It’s 4am. Standing at the foot of Scotland’s Ben Nevis in the dead of night, the only thing to be heard is the heartbeat of our inner determination to conquer the challenge that lay ahead.
In the next 24 hours we would summit the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. I knew this would be challenging, but I had no idea the severity of the hurdles that lay ahead. Physically yes, but mentally too.
Pushing yourself beyond your own limits is a gift. It opens your eyes to your personal power and forces you to question your own self imposed limitations.
Over the course of the next 24 hours, I learned many new things about myself. I challenged myself to dig deep even when my body felt like giving up, I learned the true meaning of mind over body and I experienced the incredible power of surrounding yourself with the right type of people. As I prepare to embark on my next charity challenge on 11 October 2019, this time hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, I am reminded of the joy of physically challenging yourself and the unexpected life lessons you receive as a result.
1. When you feel like giving up, keep pushing. The greatest rewards in life lie just beyond your comfort zone. There were times when it was insanely tough, being beaten by the force of hailstones in the dead of night as we scaled steep inclines. In those moments I wanted to quit, but I kept reminding myself why I was there and I persisted onwards.
2. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint. Take one step at a time. Each step, no matter how small, will ensure you achieve the success you desire.
3. Let your mind control your body. I now truly understand what my uncle, an ultra-marathon runner, meant when he used say “I don’t run with my legs, I run with my mind’. Being one of just 8 to cross the finish line, from a group of 30, had nothing to do with my level of fitness. It had all to do with my ability to tap into the power of my mind and rely on it to get me through. Affirming in your mind the empowering beliefs necessary to ensure you succeed, is as necessary in physical challenges as it is in your daily life.
3. The people on your journey can provide the greatest joy in life. The support and encouragement of those around you can be incredibly empowering in whatever you are pursuing. You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with, ensure you surround yourself with those who will lift you up.
4. Be grateful. Yes, it was an incredibly difficult challenge, but instead of focusing on the pain, I focused on how blessed I was to be in a position to even do this. So many blessings had to take place in my life for me to be able to take the first step on that mountain. As in life, it is easy to get distracted by whatever challenges we are facing, but it is important we never lose sight of all that we have to be grateful for too.
5. Nothing lasts forever. The hard times pass, as do the good times. Cherish them both.
6. Remember, life is made for living. Push your personal boundaries. Challenge yourself. If it scares you, then go for it! What most excites me about the challenges I take on is the chance to see just how strong my body and mind really are! It’s easy to be unshakeable in the familiarity of routine but throw yourself right out of your comfort zone, test your limits, embrace the experience and really see what you are made of.
Life is not a dress rehearsal. We get one chance, one opportunity at this gift called life. Are you going to play small and stand by the sidelines, or will you commit to giving it your all, living life on your terms and making the most out of every opportunity? After all, what’s really the worst that can happen?