Kate and Cam McLeay. Photo: Florence Charvin

[As published in March/April BayBuzz magazine.]

Four ways to beat ‘overwhelm’ and live the beauty of your dreams.

Do your big dreams overwhelm you? CHARGE ON treasure because YES! You CAN do it. As Martin Luther King Jr said “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step”.

If the size of your dreams vis a vis the busyness of your life cancel each other out or you need a boost of motivation, then read on. The world needs you AND your beautiful dreams. 

Let’s face it, we all know what ‘overwhelm’ feels like. Finding balance within the demands of family, work, friends, community service and so much more in this highly charged, changeable world can feel like a real circus act sometimes. I like to look at the onset of overwhelm as a powerful message that we have a choice to listen to or not. One that whispers love notes beneath the noise. A message to slow down. To take stock. To practice self care. To work smarter not harder. To dig deep. To up level. To remember and activate the beauty of your dreams. 

Here are some top tips I’ve gathered from experience and from folks much wiser than me in this journey of many chapters called life. It’s said that everyone has a chapter they don’t read out loud.

I’ve got a few. Within that few I’ve also got those which make me still pinch myself and ask if they are really real. 

One as a school principal leading a team that turned around a now stellar International School in Uganda. The other is our current gig at Cape South Country Estate and Retreat Centre with a collection of legends arguably bringing to life some of the most epic and transformational wellness retreats and experiences on the planet. Living the dream may look like paradise on the outside. But let me tell you, having a structure and support to get there can really help when the chips are on the table. 

The Uganda chapter

I wish I had had the list below when I embarked on the school principal gig in Uganda. The truth was I was as surprised as anyone to get the job. The school was ailing. When I took the reins there were just 26 students left … 2 of them my own. 

At the time my beautiful man Cam was just as busy as I was with our adventure tourism business. White-water rafting had expanded to include bungee, jetboat, a campsite and a luxury lodge on an island in the middle of the Nile. Thrown into the mix were epic adventures like navigating upsteam to a new, longest source of the Nile river in Rwanda. I mean, who does that?

My angels had an eye out for me. They came in the form of angels on earth. The staff who stayed at the school when I took over and the ones who came were truly phenomenal. So were all of the precious students and many of their parents. I learnt to delegate. To share my vision. To listen to theirs. To think outside the box. 

Another angel on earth came from an unlikely quarter. An older gentleman who was the director of the American International School came to meet me because he wanted to find out why students were coming to us instead of them. He took me under his wing. He provided sage advice on every school-related subject imaginable. He was a remarkable and generous mentor for whom I remain forever grateful. 

Success breeds confidence. The school quickly grew to 260 pupils and we built 10 classrooms. It has since gone on to far more greatness. I still love them all fiercely from afar. In the end I nailed the first 3 points below. The last one not so much. I could set priorities for my workload but not for me. The concept of boundaries and non-attachment were like a foreign language. The chapters I didn’t want to read out loud were yet to bestow their wisdom.

1. Create and give thanks for your vision 

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Organisational Psychologist Benjamin Hardy advises us to set absurdly ambitious goals. I totally love this. Throw out the copy book and write your own. A clear vision is like setting a compass point. Feeling the feeling of them already here is like the wind in your sails. Giving thanks and being grateful is the activator. Appreciate what you have already got, notice the wins and take the lessons along the way AND give thanks for the future manifest now. However you wish to dream your dreams – brainstorming, journaling, meditation, vision setting, lists, the power of attraction, manifesting models, strategic planning – get to it. And DREAM BIG … be absurdly ambitious!

2. Be prepared to step outside your comfort zone 

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place – but nothing ever grows there.” 


Mindfulness teaches you to turn towards your discomfort and observe your mindset and use this as a springboard to grow. Whether it be fears, doubts, judging yourself harshly, negative self-talk, getting stuck in unhelpful stories about yourself, the world and your place in it. Get present and observe. Know that you don’t need to believe anything you tell yourself. Or what others tell you, for that matter. Unless it serves to uplift you. Your choice. Study and utilise the concepts of mindfulness and be the gatekeeper of your mind. Learn about the concept of non attachment. Embrace discomfort so you can fight for your dreams with both gloves off. 

3. Perservere 

“Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.” 

James A Michener

My dear old Dad Charles used to say that if you give up on your dreams, your dreams will give up on you. Expect challenges and reframe them by looking for your learnings. Take time to go back to the drawing board and seek trusted counsel if needed. Take the wisdom and don’t let the setbacks define you. As Nelson Mandela said, “it always seems impossible until it is done.”

4. Set boundaries & prioritise 

“You will never find time for anything. You must make it.” 

Charles Buxton 

You know the saying you can’t give from an empty cup. Set healthy boundaries around yourself and your time. Make lists of your priorities and batch them together and blast them out when you are at your most productive. Remember every great journey starts with a single step. Outsource and delegate where you can. Do what you need to do to stay energised and healthy, constantly upgrading and on point. Prioritise sleep, eat well, exercise your body and mind, stay connected and be supported and inspired by high vibing humans who believe in you AND in your dreams. 

The Cape South chapter

A decade or so later this current chapter of dreaming up what more is possible is at the Grand Old Duchess of Cape South. It feels like a dream come true. This stunningly beautiful French colonial style homestead in the coastal foothills between Waimarama and Waipuka (Ocean Beach) with 8 divine ensuite rooms, a yoga studio, mineral pool, gym, spa and sauna within 16 acres of paradise has everything and more. 

There have been many challenges. Hasn’t that been true for many in the last few crazy years? But I’m better at embracing discomfort these days. I’ve learnt to let go of the boulders I can’t move. The loose stones on this unpredictable journey don’t keep me up so much at night. I also have my main man Cam by my side. Nothing much fazes Cam. He has the energy of an ever-ready bunny and an infallible self-belief and optimism that anything and everything is possible. 

I’m still a work-in-progress but I mostly have my own back these days after some solid years of meditation, yoga, study and self-development. And again my angels have also delivered in droves. Precious people who have come and blessed our journey. So many of them, it humbles me deeply. Too many to mention by name and what they’ve done, but they know who they are. We do too. Sent from heaven. Every one of them. 

My last word. Dream your dreams, treasure. Take what resonates for you from the words above. Or better still make up your own words. Read the books below if you like (actually I listened to the bottom two as I’m a bit dyslexic and they have some very big words in them) … and if like me you love a good chat to your angels then keep that up. Hand on your heart. Whisper this sweet everything to yourself: “Yes. I can do it.” One step at a time. Great things will surely grow.” 

Into the Magic Shop by Dr James R. Doty 

Becoming Supernatural Dr Joe Dispenza

The Master Key by Charles F. Haanel 


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  1. Kate – you are such an inspiration – overflowing with love and caring – happy to follow your sage advice

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