Friday, 6 August 2010

Motivation, Inspiration and Hiking

I've just spent the week hiking in the beautiful Lake District in the North West of England. If you haven't been I'd highly recommend putting it on your list of places to visit in Europe.

During the week we used the Pictorial Guidebooks written by the famous fell walker and mountain lover, Alfred Wainwright. Wainwright went from having a rather ordinary government job to becoming a world famous author and MBE (Member of the British Empire). He did this by documenting his passion for walking in a unique way that inspired others to go out and discover the heart and soul of the Lake District.

We followed Wainwright's favourite routes up 3 mountains:

Helm Crag, a famous small mountain with a distinctive rocky peak that looks like a lion sat next to a lamb.

Haystacks, a hugely varied hike with gorgeous views from start to finish, and also the place where Wainwright's ashes are scattered.

Helvellyn via Striding Edge, a breathtaking ascent and a long standing personal goal of mine.

One thing I found during these hikes is just how much they test your motivation. When the going gets tough there is a huge temptation to stop or even turn back. There are points when you think you'll never make it to the top. And this is particularly true near the start of the walks when you hit the first really steep sections.

As I take the first steps on the climb towards creating a new life outside of working for others I know that I'm going to feel exactly the same way. When headhunters call with offers of excellent jobs in digital marketing I'm already tempted to turn around and go back to the relative comfort of a job. But hiking in the Lakes has inspired me to remember that when you do push on, then reaching the top is worth every bit of the temporary discomfort. I guess it's all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and proving that you can achieve more than you think is possible.

It's a lesson I'm going to keep hold of over the coming few months. Keep challenging yourself to do things that you think are hard, uncomfortable or even impossible. Whether it's climbing mountains, picking up the phone to someone, public speaking or whatever pushes you out of your comfort zone.

It will be easier than you think and even if it doesn't go to plan and you make a mistake, you'll always learn something. And best of all the view from the top is much better than the view from the bottom.

PS if you want a cosy base to explore from then I'd recommend the Moss Grove Organic Bed and Breakfast. It's slightly more expensive than some other places in the area, but it's worth calling to see if deals are available as we got a price that was less than half that quoted on the website. It's right in the centre of the area with direct access to many of the best mountains such as Helm Crag and the rooms have spa baths which are perfect for after-hike relaxation.

I found this excellent post on the Zen Habits blog about How to Summit Life’s Everyday Mountains which takes a similar theme and has some great tips on climbing mountains and achieving great things.

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