The moment when I reached Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail. It was even more emotional for me than the Sun Gate at Dawn and even getting to Machu Picchu. I literally sobbed with Joy.
Because this was the moment when all my self-doubt was well and truly obliterated.
This was the moment when I KNEW I was going all the way. This was the hardest part of the trail and my greatest achievement in life so far.
When I first booked my trip, I was filled with the most crippling self-doubt about my physical ability to hike the trail – I seriously considered taking the easy option and going by train.
I was seriously overweight, unfit and had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and a minor heart condition. I wasn’t exactly a ‘spring chicken’ anymore and I had an extreme fear of heights!
Even the shortest walk up the smallest incline had me stopping to catch my breath.
What was I even thinking to book a trip with 4 days solid hiking?
Especially as Day 2, being the hardest up to Dead Woman’s Pass, had an elevation gain of 1200 metres at an altitude of 4,200 metres!!
But my work as a coach has taught me that the hardest of challenges starts with the very first steps and if you break up even the biggest goals into stages, it becomes manageable.
So that’s what I did.
I began walking locally around the hills where I live and gradually increasing my distances and elevation gains.
I also converted the distance and elevation gain of the Inca Trail days to hikes that I already knew I could do.
I started to regularly hike up the Mediterranean Steps in Gibraltar which is 350m elevation and I figured that if I could hike the Med Steps 3 or 4 times in one day, then I could do Dead Woman’s Pass – although I had no idea what the effects of altitude would be.
Life has also taught me that goals that seem too far away don’t seem to have the urgency for action. I can have a tendency to be a bit of a ‘last minute’ deadline girl.
So I also set a mid term goal to hike the Jebel Musa mountain in Morocco – at an elevation gain of 700 metres. Twice the Med Steps.
I regularly hiked Med Steps twice in one day and managed it three times on one occasion. Knowing I could achieve the distance and elevation was a huge mental win.
This really helped.
So – if you have a BIG, hairy, audacious goal, break it down into bite sized chunks – and then tackle it one chunk at a time.
Coaching people has also confirmed that preparation is key – in fact, absolutely essential.
I prepared myself physically and mentally. I prepared well for the distance and elevation before I went to South America. Then I prepared for the altitude by hiking in Ecuador a couple of weeks beforehand.
By the time I set out, I was much more confident, but still had some doubts. Would I really be able to do it in the time-frame?
By the time I got to where this photo was taken – all doubt left me.
And while a massive challenge, it wasn’t nearly as much of a killer as I thought it would be. It was an incredible feeling.
I felt so happy to have achieved the most difficult section. I was overjoyed to know that I could do it and was going all the way.
I felt unbelievable proud of myself and felt that I really could achieve anything.
I felt literally UNSTOPPABLE!
The transformation was not only obliterating my own self-doubt about my physical capabilities, but I had the overwhelming feeling that I wanted other people to feel like this too.
And that began a change of direction in my business, where I focus more on helping people to have their own transformations, obliterate their self-doubt, build their confidence and transform their lives.
This is where Atrévete was born!
Atrévete is Spanish for Dare Yourself. And I knew I wanted to dare people to come out of their comfort zones and experience that rush of success.
In summary, the take-aways from this are:
1. Go for those big goals, make those bucket list items a reality, make a decision and GO FOR IT!!
2. Break the big goal into manageable chunks that you know you can do. Then you simply have to string them together.
3. Set mid-term and short-term goals that lead you to what seems like a far-away goal.
4. Prepare well – both mentally and physically (even for non-physical goals, being fit will give you the energy you need)
If you want to know more about having more adventures, fun and success in your life, building your confidence and becoming UNSTOPPABLE, download my free E-Book here.