My Ted talk and how to live life on your terms

If you want to watch the Ted talk, all 9.38 minutes of it, rather than take a read go for it.

Our challenge was the cycle up Mont Ventoux, in turns out it was 32Km of constant uphill and we mean uphill.

“The Ventoux is a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering.”Roland Barthes, French philosopher.

19km to go with legs pumping my inner chatter arose from that annoying place. It was incredibly hot, 32 degrees and my heart and lungs were screaming, let alone the numbness in my feet and the aching in my palms and neck.

Sarah (my wife and wing woman) had been back and forth along the climb and I knew she knew I was hurting, her final words before driving away, ‘find your rhythm’.

I knew that the hardest part was to come, a steady 4-5% was now increasing and I knew it would for the next 7km. It would change rapidly reaching 10% in a very short time and maxing at 12%!

Louder it rose, that wicked voice inside, ‘you can’t do this, you haven’t trained enough, it’s too far, it’s too hot, it’s too steep’. I unclipped my left foot, allowing the bike to naturally halt and stopped.

I had to make a choice and fast! My self-love needed to be installed and fast, I needed to believe that I was more than this.
I took a drink, stretched and reset my mind. There was no way I had come this far, faced all these mini curve balls (my Dad fell very ill, I had to head to the UK so training became limited) and this ‘hill’, which I now referred to rather than mountain, was not going to beat me.

Even though my body was screaming and physically having the juice to complete this was borderline, the notion that this hill would beat me was inconceivable.

Right foot click in, gloves back on and eyes focused. Left, right, left, right, push, pull, repeat. The sudden rush of blood to my legs made them ache in that same way your hands do when they have been freezing cold and numb.

Despite this I found myself smiling and when Sarah checked in with me in the support vehicle driving beside me she said ‘You look fresh’, ‘Yep’ I replied and I meant it.

Step 1. It’s OK to have negative dialogue.

You know that voice well, you know the mocking tone, the volume, the pace. It comes from nowhere and can stop you in your tracks. When this happens know you have a choice, you can listen or you can DELETE it. All you do is shout DELETE, DELETE, DELETE or your version of it inside your head, or shout it out loud if you can. Scare the voice away, let your own self love and belief shine through.

Step 2. It’s OK to stop and breath.

This step was a shock to me on the mountain that day, I thought that I had to keep going, no stopping was allowed but that was just my frame. That’s too hard, we need to stop and regroup, hydrate in my case and nurture in most cases. Look at what’s working, take time for you, relax and then keep going. I did this 4 times on that climb, once I made the voice go away that first time I stopped, I had decided I was winning. Stops meant stretching, getting the feeling back in my feet, taking a gel and pressing go again, ready and full of conviction.

Step 3. Love yourself, fully and completely.

This is not about being an egotistical nightmare, this is about quiet, steadfast, love. A knowing that you are so much than you ever think you are. You can do so much more than you can imagine. Even as you have taken the time to read this, your neurology has created around 10,000 new neural networks for you to use.

You have a choice, it is that simple, decide to love who you are, don’t wait until you are slimmer, richer, fitter, smarter, older.
The problem is that when people do get slimmer, richer, fitter, smarter, older, they still don’t fall in love with who they are, it is never enough and they seek more, celebrate who you are, do it flamboyantly, do it now. Time is short.