Cross The Bridge

Risks are part of everyday life, they are always there. As we undertake tasks over and over again we learn to mitigate risks or at least be comfortable with the “acceptable” risk vs reward structure we put ourselves in.

You have to take risks, it’s one of the only ways to find out if you’re right, or perhaps one way of growing as a person.

However, one problem being is that more often than not, we talk ourselves out of something because of generally one thing…..the fear of failure, or worst case….death.

This weekend I took part in BreakPoint Mission Evade course which is essentially a 24-hr course, avoiding detection and capture of a pursuing hunter force.

As an ambassador for Break-Point, I am always keen to get myself on new courses, and test myself on a different stage. This course in my opinion, was the hardest one yet. Being hunted for the duration of your time there, puts an added stressor to the equation knowing that, you are not free to roam around the hills as you would on any other normal day…..No you have to think tactical, think intelligently and above all, think fast.

The team I was in was very capable, very dynamic and undertook every task and scenario with a big smile and a chunk of enthusiasm. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team.

As day merges into night, the stakes go up, shadows, sounds, lights, movement can all give away your position, and therefore stealth and speed is paramount. There are various tasks to undertake throughout the course and as much as I won’t give away any details, I will tell you that it’s the seemingly simple and less obvious things that matter the most.

By taking the risk of undertaking the course, with the almost permanent feeling of fear and despite all the odds and teams taking part, our team managed to complete the mission in first place, or to make it clearer. We Won

If you want to grow, do something new, be something different, then you have to take risks. You have to cross the bridge. On one side is the safe place you stand currently, its familiar, you are used to it, you can do it, you can deal with it, but as soon as you start making your way across that virtual bridge, that’s when you find out if you truly want to see what is on the other side

If you get to the middle of it, then I ask you to continue the walk forward….its the exact same distance to the other side at this point and you never know, there may be something much greater on the other side. But you will never find out, if you keep retreating back to the familiar, the old, and the tested.

Replace excuses with effort…replace laziness with determination, and everything else will fall into place. Your effort is a reflection of your interest…once you see the results of your effort, you become limitless!

Beyond The Wall

Beyond The Wall……….

 Motivation and mountains are inextricably linked, they both seem like a great idea at the time, but when the weather gets rough and the lower lip starts to tremble, it can be a little daunting.

There are few things in the world that feel as good as taking yourself from the bottom of something and ending up on top. Climbing a mountain is a prime example of that. It’s entirely under your own power……a slow process, weathering the elements, what to take, when to go, did I pack that? Should I pack that? All good questions, but you only get to find this out, once you start doing it a bunch of times.

My motivation for getting out in the hills is a selfish one. I am a corporate chimp in the office much like everyone else. I work for a fortune 100 company and help the shareholders get their slice of the annual pie, and repeat each year. As much as I love my job, I love challenges and getting outside even more. It’s one of the few places that is a level playing field. Most times, you are not competing against anyone else, it’s you vs. you.

It also lets me relax and take in the natural beauty and natural features that the mountains have to offer. The complete opposite environment to the air conditioned office with unlimited coffee I find myself day to day. (Although unlimited coffee is goooooood)

Recently my friends and I decided to head through to Glencoe, the gateway to the Highlands. Glencoe is a spectacular place, with many hills to climb, and an abundance of natural beauty. From the road, it looks fantastic, climb a little higher and it’s truly majestic.

On this day we were going to head up Beinn a’Chrulaiste, The Mountain is rectangular, and can be seen from the A82 road and the Old Military Road (West Highland Way).

IMG_2594

You might be sitting there thinking, there’s no way I could get to the hills, much less Glencoe as I am not very fit, I don’t have a car, I am skint, I don’t have all the Gucci techy mountain equipment, I have no time, I don’t even have a pair of boots !…

In the corporate world, they call this “Barriers to entry” it’s a reason or more importantly a perceived reason you can’t do something. A barrier to entry in economic terms is part of the reason why some companies thrive, while others fail…..

