When not to give up

Say you’re running a marathon. You love running, you’ve trained hard and you’re running for a good cause, yet about halfway through you hit a wall – not literally but figuratively. Your energy levels slump, every movement creates a shockwave of pain radiating through your body, and your heart wants to leap out of your chest. Tears prick your eyes as the evil little thoughts start to infiltrate into your head – “You can’t do this,” they say. “You’re tired,” they say. “It’s ok to give up,” they say.

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Experiencing self-doubt

Almost a year ago I quit my editor’s job to go freelancing. That was a big decision; it was tough. But equally it was liberating. And now I can’t imagine having to step foot in an office everyday, let alone share a commuter train twice a day with stressed-out lemmings.
But this almost-year of freelancing has been interesting and more difficult than I expected it would be. If I thought quitting my job was hard, that has been nothing in comparison with grappling with the fear and self-doubt of venturing out on the hare-brained idea to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40. The woeful tally so far being a big fat one! (I sit here writing this with the self-pity coming off me in waves).
The fact is, in the past 10 months I’ve experienced a rollercoaster of emotions – from the jubilation of employment freedom to the finger-biting worry of where the next pay cheque will come from, and a whole mish-mash in between.

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The tentative plan – and how it all changed

It has not passed me by that we have already entered March and I have yet to tick off volcano number 2, let alone have any constructive plans in place. I have no excuses for my woeful expedition planning. But shame on me all the same.
Last year, I had a brilliant strategy. Mt Vesuvius, Italy, and Mt Teide, Tenerife, last year and then seven volcanoes this year: Stromboli and Mt Etna, Italy; Mt Eyjafjallajökull and Thrihnukagigur volcano, Iceland; Mt Ararat, Turkey; Jebel Sirwa; Morocco; and Nevis Peak, St Kitts and Nevis, Caribbean.
And then it all went a bit Pete Tong.

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Facing negativity

Some people – namely the boyfriend – would say I have a negative mindset. I would argue I’m just realistic. But when I came up with the stupidly ambitious idea to set myself a quest of climbing 40 volcanoes by the age of 40, I think I was neither negative nor realistic. I was in the realm of wishful thinking. 
Having missed by target to climb volcano number two before the end of this year, while also excelling at procrastinating on all other research, planning and preparation for next year’s volcanoes (now eight after failing to climb Mt Teide this year), I have spent the past couple of weeks mopping about feeling sorry for myself.
But what a kick up the backside a work Christmas party can be. The conversation with a former work colleague went something like this:

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Cultivating a growth mindset

Being new to rock climbing is never going to be easy. But to fail what should have been a relatively easy grade 4 climb – that I’d already climbed, I might add – is beyond annoying.
In response, I did what a lot of people would do – I sulked, stomped about, pulled faces, made excuses. And of course, when I tried again I still struggled to get off the ground (literally). What does this say?

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