Alastair and Roz

Alastair Creamer in conversation with
Roz Savage

Roz has rowed across three oceans, single-handed.  In 2018 I asked her to make a short film about being bold, since when we’ve become firm friends.  We’re also colleagues, coaching alongside each other.  Roz’s inner resourcefulness is immense and her response to the crisis is an inspiration to me.

Note 1: March-May

“I know there is a gift in this”

Two forces collide to create something new – work disappearing, and realising you know about something others need.  The result?  A book.

For many of us, isolation is a new experience in our remote locations.  Not for Roz who has spent months alone on the ocean.  Once she decided what to do, her diary read like this:

Friday 20 March          Had an idea to write a book in three weeks about isolation

Monday 23                  Started writing

Friday 10 April             Finished writing, editing begins

Thursday 16                Published as an Amazon ebook: The Gifts of Solitude

She calls this a ‘greatest hits’ collection from her rowing days.  It’s music to my ears.  She talks about learning from the big, tough, experiences life throws at you.  I know this to be true.  For a life lesson, give me something that goes wrong any day.

Note 2: May-July

“Relaxing into uncertainty

Roz is letting go of trying to know the unknowable.

“I know that I will know.  But not now.” says Roz.  “I’m learning to trust in life and surrender control.  It’s going to be ok.”  She told me she had “stopped efforting” – worrying less about the immediate future.  That phrase made such an impression on me, I’ve adopted it as my mantra. 

She sends me a message from a CEO who remembers her speaking at an event several years ago: 

As a rower raising awareness of climate change, every stroke of her oar and each subsequent keynote was a “feather on the scale,” shifting downward, lightly, the side representing positive change.  “We have put weights on the wrong side for decades, so it will take a while for the balance to tip toward the moment when the weight tilts to the right side of history.”

Note 3: July-August

“Chaos and coracles”

Halfway through our final chat, Roz shows me the blade of one of the oars that broke during her Atlantic voyage.  She commissioned someone to paint what looks like a modern coat of arms.  In the middle is the yin/yang symbol of order and chaos.  It’s the sign of her times, a balancing act.  Roz lives this duality daily.  I’d describe it as a calm alertness and I envy her.

Our three conversations have had a tidal quality, ebbing and flowing over the same subjects.  So much has happened these past 6 months.  To begin with, like so many of us, her diary cleared itself.  Since then she’s written and published a book, The Gifts of Solitude, almost completed her Doctorate, prototyped new formats with The Sisters, is close to delivering TEDx Stroud Women, and has a new concept of leadership based on Taoism, neuroscience, biomimicry and chaos theory.  With all these waves to catch, again I envy her. 

And somewhere in our conversation she mentions coracles, round boats.  “As we move forward, maybe we need a container, in which the group, rather than an individual, is prized.  With no leadership to speak of, we must all be leaders.”

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