Last week we met Rob Grundel who gave us some really deep insights into the power of storytelling. What stood out for you from that session and how are you going to use it?
I love stories, and as the days are getting shorter, the skies are grey, and the workload is piling up, I’d like to share a personal story about passion as a bit of inspiration for you for the weekend.
As some of you know, my partner is flying out to the Himalayas tomorrow, to climb and attempt to summit Ama Dablam, known as one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. The mountain is not as high as Everest, but it is more technical than Everest. He’s been training specifically for this expedition for over a year now. For over a year, I studied his seductive mountain while witnessing 20km early morning runs, 60km cycling sessions, climbing mountains after super-long and hard weeks at work, accidental sunburns, blisters, rigorous diet and sacrifice, and I wondered: but why?!
Finally, one day I realised I was witnessing passion at work: passion doing the strangest things to a human – giving him mental and physical strength and grit to exchange short-term pleasures and instant gratification for long-term goals.
In many ways, I’ve been training for my partner’s expedition together with him – through laughs, sweat, and tears; mentally and psychically. In summer 2014, with his encouragement, I climbed my first ever peak, in Lake District, wearing his shoes. On the next trip, I climbed 3 peaks in a day, again wearing not-perfectly-fitting footwear. On our most recent trip, I hiked over 30 miles as part of the Mountain Trail Challenge in Wales (and survived the tears and the shock of falling into a massive mud hole).
In between these trips, I walked up to 25km a day, and for the first time in my life – I started running for fun (and didn’t give up even after falling and spraining my ankle). If this doesn’t sound too tasking, let me admit to owning ultra-unreliable lungs – I am definitely not your usual (extreme) sports candidate. However, passion and dedication are contagious – by drawing positive energy and courage from a person of inspiration, even I could defy my own doubts, limitations and shortcomings.
There is not a single person who should give up because “it is too hard”.
If you think that’s crazy, that was just an intro, because I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting the expedition leader for the Ama Dablam expedition, Tim Mosedale. In summer of 2015, following the earthquake in Nepal, Tim trained for and completed a big 52-hour triathlon in Lake District to raise £100,000 for the children of the 3 staff who perished at Everest Basecamp. He trained for only 50 days before the event, sharing his crazy daily routines via social media – and not only did he raise an incredible amount of money for the children but he also created a community of people who came to support his effort in all sorts of ways – purely inspired by his passion. Today, I read Tim’s final story of the triathlon and saw the photos of him half-dead and passed out – but not giving up and surrounded by people cheering him on – and it made me feel ashamed of every thought I ever had about not being significant enough to make a difference. When you apply your passion and your inspiration, you will make a difference.
In class, I asked you what you were passionate about…
…now I am asking you : What are you going to do about it? How are you going to use it? Whom will you inspire?
These questions are important for you personally but also for your startups. If you don’t care about it, why should anyone else? If you care about it – the power of your passion can move a mountain.
Conditions are never going to be perfect – my partner had to train for his expedition whilst doing his demanding job, I conquered my first peaks in ill-fitting shoes, and Tim only had 50 days to train for a mammoth challenge.
When the going gets tough and it seems you too are climbing big bad mountains – remember the importance of true grit – you really can conquer yourself.
Have a great weekend, all!
P.S. I love when you respond to my questions in comments 😉