Well Christmas is over and we're heading towards the New Year and the word, resolution is going to start popping up yet again!! Hands up if you’re already thinking about your resolution. I looked back at my blog for last New Year and I’ve actually managed two out of the top 5 that women want to achieve, I’ve become ‘more active’, I’ve been swimming consistently since the last week of August, going on average three to four times a week, I also quit my job, an opportunity came up and I grabbed it because I knew that it would be one of the last chances to do it, I took enhanced redundancy although, I’ve got to admit I’m back there temporally until April, covering for a colleague. What I failed to achieve and which I really tried was my ‘mother of all diets’ and giving up wine, but now that we’re heading to the tail end of the year and after only a couple of days of excess,
I’ve started my detox in preparation for the ‘diet season’ and I’m doing ‘Dry January’.
Where do most of us fail? Thinking that we can't do it, losing the motivation and simply not wanting it enough. I wish I could bottle the feeling of feeling fat, heavy and rotten, if I could do that, I’d probably have the motivation to succeed. So what I need to put in place is some good old fashioned ‘discipline’, which as we all know, is the key to any successful challenge – ‘choosing between what we want now and what we want most. so start thinking about taking up a challenge; set your goals and just go for it. And it doesn't matter whether it's big or small, it's your personal challenge, something for you to aim towards and achieve, to get an internal kick from.
Taking Up a Challenge
Look at the picture below, now answer the following questions: How many people in the picture will be inspired through the euphoria of their day to investigate or consider taking up a challenge? Probably 55%. How many of those people will take the next step and actually do something about it? May be 30%. How many of those people, will actually apply themselves and accept their challenge? Well maybe at a push 5%.
What I like about the people who apply, and accept the challenge, is that they have a lust for life; they want to push themselves into the unknown; more importantly they are prepared to take a risk and do whatever it takes. Yet there are still people out there who avoid taking up an opportunity of adventure and challenge – through fear, inertia, or other reasons that don't really exist. It might even be other people telling you, "What do you want to do that for?" Give it a couple of weeks and you'll quit", "It won't last". What's important is that you had the self belief to start and you need to ignore people, who for whatever reason want to stop you doing what you want to do. Don't let them derail you. It doesn't matter what the challenge is, it's the fact that you want to do it and that you can succeed, with a little determination and confidence in yourself to do it.
I took on a challenge, I took part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, for me it wasn't about winning that was the driving force, it was about forcing taking myself out of my comfort zone, doing things that I wouldn't necessarily think I could do and that gave me (and still does) a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. I made a conscious decision to take part in the race, knowing full well that it would change my outlook on life. Some people can’t understand why I wanted to ‘upset the apple cart’ or put so much time, effort and money into this. Yes, I’m lucky, I have a lovely home, but my home I’ve invested in; a job, again it’s something that I have invested in. So why not invest in myself personally??? For some people the bigger picture doesn't exist, I wanted the bigger picture, to do something different; to walk away from day to day life; away from the comforts; the routine and just live.
The decision to take part in the race is an achievement in itself; like everybody else I was going into the unknown. At the end of the day everybody who takes part has their own story to tell. Before the race I was intrigued about the personalities. Intrigued about how I'd cope with the difficult and often dangerous situations. How we’d pull together as a team to cross an ocean; to get to the scoring gate first; to get the Leg win and stand on the podium triumphant. The key to success was whether or not we'd invest in one another to succeed and to succeed we’d have to pull together. How I'd react and how the crew would react, dealing with the inevitable pressures to get the jobs on board done and how we'd support one another. We all think we know ourselves, but it's at these times like these that you really see how strong you are and how your coping mechanisms kick in; how we deal with the inevitable stress and problems that would undoubtedly arise.
The journey to the marina was understandably tense; two of the people in that taxi were round the worlders, so it was just another taxi journey taking them to the next race; but for myself and one other crew member, this was going to be our moment. The atmosphere was palpable. Waiting to leave the marina was an out of body experience and I had to keep busy. In the first couple days the race was hard, if I'd had the option to get off, I would have, I just kept thinking what was I doing here; the boat was at a constant 35 degree angle and doing the simplest tasks was incredibly difficult: getting into the routines of the boat; the watch system; getting dressed; going to the toilet; moving about the boat, but you get used to it. It was also about getting to know the personalities, remember this is a 70ft yacht with 24 people on board, taking on an ocean and dealing with the pressures of racing. Taking on a challenge is just a mental battle, I couldn't get off, I just got on with it and it became the norm. How did I cope with the challenging situations? Well you just do, you react without thinking about things. You've got to have determination and a strong mental attitude. People pull together; they worked as a team to get the very best out of the boat. The key thing to remember is that a successful person or successful team, carries on, no matter how many setbacks; you have to keep going if you want to succeed. I saw the importance of the team and individuals and how to win. Yes, there were pressures on board and I'll confess, on a couple of occasions I had some tears when I got to my bunk. Was it all worth it? Damn right it was. When we arrived in Derry-Londonderry, the sense of pride was overwhelming; we'd crossed the Atlantic Ocean and received a heroes' welcome; that's when you realise the enormity of what you've done and whatever the challenge you take on, you should always be proud of yourself and you should always acknowledge your achievement. When you're challenged, remember you are always more capable than you think and you can do it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKP5Fn4B6FI
So after returning from the Race, how did I feel? Well it was the best thing that I've done and if I had the chance to get back on the boat tomorrow I would, without a shadow of a doubt. I know myself more; It's given me the confidence to speak up, voice my opinion; now I don't care what people think of me. Why? They haven't done, what I've done; they haven't taken on a challenge; they haven't pushed themselves, I have.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race gave me the opportunity to do something totally different for a short period in my life, for some people it's a life changer. I made sure that I grasped all the opportunities I was presented with; I just wanted to make sure that I got as much out of it as possible. I didn’t want to look back at the end of the race and the years after and think well I trained for the event, I sailed in the event and now I’m home. Grasping opportunities is what challenge is about. I wanted to look back with a full kaleidoscope of memories and be pleased with all my accomplishments and involvement with the Clipper Race. The courage and determination that I developed on the Race, has changed me, after all I quit my job, I’ve become far more confident as a person and will hold my own now, which some people have struggled with, but hey, get used to it. And now I'm setting myself a number of challenges, one being the establishment and development of Life Style Love Liverpool Girls. I know along the there are going to be distractions, people that don't want me to do this, would love to see it fail. I also know it's not going to be an easy road to travel along, but the key to this is self belief and determination. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work, I tried.