Getting back on the wagon…InspirationUncategorized July 27, 2015
Life is about learning and growing… yet I may well have spread myself too thinly- once again! This seems to be a habit when returning from my major expeditions-gone-wrong and I’ve found myself trying to build Rome in a day and tired even walking up the stairs. Contrary to what Kurt Cobain said, I’m not sure it’s better to ‘burn out’, or ‘fade away’. So, time for change, and I’ve since dropped a number of commitments, despite my enthusiasm, so I can focus on my priorities and the bigger picture. Right now, that’s finishing my book, Icefall, and fundraising as much as I can for Nepal to help the victims I’m writing about to rebuild their lives after the two biggest disasters in Everest history. People ask me regularly: ”What will you do once you’ve climbed Everest?” to which I’d always joke-”Put my feet up with a slice of cake, a good brew, and write the book”…
Well, very soon I’ll get to do just that, full time. But first…. in just 10 days time, on Thursday the 6th August, I will be trying to cycle the height of Mount Everest (29,035ft) in one 24 hour effort. To achieve this, I will be making 14 continuous ascents and descents (about 130 miles) of Great Dun Fell in Cumbria, one of the highest road climbs in the UK, which will equate to the 29,035ft/8,850m of vertical ascent… or cycling up Snowdon 8.5 times. This has been achieved by less than 200 people worldwide, but with 6 weeks of intense training whilst living in the Lake District and unintentionally losing half a stone as a result, I think I’m ready for a 17-18 hour bike ride…
With over £1.4k pledged for the Himalayan Trust UK so far there’s no way I’m backing out- and if you would like to sponsor one of my ascents, make a donation, spread the word or even support on the day itself with logistics/moral support/throwing Snickers bars at me, then I’d love to hear from you!
A big thanks to the following who have each sponsored one of my ascents so far- Chester Business Club, Westgrove Group, Spring Coaching and Consulting, Interim Performance Management, Steve Platt, Sharples Group, Veracity Digital and Dan Hallett.
You might not be surprised when I say it’s been incredibly hard to get myself back on track. After a few difficult speaking performances since returning from Everest, I was admittedly close to throwing the towel in, unable to find my usual energy. The stammer I’ve had since being three years old is a bit like a Wasp- you can never get rid of the sodding thing, it turns up to social events and hasn’t really got any purpose. For the first time I had started to care about it whilst speaking in front of audiences. But last week I spoke to over 120 Young Leaders at the FA Football Futures Camp at St Georges Park, Burton. I couldn’t get the first few lines out, but managed to pull it together, and after that you could hear a pin drop. The response was overwhelming. I’ve had over half of the audience messaging me to say how truly inspirational it was, how their dreams now feel more achievable, they’ll never give up, and for some it was even the highlight of their week! That’s why I do what I do; and why I’m glad I never gave up. I owe a big thanks to those who’ve helped me recently to find my purpose again, you know who you are.
But what is leadership? Is it about demonstrating what’s possible? Is it about the role, or the goal? Being assertive? Or simply encouraging? I think it’s about standing up and hitting a problem head on, and empowering others around you. It’s raising a middle finger to the adversity and laughing at it. After all, the biggest obstacle will always be ourselves… and maybe trying to climb Everest on my bike.