If there is one thing I believe? It is that we are all capable of far more than we imagine possible – but often the only person stopping you… is you. This fundamental approach, philosophy if you will, has seen me understand that no matter the challenge — either a daily task you choose to do or a global problem that demands action — you have to take it on and never avoid it. You have to find the courage and dive in and often to a deeper depth than you were prepared for. Sometimes you’ll run out of air but even if you do, even if you fall flat on your face, you still have an experience to learn from.
I have repeatedly seen that the one hurdle left to get over is myself. Not the situation. Not other people, but me. This is an approach I readily apply and one I look to offer as a possible path to others, so that they too can reach a fuller potential. You have to stand back and really see who you are, it is a scary thing to do, but once you truly understand “you” then I believe you are destined to achieve great things. It has constantly proven to be a strength that has given me the courage to act, a rich resource to fall back on that has successfully translated into positive action in both my and other people’s lives.
Achievement is what helps me define the “who” of what I am as I strive to complete goals that I set both others and myself. So be it an individual, a group, a singular project, or a wider concept such as the global community, being able to go beyond that “imagined possible” rewards me with that which I view as success. It is these experiences, these challenges and tests of my resolve that have equipped me so well for the responsibility of being an Argonaut.
Always Push Onwards
It isn’t what everyone is looking for — and (perhaps) it isn’t the answer to every problem — but I cannot be anything but enthusiastic. I can trace this back to my high school days, a time I found myself inspired by an amazing PE teacher, Ms Margot Wells (wife of 1980 100m Olympic Champion Allan Wells). It was there that my interest in sport was cemented. It was then I really started to tap into what I believe to be a very powerful driver for success: enthusiasm. A drive that for me personally has overcome anything so far thrown my way: Be enthusiastic and I believe you’re going to get things done. It gives me a determination, an energy that fuels my courage to never give up. Pushing onwards is the only way to stop stagnation, the only way to grow. How else can we move forwards and develop who we are?
So, having “never given up” I then went on to represent Scotland in both 3000m indoor and cross-country events, and it was experiencing that level of commitment to a goal that saw me step into adventure like it was the most natural thing to do. So it was that I took part in a Raleigh International expedition to Kenya. There I spent three months completing scientific, community and adventure projects which in turn made me realise how hooked to exploration I was.
Stepping It Up
In 1995 I eagerly responded to an advert looking for, “10 novice Arctic explorers” to attempt to ski to the North Pole and I was selected for the team from 500 applicants. This was a huge step up from what I usually did, but here I expanded on my idea of why I did things and dedicated it as such by stating, “I have to do this, not just for myself, but for Scotland.”
This experience of a lifetime lasted a month, and even saw me make a little bit of history, as I became the first British woman to reach the Magnetic North Pole.