4 Deliberate actions that lead to Success

Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Blog | 1 comment

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I’ve been fortunate to spend time with hundreds of awesomely successful people from many walks of life. But two really great people have taken similar actions in very diverse circumstances that have allowed them to cope with really tough challenges.

One has conquered the Seven Summits, and recently returned from his last epic adventure – walking to the South Pole with compatriot Sibusiso Vilane. And the other, a lady, has had to deal with the sudden passing of her husband, an ex-World Champion Canoeist.

Alex Harris has been climbing mountains for fifteen years and has led more than 20 expeditions to some of the furthest corners of the planet. In 1996, Alex resigned from a career in sales and followed his passion for mountains. Within the year he became the youngest person to lead an expedition to Mount Everest. He has climbed the seven summits, the highest mountains on all seven continents, and has led expeditions to both the north and the south side of Everest. After nine years, three expeditions and more than 150 days on Everest, Alex finally summited and completed his dream of climbing the seven summits.

Now imagine walking unsupported to the South Pole? You can take all you can pull in a sled behind you – remembering that occasionally you may have to pick it up, or drag across a crevasse. You have for company one other person. Someone you will have to get along with for 65 days. Your iPod will break after 7 hours on Day 1, and your one ski will break in the first week. This is what Alex and Sibu accomplished while we were enjoying our summer training from November to January!

Joni Peddie was faced with the harsh reality of suddenly losing a husband and father to her daughters when Gareth died suddenly at the World Canoeing Championships in Hungary. And as tough as that is, Joni, Gareth’s wife is still the picture of resilience I believe she has always been. What stood out for me as Joni and I went for an Autumn morning paddle recently was the degree to which she credits the people around her for allowing her to deal with the loss of a husband, father, business partner and top sportsman.

You see there is a certain camaraderie that I believe exists only in the world of sport; in a world where everyone is bound not only by the fragility of life, but more so by the belief that we need to push the boundaries of that fragility. These people identify boundaries for their bodies and for their minds, and once done, they look for ways to break through them. To seek new challenges, new accomplishments and new, further boundaries.

Both Alex and Joni tap into the 4 D’s in order to achieve success.

Desire: This was one of the first things Sibu mentioned when asked how he and Alex got through though storms and temperatures of around -22 degrees. Joni needed to find desire to continue creating the life she and Gareth had. Not just for her sake, but for the sake of their daughters. Only when we have a burning desire can we get beyond procrastination, grief, discomfort and excuses.

Dedication: Alex Harris trained for over a year before setting off on the Antarctic expedition. He and Sibu spent one month in the “white desert” before planning the trip. And they pulled tires attached to their sled harnesses for 6 months! Dedication results in turning desire into action and that requires lasting commitment.

Determination: For some reason, not everyone wants to the successful. A lot of people are as determined as a Kamikaze pilot on their third mission. But there is no better way to improve your determination by setting goals, booking flights for your event and putting it in your calendar. Book your training times with friends and book them in your diary. They are as important as business meetings and Mother’s Day lunch!

Discipline: This is all about doing what you have to do when you need to do it. Irrespective of whether you want to or not. There is a brilliant print commercial for a brand of heart rate monitors with a photo of a cyclist in a torrential rainstorm and an approaching truck. This is the epitome of discipline. How many of us would even get on the bike in weather like that? Alex Harris had no choice. They were buffeted in their tent for 6 days in sub-zero temperatures and howling winds. Discipline is what got them out of the tent on day 7 and saw them continue with limited food rations.

When you’re getting stuck on the Four C’s, Complain, Condemn, Compare and Criticise, look to the lessons for Alex Harris and Joni Peddie to get Desire, Dedication, Determination and Discipline.

1 Comment

  1. Sensible thinking. Does Dischem keep the pills that produce these desired states? ;-)More seriously, good one Erik.

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