It's all about preparation and mental strength....
APPARENTLY Tuesday was the day most of us who have made New Year’s resolutions, effectively give them up. Well I confess I haven’t made too many this year, though have promised myself to do more off-road running – I’m looking to enjoy the delights of cross-country as opposed to pure road running this year. We shall see....
Our ability as human beings to take on challenges, achieve the best that we can be, and reach the peak of our performance came to mind at a fascinating presentation I attended at our CEO Supper Club this week. Martin Palethorpe www.thepragmagroup.com told us about his experiences a few years ago when he took on the Polar Challenge with two other colleagues. The Polar Challenge is a 350 mile race to the Magnetic North Pole, and to say that it tests the resolve, physical and mental capacity in each of us appears to be an understatement.
Today is quite a chilly day down here in Portsmouth – though the sky is blue and there is a freshness to the air which is great – but I think it is positively balmy compared to the Arctic, where upon arrival they experienced temperatures straight away of -20 c.
During the presentation, Martin took us through the various stages the team underwent to make that challenge – the importance of preparation; the need to have belief and a positive attitude; the importance of identifying clear end goals; the necessity of action; working to a clear set of rules .... and planning for things which just happen to come along in the way! I guess this could include the odd Polar Bear or two.
What was also coming through very clearly that to undertake these challenges – and I guess pretty well anything in life – you need to understand how important your mindset is. As Martin says, “Mindset is everything.” That is something I can agree with and often feel, particularly as I approach the end of a gruelling race.....mentally challenging myself to keeping on running even though my body wants to stop!
Making the difference – achieving that peak performance – is often also about finding the 20% of things which will make a difference to 80% of what we do....sometimes it is those small things which can unlock our ability to achieve great things.
Ultimately, Martin did not finish the Polar Challenge....severe frostbite and injury prevented him from doing so. But his two colleagues continued, and ultimately won the race, a considerable feat given their requirement to transport all of the equipment required with a depleted team. But for Martin, what was most important was the participation, giving his best, and achieving his peak performance. An inspiration to us all, as those New Year’s resolutions become a little foggy, Christmas holidays a mere memory, and the challenges of 2012 step up into gear.....
If you would like to find out more about the Polar Challenge; http://www.extremeworldraces.com/races/polar-challenge/
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