I wrote in my last blog about training for the Triple8 Challenge in Malaysia. I’ve been participating in endurance-based sport events for several years now but this was by far the most testing one yet. Prior to the event, a lot of my thoughts had been around how I could prepare best for a lot of unknowns.

Thanks to the lessons I’ve learned from life and leadership consulting, I’ve come to recognise that pursuing “results” is less effective than driving purpose, and this has had a marked impact on my training.

As a result, I’ve recognised that acknowledging my personal sense of purpose as a Summit Seeking Sherpa is more critical than clocking up mindless mileage. In so doing, while I no longer lead a large team on a regular basis, I still want to help others to stretch for and reach new heights professionally and personally so they can be the best they can be. Taking on this challenge wasn’t just about raising money for some deserving causes. It was about proving what heights are achievable irrespective of age and ability.

I believe that preparation is the key to any endeavour, and that staying motivated is simply a natural product of having a clear sense of purpose. It’s equally important to get rid of self-doubt as far as possible.That is why I wasn't too hard on myself when I didn’t stick to my training schedule.

Recognising the times when I’ve succeeded was important for keeping my energy up, since like most people I do have a fear of failing. Yet my failures during training had been just as important to recognise, as they helped me learn and correct.

When setbacks arose, I treated them positively as learning pieces, instead of beating myself up over them. But as someone who is normally tough on myself and tends to strive for perfection, it took work to let these feelings go. I found mindfulness a really great practice for treating failure more positively.

The principle of failing faster to succeed sooner is a term I’m more used to applying to leadership and organisational innovation contexts, so I’m glad I’ve been able to draw on it for my training as well.

As toddlers we learn to walk by falling over, getting up and trying again an again. If we didn’t we’d all still be sitting in our high chairs or strollers now. The problem is that we’re conditioned to be risk-averse as we grow older. This gets us out of the habit of trying new things. I’d say that I was learning by doing when preparing for my 888km challenge, in what was a childlike way. If we can transfer this way of thinking to our business lives in an appropriate way, it will help recondition our mindsets that fear failure.

In my purpose as a Summit Seeking Sherpa, I wanted to prove something to myself and anyone else who wants to aim high. I don’t see my event as a race, since in my opinion anyone who can complete either the 444km Coast to Coast run in the allotted 120 hours and/or the cycle back will be a winner several times over! 

When attempting this challenge, I sought to be a good example for others and where I’m able, it’ll give me more opportunities to explain my story of risking more to live more and to truly believe that it’s never too late to change.

Everyone at Potential Squared would like to congratulate Dave Spence on completing this very worthy challenge: an epic journey of 444km run across Malaysia, plus the 444km cycle back to where he started. You can find out what he is up to next on his Facebook page.