In a week where Australia awaits the result and the crowning of the champions of our two biggest football codes, remember that every person involved in this weekend’s activities has a story, they have proved that adversity does not limit the level at which success is achieved.

While it’s expected that Sunday’s NRL grand final will be a close contest between two fierce Queensland rivals, the team at WATW quietly hopes that Thurston can help the Cowboys to a maiden title, and continue the narrative of young Australian’s achieving extraordinary feats, even when the odds are against them.

Location in Focus: Fredricksburg, TX

Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country is the small city of Fredricksburg, a location that has a streak of German influence and importantly for us, a unique piece of contemporary aviation culture that makes it a ‘must see’ on the Wings Around the World flight.

Just minutes south of the Fredricksburg city centre, down Highway 16 is the Hangar Hotel, rated among the top 10 hotels in Texas and built from the ground up to have the exterior appearance of a World War II hangar, that paves the way for an intricate interior that features fine materials, memorable furnishings and of course airplane memorabilia.

What sets the hotel apart from others is that Highway 16 isn’t the only way to make your way there. For those arriving by air (perhaps even on a round the world solo flight!), you can pull up your aircraft at the front door and park it out for the duration of your stay – right outside your room!

Fredricksburg will be one of many locations that will present an array of anomalies and aviation quirks, but for now it is a standout for us in both it’s uniqueness and the way it has become entrenched in the local community.

While the hotel is of course a drawcard for avid and casual aviation fans alike, the city has plenty to offer its visitors from historic sites and museums, major events and festivals, live music, parks and outdoor adventures and of course plenty of shopping!

Learn a little more about Fredricksburg, TX! 

For those looking to enjoy what the region has to offer, visit the wineries for a drop of the local vino, or perhaps the a tour of the Garrison Brothers Distillery is more your flavour to see a batch of bourbon made by hand.

Of course the German heritage ensures that Oktoberfest is celebrated, as are traditional dishes, although they are served with the world famous Texan hospitality!

This city was unquestioned when it was put forward for consideration as a stop along the way for WATW, and at this point in time it will be the seventh location for the trip, with two nights planned at this aviation masterpiece.

You can check out more about the Hangar Hotel HERE.

Stop #7 – The nuts and bolts

Country: United States of America

State: Texas

Landing at: Fredricksburg

Name of Airport: Gillespie County Airport

Airspace (controlled/non-controlled): Non Controlled

Number of nights: 2

Coming From: Durango, Colorado, USA

Going To: Destin, Florida, USA

Fuel used to get there (estimated): TBC

Fuel required for the next leg: TBC

Public speaking, you go alright

When I was first asked to speak at the SKÅL National Assembly on the Sunshine Coast, my natural reaction was to be excited that I had been given a platform to share the Wings Around the World story.

Despite my excitement and knowledge that I am able to handle almost any public speaking opportunity, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. Before this my public speaking experience as a key speaker was limited to school assemblies and class assignments – and in those situations I was speaking to my peers who HAD to be there, at SKÅL the audience had chosen to attend and hear me speak.

While my keynote speaking was limited prior to this, the confidence I had in my own ability was bolstered from July’s media launch of WATW, where I found myself speaking to various print, radio and TV media (including a LIVE cross with Sunrise). Needless to say, I was sure that I wouldn’t get stage fright.

Like everything that we do with WATW I wouldn’t approach this speech without a solid plan. When I sat down to get to work I knew all the elements I wanted to have included, I just had to put them together in a way that would be interesting, informative, and hopefully entertaining.

Lachie at the Queensland Air Museum for the SKÅL National Assembly with his mother Vanessa and girlfriend Mikisha

The purpose of this speech wasn’t just to get the word out there about this flight, it was to network, meet new people, and spread my message of setting and achieving goals and hopefully opening a few new doors.

Throughout the journey so far I have come to understand that setbacks are the foundation of success, and sharing that with the audience seemed imperative. I also took the chance to reiterate that what I am trying to do is equally about embracing communal success as it is about personal achievement. The first step in embedding these thoughts throughout my speech would be to get the audience to enjoy what I am saying. So I planned to keep cool, be myself and talk about my trip with passion.

