As we talked about last week I really believe you can pretty much have anything you want.

Let’s be clear here, I am not referring to my ‘dream man’, his name is Ady, as a possession. I am talking about the idea of having the life you want, at all levels. So many of us let life happen to us, but standing up for what you want gets results. You’ll see what I mean as you read on.

So how is this connected to business, the normal subject of my posts?

In order to take the leap into business you have to believe you can make it work. Of course none of us do this alone, we know we’ll need help, but in order to take the leap we need to believe in our ability to shape our own reality.

I could tell you a bunch of stories about business successes (and if you want one of those click here) but I find it’s easier to internalise this idea of creating what you want when it’s not another business success story in a world that is full of ‘look how much money I made’ stories, most of which aren’t as transparent or useful as mine.

Plus personal stories are always more interesting because they are personal.

Last week I shared the journey of how I moved to paradise. Today I’m sharing how I met my dream man.

The purpose of this IS NOT to say ‘Hey, look at me and my awesome life!’. Quite the opposite. The purpose is to show that actually often things don’t come easily, but baby steps, a clear vision and being willing to go for what you want FUELED BY THE BELIEF that you can better your life really does work miracles.

Alright! Let’s get to it!

My first attempt at this didn’t work

You may not know that I’ve been married before. So I didn’t get this right the first time around. That’s where my surname comes from – my first marriage. I never changed it back to my maiden name because in all honesty I think Catherine LeBlanc has an air of sophistication about it ;-) At some point though that will be changing – more on that later.

I am friends with my ex-husband and he is an extremely intelligent, interesting, fun and mostly charismatic man. Sadly it all went to hell in a hand basket because after a few years it turned out he wasn’t that into me any more and there was nothing in my power that would change that.

I don’t take that whole escapade lightly. I am the first person in my family to ever divorce and it took me close to a year to admit to my parents what had happened. So round one of whole finding a man thing, at least for many years, felt like an epic fail.

In retrospect it shaped who I am as a person and we had some very happy years together in the beginning.

So I moved on to Round Two

I never really minded being single. I always had so many ‘projects’ I wanted to do. After my marriage was over I started a post grad course at uni, finally learned to drive and bought my first car and had an apartment built where I got to make all the design decisions.

So I just got busy with life.

After a while though it got kind of lonely.

I had a lot of friends and I pretty much always had some kind of casual thing going but I couldn’t find a man to be with long term. Because I was living in Germany I was socializing with a lot of expats who by nature are often on the move and not around for long.

In many ways part of my decision to move to Australia was driven by knowing I wouldn’t meet my husband in Germany.

For a long time I told myself I wanted to live in a warmer country and live and work in English again. Those things were really important but possibly not as important as having a life partner. Ady likes to tell the story that I moved to Australia to meet him but that’s not quite how it happened..

One boring Sunday night at home by myself…

So in the midst of packing up my life and getting ready to emigrate, one boring lonely Sunday night at home I felt the urge to take a peek at some Australian-based online dating sites.

Now online dating sites are completely the norm. At least in my life in 2011 that was not the case. So i justified this to myself, because it felt naughty, by saying “I’ll just have a peek and see what men look like in Australia, no one will know, I’m just looking!”

I didn’t know how many times I’d end up sharing this story to friends :-)

But unfortunately (or really fortunately actually) the website I was on knew a lot about consumer behaviour.

First they only allowed me to see three profiles before forcing to me to create an account and I wasn’t done after looking at three profiles.

So I thought to myself “Okay, I’ll take it down in the morning”.

Then they made me add a photo.

“No issue, it’s the other side of the world. No one knows me. I’ll take it down in the morning.”

So I wrote a completely honest profile and about what I was looking for, what I like doing and how I wasn’t even there yet.

I had a look at some profiles and then went to bed and forgot about it.

I woke up in the morning to over 20 emails and some of them were hilarious!

Who knew this online dating thing could be so much fun!?

So needless to say I didn’t take the profile down.

Ady wrote to me after about a week or so and he really stood out to me.

He always answered my emails right away, he never did the whole playing it cool thing. He was open and honest and could talk about anything. He sounded like the kind of man I was looking for. Plus he didn’t care that he had to wait a few months for me to actually get to Australia.

So we wrote to each other, and kept writing to each other and wrote more and more frequently.

Soon I was spending half my day work day emailing him with a silly grin on my face

Counting the days until we could meet in person.

We made friends on Facebook so I could see his family and check that he was who he said he was. I was emotionally invested at this point so I needed to know.

We Skyped a few times and he had a VERY SEXY voice and I felt like I was falling in love even though we hadn’t ‘met’ yet.

At this point I was so excited to meet him I had even told my grandmother what was happening. Awkward.

At the same time I was scared though. I was moving to the other side of the world with only what I could take in the plane with me, with no contacts there and meeting a man who could be a crazy Internet psycho.

Still somehow I knew it would all work out.

After thinking about it for a couple of weeks I decided I felt safe enough for him to meet me at the airport. Honestly, neither of us could wait any longer and it wasn’t like anyone else was picking me up.

The day of the flight – at first it wasn’t as it seemed

Taking a 24 hour flight to the other side of the world and being met by the man you might want to spend the rest of your life with is actually a logistical nightmare.

Under normal circumstances after that kind of flight you’ll arrive disheveled, grumpy and tired and definitely not looking your best. So, and I am not kidding, I found a place to shower every place the plane stopped.

I arrived on time, looking close to my best, which when you imagine the journey I went through to get there, was quite a feat.

Ady had a 40 minute drive but arrived late and he was wearing a sexist Harley Davidson t shirt (specifically it had a semi naked woman draped over a bike and the words “Ride it hard” on it) and he wasn’t as tall as he had said he was.

And he was kind of different in person.

I was gutted.

I called the my closest friends who were all so excited about this and told them – nope, it didn’t work out.

But something told me there was more to him that the terrible t shirt. We had shared so much over the last few months.

So we went on another date the next night.

Then it all came together

I realised he was exactly the person I thought he was. I just needed to adjust to in person Ady.

He also believed for a full three years that he was 5 foot 10 until I proved him wrong by measuring him in the kitchen one day.

Also one day he told me if he had thought I judged him by his clothes I wasn’t the person he thought I was. Okay, we could argue all day long with that t shirt… which incidentally has since disappeared, I wonder what happened?!

Needless to say he didn’t wear it around me again.

We moved in together two weeks later – I needed a place, it was obvious he was going to be there all the time and now we’ve been together five and a half years are engaged to be married.

My friends often ask me if they can clone him he’s such an awesome guy.

So what’s the learning here?

A lot of what happened appeared to be by chance.

There was also some intuition involved – I knew he wasn’t how he appeared on that first day.

Ultimately, I knew what I wanted though, I wanted to meet my life partner.

I tried the normal ways and didn’t really get where I wanted to be.

I tried something else that at the time was a little unconventional.

I took some risks, while having appropriate safeguards.

When things looked like they weren’t going well I checked in with myself to find the right way forward.

Ultimately despite failing before (no one is perfect) I got there.

It comes down to the same three things:

  1. Believing you can have what you want.
  2. Taking steps towards towards that.
  3. Knowing even if it seems like an impossible challenge you can get there with baby steps.

And all of these lessons can be applied back to starting a business or any other venture.

if you are interested in hearing more about this story I was interviewed by Camille Thurnherr of Prioritise Love for her Successful Women in Love series about it.