Challenges are a natural part of life and business. They can pop up at the most unexpected times, and rattle even the most headstrong of people. While there’s no way to truly prepare yourself for the unexpected, you can learn to embrace it by deliberately putting yourself outside your comfort zone and getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
I can’t begin to tell you how of many stressful situations I have found myself in. I’ve been arrested; almost lost million-dollar businesses over night; faced death on a number of misplaced adventures; and dealt with crisis time and time again. While circumstances like these sound like hell for most people, I have grown to embrace them. I find I thrive when the pressure is on. It makes feel alive, gives me determination, and pushes me to continue striving.
But, it hasn’t always been this way. I was such an introverted child that my mother worried my shyness would become debilitating as I got older. To nip it in the bud and bring me out of my shell, she continuously challenged me. With her help, I got used to living outside my comfort zone, and by the time I was a teenager I started to crave highly-charged atmospheres, embrace risks and push the boundaries. Mum taught me a great life lesson: growth happens when you put yourself outside your comfort zone.
Humans are creatures of habit. We build our lives on patterns of thought, emotions and behaviour. Unfortunately for many people these patterns lead to complacency, which impedes growth. If we set ourselves challenges we can bolster our mental, emotional and physical strength.
Nowadays, I like to set myself a big yearly challenge so that I continue to learn and grow. In 2016 I’m joining Virgin Strive Challenge – an epic month-long adventure, organised by my son Sam and nephew Noah, which will bring together an inspiring group of individuals to push the limits in an effort to raise funds for Big Change, and the amazing non-profit work they do to encourage young people to reach their full potential.
In September, I will join the Strivers on a journey that will take us from the base of the Matterhorn, more than 2000 kilometres to the summit of Mt Etna in Sicily, entirely under human power. Hiking, cycling, mountain biking, swimming, and running – it will be gruelling, and unlike anything else I’ve ever done.
The Virgin Strive Challenge 2014 was unbelievably exciting, but this year’s event is set to be twice as challenging. I know that the swim between Italy and Sicily will test me the most; however I’m excited to take it on. I’ve been training in preparation and can feel myself getting stronger and stronger.
When did you last truly challenge yourself? You could join me and my family – Holly, Sam and Noah – as we take on Strive. It won’t be easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding. I can guarantee, once you start to embrace challenges, you will find that life moves along on a more exhilarating, forward path.
Are you up for the challenge? Join me for part, or if you can find the time, the whole Virgin Strive Challenge 2016.
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