This is the exact same reason why some people succeed at their endeavours, while others crash and burn.

“So how much is this all gonna cost?” I need petrol money or travel money for sure, decent walking kit, food, supplies, a backpack etc etc. All good concerns, except I will ask you a different question…..

“What is the cost of doing nothing?”

My guess is, you will pay more than any monetary value, as you will end up paying for it with your well-being and soul.

Now, I am a complete novice hiker / climber and my hope with this Mountain Monday is that it resonates with you guys. It is meant as a “Beginners Guide to Mountains” as that’s what I am….a beginner.

You might find yourself wanting to do more, but you may feel there is a need to be an accomplished climber in order to get out on the hills.

My answer is no…..you do not.

As far as weather was concerned we were set, sun was shining, the wind was low, and there was a cool, crisp feel to the air that we were about to find ourselves in. If you have a picture of a perfect day in the hills, my guess is it was exactly that.

Having an office based job, the majority of my work is done with computers and lots of mental work…..and for this reason alone, I find it worth getting out into the hills.

Fresh air, clear the head, re-calibrate and feel a different sense of accomplishment. We left the car park at a reasonable time, and headed for the top.

The first thing that we noticed was that the base of the hill was super boggy, probably from all the melting snow on top and running to the bottom……..however, climb a little higher and we had escaped the mud pockets of earth.

While out on this hill climbing mecca, one thing that I noticed, was that despite the type of day it was, the sun shining and the low wind, there was hardly anyone else about. I mean, for the first time climbing this hill, I expected to see loads of people all wanting a slice of the action.

Anyway…..off we go again up into the clouds, and already I’m thinking what it’s going to be like at the top. Bearing in mind we started climbing in nothing but our base layers on top. No jacket, no fleece, no hat. It really was a perfect day. Don’t panic though folks, we had all this wonderful techy stuff in-case the weather closed in, they were just in our packs.

This was also the first time all three of us had used walking poles, or as I like to call them; wizard sticks. They really were fantastic for the uphill, as opposed to two points of contact hoofing up the hill, we were able to engage the upper body too. Highly recommended!!

The top is in sight! One final push and we can break out the thermos full of hot tea, and get some food down our necks.

Made it.

Stopping at the top let us cool down, probably a little too much, to the point we then had to get our jackets out the packs, and get them on. No matter, we had made it.

We had climbed the hill under our own power and we were then able to take in the 360 degree vista that Glencoe had to offer. I’ll be honest, for me, there’s always a feeling of elation at the top of the mountain. The hard work that it takes to get there always sinks in and you realise that the juice is worth the squeeze.

One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a bad habit, or even becoming happier, is finding the motivation to stick with it.

Here we are full circle, Motivation & Mountains. If you can stick with a goal you have for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience and MOTIVATION.

You might be wondering why this piece is called “Beyond the Wall”, well the wall I speak of is a metaphorical one, it’s a wall we all put around ourselves that contains our perceived limits and the reasons we can’t do something. However, if you push hard enough, you’ll find that the wall isn’t as strong as you once thought, and you will most probably surprise yourself.

I’ll leave you with a favourite quote of mine that I carry around with me and hope that it finds you all well.

“You can’t outwit fate, by standing on the sidelines placing little side bets about the outcome of life…….Either you wade in and risk everything you have to play the game, or you don’t play at all…….and if you don’t play…….you can’t win!” – Judith Mcnaught

 

 

The Forge Opens

I am The Sculptor & The Clay

The Forge has opened it’s doors, and these doors swing both ways. You can bring something, OR, you can take something.  My hope is that the people that come here, will hopefully be ones that share a likeminded notion for adventure and self improvement.

The reason it’s called “The Forge”, is simply because that’s where steel is sharpened and strengthened into fit for purpose instruments. Much like we all start somewhere, a fleshy raw product, a mix match of emotions, with tender muscles and an outlook on life, ready to be moulded into whatever shape we wish to become.

The Forge is open for mettle work of a different kind…….

IMG_1311

SUBSCRIBE HERE