Three months ago, we launched Off the Ropes. An endeavour with soul and purpose; and with an ambitious mission to help turn the world’s frown upside down. This wasn’t to be just another podcast in a hugely saturated market of shows touting the latest marketing hacks or techniques for becoming a millionaire in a month. Our objective was to inspire ordinary people to achieve seemingly unachievable goals; to realise that they are so much more capable, physically and mentally, than they may believe; and to help people identify meaning in their lives.
We didn’t really consider how hard this simple goal would be. And if you’ve ever set yourself an enormous challenge, no doubt you’ve also experienced feelings of fear, insecurity, doubt, disappointment and probably asked yourself, ‘Is this worth it?’
Being an incredibly impatient person, I’ve been unable to fully appreciate and celebrate the successes of our show so far. In just a few months, our download figures are steadily increasing; the show is being listened to in 38 countries; we receive emails from people on the other side of the world expressing their gratitude for finding us, and we’re now in talks with sponsors. Sounds great, hey? Yes, and no. No, because I still feel we’re at the foot of K2 looking up at the enormity of the challenge before us. In fact, I still feel we’re tying the laces on our walking boots, whilst everyone else has either reached the summit, or at least passed the half-way point.
And that’s one of the worst things to do when setting ourselves goals. Comparing our success with others is incredibly damaging. Whilst others’ beaming faces on Instagram can make us believe everyone else is doing fantastically well with their life plans, we do not know what personal adversity they are enduring along the way. We have no way of knowing what lies behind the smile. And we must remember this when checking into social media; as the belief that we’re the only one struggling is unmerited. We all struggle; some of us are just better at hiding it.
If you’ve set yourself a goal which means to world to you, and you’ve not experienced the support from family you expected, you must keep on. If you’ve started a challenge and quit because you felt you couldn’t continue, you must get up and try again. If you’ve enthusiastically shared your goals with your best friends and you’ve been ignored, you must keep on. If everyone you meet tells you you cannot, should not or will not, complete a challenge, you must keep on. Doubt, yours and everyone else’s must fuel your journey. Almost everyone I speak to on the Off the Ropes podcast was once told they’d fail; that they weren’t worth it; that they couldn’t achieve their dreams. And whilst that kills emotionally, especially coming from those we’re closest to, it must not deter us from trying and succeeding, or even trying and failing. To try is far more than most people ever manage – ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.’ JF.Kennedy.
And remember, some people feel enormously threatened should you break away from the path well-travelled as it shines the torch of scrutiny on themselves. What are they achieving in life? Think of the doubters as a bucket full of crabs. Once you were all stuck in the bucket together, not really accomplishing anything, but you were comfortable, as you shared the same experiences in the same place. Any crab who dared to see what lies outside, and attempted an escape, would be instantly pulled back down by the other crabs. Over the edge lies discomfort, uncertainty and fear. Why bother risking comfort for a future unknown? If you’re brave enough to seek an alternative life, you’ll force others to evaluate theirs, and worse, they may have to leave their comfortable bucket, also. This won’t make you very popular. However, if you do escape, you’ll have the entire ocean to explore and abundant opportunities you never knew existed. Be brave, scale the bucket and if you must leave the crabs behind, so be it. The path to greatness is a lonely one. Dare to question what lies beyond the bucket and be bold enough to find out. It could be a lonely journey, but when you take your last breath on this beautiful spinning planet, it’ll be a contented breath, for you chose to seek more, do more and be more, and that’s the life worth living.
And this is precisely what we’re doing with Off the Ropes. We’ve joined a hugely flooded marketplace; podcasts today are the blogs of the noughties. Who doesn’t have a podcast? Three months in, we can’t yet compete with Tim Ferriss and his 60 million downloads. Will we ever? Should we even bother trying? Will we give up because we’re the teeniest of fish in the largest ocean? This is the path we have chosen and the challenge we set ourselves. We wobble; we question whether the last podcast episode was as good as it could have been; we fret over our vital statistics – the download figures; and we often ask one another, ‘Are we doing the right thing?’ Yet we keep on climbing, and each week, we get a little further up the mountain. And so must you. Whatever goal you’ve set yourself, if your motivation for success comes from your heart and soul, you must keep on keeping on. See you at the top! x