Walking through life with a stone in my shoe….. we move it around until it stops hurting or annoying us, forgetting about it for a while as we trot on and then suddenly there it is again.. see we all, like it or not walk through life with a stone in our shoe, some deal with it, others just forever try to ignore it pushing it around for a bit, but it never really gets sorted.
For me it “my stone” was my battles with my dreams and aspirations with dealing with the “did not finish (DNF)” in ultra races like ” 1000km race across Italy” or struggling to finish “2500km Race around Ireland” stopping short of the summit on 23,031ft on Mt Denali in Alaska because of weather & getting sick mid way through the “24hr endurance world indoor cycling record” in UK Derby arena last april and having to sadly pulling over or most recent K2, you see I walked away from K2 in 2015 in what I could only see like the rest of the challenges as failed expeditions or races, even tho in some of the cases I’d no control of the situation, on K2 it was due to an avalanche at camp 3 crushing my dreams of a summit, even-though years of work and commitment had gone into it, and it was gut wrenching. Turning at Concordia corner I vowed to return, not knowing it was possible.
So that stone in my shoe became a daily reminder of what could have been..the stone became so painful it tore my self-worth to shreds losing for long periods of time self belief in myself battling weekly with this invisible reckless sole destroying voice in my head, you see that stone eventually felt like a huge rock stopping me in my tracks… it wasn’t just k2 it was the others and everything started to suffer my training wasn’t going well my diet yo-yo and my high standards set by myself were motivated by all the wrong reasons. I knew incredible people in communities throughout Ireland & beyond had bigger stones in their shoes, obstacles that most couldn’t imagine and made mine look depressingly stupid … stones of a magnitude of depression, suicide, dealing with daily disability, diseases leading to a greater loss of self-worth further heightened with the peer pressures of how the world wants us to look act and behave.. distorting goals, wrecking goals setting and the drive of every day life. For others that stone could also be a family member, partner or a negative acquaintance or workmate that becomes more an obstacle than a support in your passion to live the best life you can ,always knocking your decisions to move forward with new ideas and plans…
Oh how living life with a stone in your shoe can be so difficult debilitating and destroying..you see we’re all human and I’m no different yes I set my goals high and I go get them best I can but be under no illusion I have my demons to deal with, I fall to my knees and have to find the strength to stand back up and find that strength to take that step forward again, falling in the past into that traps of what people think and say, but thankfully those days are a distant memory, with the courage is to love what I do, do it for all the right personal reasons and no longer fear the set backs and see comebacks as my personal game changer.
Instead as I did in the past hide my feelings thoughts and emotions I now feel it important to trustingly share, knowing that “together we’re stronger” .. so those out their struggling lost or isolated fear not, you’re not alone and don’t fear reaching out for support remove that stone in your shoe. Instead having the courage to stop take your shoe off and finally remove the stone once and for all is so liberating & powerful.
You see taking control of your life and celebrating the gains you’ve made and not allowing others continuously measure your gaps with their negative views which really means they can’t, won’t or equally haven’t the courage to deal with their own painful stone and sadly only wish the same for you is so criminal in this your short journey of life…maybe your goals are set in the wrong place and you’re not following your own dreams but instead the dreams of others …simply you’ll know by finding something you really love to do so much that, you can’t wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again.. it’s as simple as that.
So like me & same for others struggling to see out to see beyond that grey mist, asking for help, seen especially in men as a weakness, when in fact it’s your greatest strength and trust me, such a relief once done… a problem shared is a problem halved because once you do wahooooo suddenly that stones located not yet gone but your well on the way to walking painlessly forward…. try it today it’s incredible.
You see once again K2 and Mother Nature and the silence of the mountains of Pakistan removed from normal life as we know it became my greatest teacher and has not only afforded me to climb the greatest mountain on the planet but more importantly galvanised a grinding belief that success can’t be measured my the size of your bank balance or the power you control in a community, country or company or the car you drive the cloths you wear or house or palace you live in, In fact the realisation galvanised is that the greatest gift we have as human beings is to help each other, by simply being that crunch, silent ear, friendly smile or just that hand shake that can make all the difference. Trust me Reaching out to help someone up from a crisis, that they simply can’t see beyond is our greatest gift, because never forget, one day that could be you.. and walking past, just because your stone in your shoes removed, is not an option….certainly not for me.
So as I’ve now returned from K2 safely to my beloved Irish shores I want to continue to be part of the solution and play my small role in being a positive catalyst in the powerful wheel of young people life’s…
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for al your prayers honestly and good wishes while on K2.. make your life incredible because dreams really do come true..
Our journeys far from over, get packing fit and ready, we’re leaving soon.
The hard as nails podcast explains all.