I’m sat here in my flat, a couple of days after going back to work and I’m reading up on adventures, on expeditions people have undertaken, and the dreams that people have.
The biggest difference I’ve noticed between those we deem to be successful people and those we see as unsuccessful isn’t how intelligent they are. It’s not the opportunities they have, and it’s not the resources that they are given.
It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.
I wear it to work, to the gym, to important meetings.More recently I wore it whilst climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. (Click here for my post)The toughest challenge I’ve set myself yet…
I didn’t think Kilimanjaro would be a walk in the park. I did a lot of hiking in the months before flying out to Tanzania, a lot of leg days in the gym and even some running (I know, I’m shocked too) but nothing could have prepared me for what lay ahead.Day one was an 11km climb through rainforest. I stupidly had far too much in my daysack, it was hot and humid, I had a cough from all the dust in Moshi and I struggled. The guys I was climbing with had just cycled from Johannesburg to Kilimanjaro so it’s safe to say I was the least fit! I ended up getting in to camp about an hour after everyone else and I was shattered. This was day one, how would I manage with the rest of the walk, when altitude came in to play?!
Thankfully the next few days were far less humid, and whilst they were intensive in terms of climbing, I was in my element and really enjoyed it. My lungs were still dodgy af from the dust, but I tried not to let that affect me.
Summit night was a different story.We left camp at around 0030, in pitch black, with nothing but a headtorch and our guides to show us the way! I’d injured my knee on day 3 so I was a little slower than the 3 British guys I was climbing with, so they went on ahead and left me to bimble up at my very ‘pole pole’ (slow) pace with one of the guides, Mzui. At one point, around 4am I was so cold I couldn’t move my fingers, and my knee was painful beyond belief.
I had a bit of a moment where I thought I would never reach the summit, we were climbing and climbing and seemingly getting no closer (not that you can tell when it’s that dark…) but I saw my bracelet, pulled myself together and powered on through the pain. I was climbing in memory of my Grandad, who passed away in June, and I was determined to reach the top for him!
I got to Stella Point, Mzui said that was fine, I had reached the top, but Uhuru Peak was my goal, and whilst it was another 1.5hrs around the crater, I knew I had to. I wasn’t suffering from any altitude sickness and the only problem I had was my knee. We kept walking round, chatting to other climbers as we went, and I eventually made it to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free standing mountain.
I was so happy. ‘You’ve achieved your dream‘ said my guide, Mzui (who, let’s be honest, had the patience of a saint).
I had, I’d made it to the top of Kilimanjaro, that was my dream.
“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” —Edmund Hillary
So she did…
Despite now being home and having to rest my knee whilst I wait for it to heal itself (meniscus pain is not fun, kiddies) I have now discovered a new level of confidence.
I climbed a mountain, and not just any mountain, one of the 7 summits. I climbed that. Nobody can ever take that away from me. I achieved something that many others have not been able to. You just need to look at the book at Mweka Gate to see how many people fail to reach the summit due to altitude sickness or injury.
If I can climb Kilimanjaro with a dodgy knee, I can do (almost) anything.
I’m now looking in to other crazy, yet exciting challenges to set myself. I still can’t quite comprehend that I managed to do it.. Proof that perseverance (although I don’t advise persevering on an injury) and a good mindset gets you everywhere!
After all, nothing will work for you if you don’t believe in it. And, more importantly, nothing will work if you don’t believe in yourself.
You don’t have to climb a mountain, your goal may be to get a new job, it may be to run 5k.
The only thing holding you back is your belief in your own abilities.
What challenges have you set yourself recently?