When it eventually came to Friday night, I wasn’t too nervous; it was just going to be like one of my speeches from school, and it couldn’t be harder than staring down a camera to Australia at 7.20am on live TV. That, of course, changed in the 15 minutes before my speech. Everything began to pour out of my head, however I regained my composure as I was introduced and got up to begin my speech. With my confidence and mental notes in check, the speech went quite well and I even managed to squeeze a few laughs out of the group, which made helped me feel at ease.

Afterwards I had the opportunity to speak to and network with a lot of the SKÅL members, which was great. The whole opportunity was absolutely excellent and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I look forward to the next opportunity to share WATW with people and hopefully motivate them to follow their dreams too.

Smart to Speak at Skål National Assembly

Lachlan Smart will this evening deliver a presentation of his story and the Wings Around the World project at the Skål International Australia 92nd National Assembly on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Skål is a professional organisation of tourism leaders around the world with an aim of promoting global tourism and friendship. First founded in 1932, the organisation today has approximately 17,000 members in 400 clubs throughout 80 nations.

Taking place at the Queensland Air Museum this evening, the cocktail event will be hosted by Skål International Sunshine Coast, with Smart set to speak with more than 60 attendees during the opening evening of the national assembly.

During his speech Smart will go into detail about the history behind the world record, and the challenges he has already faced throughout his initially planning stages. You can read more about his expectations versus the reality of this project so far HERE.

He will also discuss with the audience when he is likely to make his charge for the title, as well as taking time to outline a few of the locations he is likely to stop at.

Of course, the trip isn’t just about the record and Smart hopes that his message of people achieving their goals irrespective of what barriers may exist will resonate with the attendees, all of whom are people who are no stranger to chasing their goals.

The evening will also be a chance for Smart to involve those in attendance into his project, with community support a key part of his success. While it is a chance for Smart to share his message, it will also be an opportunity to speak to tourism industry leaders and seek guidance as the Wings Around the World project continues to gain momentum.

We will have updates of Smart’s evening throughout the weekend, with a blog due in early next week reporting back on an evening at the Skål International Australia 92nd National Assembly on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

You can find out more about Skål International Australia HERE

Expectations vs. Reality – We’ve come a long way

A good team is everything, and so far throughout my journey my team has proved to be essential in helping me sort out what is and isn’t important, while also managing my expectations in terms of what is realistically possible.

It’s fair to say that when I set out with this dream I thought it would be easier than it has been. All I would need to do is pick up the phone, have a chat to a few people who would be keen to support (because, why wouldn’t they?) and then all I needed to do is give them some advertising space on a plane. Simple.

What I didn’t think about was the immense amount of planning that goes into this undertaking, and I’m not just talking in terms of the technical/flying side of things.

Wrapped up in the package of what is now ‘Wings Around the World’ is commercial elements, a media team, flight instructors, operational matters, new partners and of course people to keep me grounded in what I expect of myself and my team.

Like anything, the more involved you become in a project, the more new aspects of what is required arise. What began as an idea that an Aussie teenager would go for a flight around the world and be welcomed with open arms by every country he passes through, has turned into a reality of careful planning and conscientious thought of how it will all work out.

Without going into too much detail there are things to consider such as how many different VISA’s I will need throughout the trip; which permits will be required; where, when, how I will refuel the aircraft; where I will book accommodation. There are so many elements that will need to work cohesively to succeed.

Add to that list that I will (hopefully) have partners to keep updated, a website to update, social media chat and media opportunities – all whilst managing the operations of the trip. The actual flight may only be 10 weeks in duration, but it has already been two years of background work and preparation.

While this is a solo trip and it is me that will take the reigns of the plane, I have a dependable group of family and professionals who have varying levels of aviation experience, and importantly I have a core assembly of people who have been through this before to guide me.

I trust the people on my team, and they trust that I can get the job done. The reality of what we are trying to achieve may be moving further away from the expectations I had at the outset, but we have a sound strategy and it is with this team that I believe we will achieve what we have set out to do.

– Lachie