Sunday 20 June 2010

Motivational talk for members of the USAF 100th Maintenance Squadron, RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk.

On Wednesday June 16, 2010, I was invited by Lt. Col Ralph Watson, Commander of the 100th Maintenance Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, Suffolk, to give my Channel Swim talk to members of the squadron to help motivate them and explain goal setting. To do this, I spent most of Tuesday, chopping it down and removing PowerPoint slides to make it about 25 minutes instead of the usual 50 minutes to fit in with their schedule. I e-mailed it across to MSgt James Duncan on Tuesday evening so that they could install it on the PC ready for the 7.30am talk on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday morning, I set the alarm for 5.30am, got ready, and headed for RAF Mildenhall, some 15 miles away, ready to meet with MSgt James Duncan at 7.00am to ensure everything was ready. When we got into the presentation area, I estimated that there were well over 100 US Airmen and women stood to attention, waiting for the commander to enter the room. Just before the start, MSgt James Duncan informed me that they could not load the PowerPoint presentation due to the PC's being upgraded as we spoke. I said, not to worry, we could re-schedule the talk. I sat down in the audience and listened to the commander give his talk, totally relaxed, switched off and not even thinking about my talk.

Above: Msgt James Duncan outside the offices and work area of the 100th Maintenance Squadron.

As he spoke, he started talking about motivation, goal setting etc. and I started to worry. Did he know the PowerPoint presentation wasn't working I wondered? Then I heard "...and so now I'd like to welcome up Paul Hopfensperger who is going to give a talk on goal setting and motivation, and explain what he has achieved in swimming. Paul, please come up and give your talk". I was busy shaking my head saying "No, No", but to no avail! They all applauded, and before I knew it, I was up at the front with over 100 faces eagerly staring at me waiting to hear my talk! Quick thinking was required.

Using NLP visualisation techniques, I did the only thing I could think of, I visualised my PowerPoint presentation in my head, slide by slide and did my talk on the fly. I really got into it, and in fact it may have been better without the slides than with them. I was totally associated into the channel swim. I could see Beccy on the pilot boat, I could feel the water on my body as if it were only yesterday. I will ask for some feedback this week to see what they thought, although they all seemed to enjoy it. At the end, they all applauded, asked questions, and before they went to work, some of the more senior officers had a photo taken with me at the front of the room.

Above right: Me, centre with Lt Col Ralph Watson and six members of his squadron after the talk.

Thank you to Lt Col Ralph Watson for inviting me to speak, and perhaps we could do it again sometime, this time with the PowerPoint presentation and the accompanying photos.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul for the wonderful encouragement. Goal setting is so under rated these days by the younger fact waking up in the morning probably exceeds most of their short term goals, ha. Thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to come visit with us. We look forward to seeing you again soon. Take care and happy swimming to you. JDuncan

Hoffy Swims said...

Thanks very much for this James. Look forward to seeing you again shortly. Best wishes. Paul.