Why I Love a Challenge (And You Should Too!)
Without a doubt, the question I get asked the most is ‘Georgie, why do you do it? Why do you choose to challenge yourself and put yourself through the pain?’
So, I thought I’d better set the record straight. Firstly, I want to provide you with some reassurance that I’m not completely mad. More importantly I’d like to provide you with a little motivation if you’re thinking about your next adventure.
What Counts As A Challenge?
WA challenge is going to be different for each of us. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a 5k run or climbing up to Everest Base Camp. There are loads of reasons why it’s important to push yourself and embrace whatever it is you find challenging head on. Remember, what you find challenging is probably completely different to what you’re best friend / next door neighbour / pet hamster find challenging. So make sure you’re always doing what feels right for you.
An adventure will often strip you bare and push you out of your comfort zone to a place where you might feel a little uncomfortable, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s a great thing to do every once in a while. Face the challenge and the uncertainty that comes with it head on. From my experience, it’s the struggle we learn from and it’s the struggle we’ll be proud of and talk about for years to come.
For me, Mallorca 312 was the challenge that had the largest impact. The challenge is to cycle 312km around the northern half of Mallorca (in one day), with 5000m of ascent thrown in for good measure! Looking back, it’s definitely my most difficult challenge to date but it’s also the challenge I’m most proud of. There is no doubt that I was way out of my comfort zone both mentally and physically for each of the 14 hours it took me to get around the course.
The result? If ever I’m faced with a tough meeting at work or difficult situation, I still think back to Mallorca. I draw upon the experience to give me the resilience I need.
A Sense of Perspective
Being challenged and leaving your comfort zone gives you an amazing sense of perspective and head space. In my opinion, there’s nothing like a challenge to help you reassess your priorities, giving you a more holistic understanding of what’s important to you. Whatever’s been keeping you up at night is likely to feel a lot less daunting once you’ve tackled your next adventure.
I found this to be especially true when I was cycling from London to Paris in 24 hours. I was so focussed on the task in front of me that I didn’t have the time or headspace to think about anything else.
Boost Your Confidence
There’s something amazingly satisfying about facing your fear and completing a challenge. Pushing the boundaries of what you thought was possible and coming out the other side that little bit stronger will have a ripple effect into your everyday life. Your self-confidence will soar and it’ll overflow into everything you do.
Learn To Deal With Uncertainty
Your challenge or adventure might not always go to plan, but that’s ok. It’s how you deal with the struggle that will define the experience and how much you take away from it. Learn to roll with the punches, think on your feet and you’re bound to come out on top.
Along the way, I’ve learnt some brilliant ways of getting through the mental side of a challenge or adventure. For more on this, make sure you check out my recent post on how to prep your mind for success. I’ve also included a mini challenge that you can download and print to help you develop your own success motto’s.
Last year I tackled the Engadine Cross Country Ski Marathon, a 26.2 mile cross country ski across St Moritz. It sounds crazy to say it, but I only put cross country skis on my feet for the first time the day before! Ok, I’ll admit that I was (a little!) underprepared. You can read more about the highs and lows of that adventure here.
In hindsight, I’d recommend practicing a little more, but it definitely taught me how to deal with the unknown, and to embrace the uncertainty that came with it.
I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the glory as a reason for loving a challenge. When it gets tough it’s important to remember the reason you entered the challenge. Whatever feels tough now is only temporary. There’ll be an end to your aching legs but the glory will remain with you forever. Worst case scenario? You’ll return home with a great story and learnings for next time. In the long run, it’s always worth it. Even if it takes a while to realise.
In A Nutshell?
So, next time you find yourself pondering over your next challenge, remember that there are a tonne of great reasons to take that leap of faith. If I can leave you with one thing today, it would be the reminder that the voice inside your head that says you can’t is a liar. You are capable of so much more than you think, you just have to have a little faith.