Public Speaking

In 2004 I was lucky enough to stand on the highest point on the planet. I saw a view of our beautiful Earth that very few people have ever seen. I want to share that with the world. Through my words, my photographs and my live video footage I invite my audience to share the experience of climbing to 8,848 metres on Mount Everest, the summit of the world and one of the greatest challenges on earth. I aim to inspire and to motivate and to leave those listening to my words with the feeling that, actually, anything is possible. I want people to go away thinking “if that girl on the stage who really doesn’t look like a climber can climb Everest, then surely I can turn this company around/run that marathon/climb that hill/get that promotion/increase my sales/become an artist/lose weight/have a relationship/increase my profits….. Everyone has an Everest in their life, and everyone is capable of reaching the summit.

Yes, I have climbed Mount Everest. Yes, I have sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. But I am no more special than you or the next person. I am an ordinary girl who took an extraordinary opportunity. It wasn’t easy. It was very frightening. I had to face up to every fear that I had ever had or could conceive of. I had to push myself far beyond what I thought was possible. I tested my strength of mind to the limit and pushed my body way beyond anywhere it had ever been or anything it had ever done before. I struggled with the thought I might die. I easily could have. One in five people die on Everest. Every year. Less than half those attempting it reached the summit.

So how come an ordinary girl like me climbed Mount Everest?

Courage, determination, focus. The ingredients for success and achievement. You can’t visibly see things like courage, determination and focus, but then it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Appearances, as we know, can be deceptive. People look at me standing up there on the stage in front of them and see a slightly built girl, wearing feminine clothes, who doesn’t look very strong, and I know they are thinking: “she doesn’t look like she could climb Everest”. Then I dress up in my down suit, oxygen mask, rucksack and big climbing boots, and the audience think “wow, here’s a girl who’s climbed Mount Everest!” As I said, appearances can be deceptive! This illustrates to the audience that there must be more to achieving difficult goals than brute physical strength – and that you can’t judge by appearances. That it’s not what’s on the outside that counts (physical appearance and strength), but what’s on the inside (mental strength, experience, focus, determination and the courage to face your fears).

 I explain to my audience that what it takes to succeed, to achieve goals and dreams, to stand on the summit of their Everest and have that amazing feeling of achievement, really is within everyone’s grasp. If I can do it so can anyone. But you can’t sit at home and wait for it to happen. Achievement requires action. It requires determination. It requires focus and above all the courage to face you’re your fears. The following paragraph illustrating this is taken from an article I wrote about Everest:

“I would suggest that only those people that have great mental strenth generally succeed. Those that have the will and mental strength to push themselves where not many have gone before them; not many of the billions of people on this Earth have stood on the summit of Mount Everest. None of us knows what climbing to 8,848 meters will do to our bodies and our minds. Can we push our bodies that far, that high, will we get frostbite, will we succumb to lack of oxygen, or physical exhaustion? Will we die? All these doubts have to be mentally overcome on the way to the summit. If we cannot deal with them, then our minds will find an excuse for turning back. Obviously some people do have genuine life-threatening physical difficulties, and have to turn around. But there are others who decide the risks are not worth taking, that there are other things in their lives more important than climbing Everest -  and no one can blame them for this. In order to climb Mount Everest you have to REALLY want it. It is not a mountain to be underestimated… and I believe some people do – because it has become more commercialised, because you can pay to climb it, without having climbed all your life, because people like that do climb it, because a slightly built girl like me can climb it – but that doesn’t make it easy, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the hardest thing you will ever do in your life.”

Everest really is a metaphor for life and it contains so many messages. There is an infinite amount of learning around climbing the highest mountain in the world. Each talk I do I tailor to my audience. I always show the live video footage of climbers on the summit ridge of Everest as this allows people to connect directly with the experience of climbing the mountain and achieving a goal.

It allows them to share that wonderful feeling of exhileration and excitement that comes with achievement when they see someone standing on the summit of Mount Everest. It gives the audience the inspiration and motivation to go out and achieve their dreams and their goals, so they too can own that priceless feeling of summiting for themselves. The feeling that you get from achieving a goal and a dream really is something that money cannot buy. Nor is it something that can ever be taken way from you.

I invite my audience to fly over the summit of the world with me, and view the planet as if from the eye of an eagle soaring high above the Earth. I invite them to leave behind their fears, their anxieties, their ties, their chains and instead to aim high, to set lofty goals and ideals. For the reality is that you have absolutely no idea what you can do unless and until you try. And if you face up to your fears and step into the unknown, you will find you are capable of much much more than you ever dreamed possible.