This blog was first published in Red Bull!
One performance coach for adventurers and endurance athletes reveals the mental tricks needed to overcome the odds whatever the environment.
Ever been crippled by the thought of embarking on a big adventure, an adventure teetering on the very edge of possibility? Worried you can’t achieve said goal because it’s too difficult, too strength-sapping?
“I’ll let you in on the secret,” says Adelaide Goodeve, “it’s all in the mind.” She should know. A performance coach for adventurers and extreme athletes, when Goodeve's not speaking to clients one-on-one, she chairs The Wild Show podcast, inviting daring types to discuss what makes them tick and why they’re able to do what they do in achieving the seemingly impossible.
To put her wisdom to good use, we asked Goodeve to reveal how to harness the power of your mind for adventure.
1. Resilience pays off
Setbacks happen. Being able to bounce back from these stronger than before is the attribute you need to be an adventurer. Between 2009 and 2014 I suffered with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but as I eventually got better, I started pushing my limits and now I’ve never been in better shape. My proudest achievements include cross-country skiing across Svalbard and becoming an Ironman.
2. You can 'be the egg'
Mental toughness is having the robustness and tenacity to withstand and overcome adverse conditions and difficulties. Adventurer and Marathon Des Sables [a 251 km ultramarathon, AKA the toughest footrace on earth] finisher Sarah Williams uses the mantra ‘Be the Egg’ to remind herself of this. When you place a potato in boiling water it disintegrates; whereas, an egg becomes harder and harder. You have the power to be the egg, to choose to become stronger despite your circumstances.
3. Negative moods turn to positive moods
We can influence our thoughts, emotions and physiology independently from our environment. By utilising certain mindset tools and tricks, we’re able to move from a negative, non-useful mood to a positive one, thereby enabling us to persevere during tough times. Margaret Schalachter(above), the first professional female obstacle course racer, has used these techniques to rank fifth in the world and compete in the Peak Death Race and Survival Run.
4. Your inner voice can be encouraging
We’re often held back from achieving our goals and turning dreams into reality by negative thoughts – our inner critic. Ultra-endurance athletes learn to swap these negative thoughts for positive ones, transforming their inner critic into a personal cheerleader. Tegan Phillips used this technique to overcome her fear and to persist when cycle touring in Africa and Europe and completing 10 Ironmans in 25 days in New Zealand.
5. Courage is key
Living in the mindset of adventure is about taking action towards goals in spite of fear. You have to be willing to take risks to achieve your dreams, even if success is not guaranteed. Adventurer and endurance athlete Sophie Radcliffe (above) felt the fear when she took the risk to quit her job and turn her dream lifestyle into reality. Now five years on she’s succeeded and 2017 was her most successful year yet.
6. Trust your intuition
When making decisions in hostile environments, you can get a feeling in your gut that you should or shouldn’t do something. More often than not, adventurers will listen, trust and act on this intuition, using it as a compass to navigate the best path for them. The decisions I’ve made based on my intuition have sometimes seemed illogical, other times they’ve taken me to safety and they’ve all led me right to where I want to be.
7. Break your goals down
Having goals is perfectly natural but too often we become overwhelmed and paralysed by them. One popular technique used to thwart this is to break down aspirations into comfortable bitesize pieces. Endurance athlete Laura Kennington (above) says she breaks her goals down into three easily achievable pieces, and by doing this feels empowered to achieve a desired outcome with ease, confidence and calmness.
8. Failure is a learning experience
Ask any adventurer and they’ll say the same thing: failure is a learning experience. To them, failure doesn’t exist; it’s neither in their vocabulary nor thought process. If something goes awry, they discover how to use their new knowledge advantageously, working to find that change to their strategy, so that they achieve their goal next time. Through different learning experiences, adventurer Kiko Matthews is currently attempting to become the fastest female to row the Atlantic, solo and unsupported.
9. Push your comfort zone
We’ve all been guilty of staying in our comfort zone at some point. It feels cosy and safe, but over time we become complacent and our personal growth stagnates. However, we must push our comfort zone and test our limits in any way and on any scale we want to we can even do it in our sleep: adventurer Phoebe Smith (above) camps out at some of mainland Britain’s most extreme points!
10. Live your true self
Every adventurous person I have spoken to is living their true self. They’ve all come to this realisation in different ways and stages of their lives. This is how they can have incredible levels of happiness and success.
Changing from a negative to positive mood
Encouraging inner voice
Listening and trusting your intuition
Chunking your goals down
Failure is a learning experience
Pushing your comfort zone
Live your true self