Defining Moments

When we look back at the journey of our life, we can see moments where our path was radically altered. Rarely do we see how the small actions of every day lead to big events of the future. We don’t see how the daily donut leads to diabetes, how choosing television instead of a walk out in nature leads to gaining kilos. Or the contrary: how the extra deep dive into a training session gets us fitter, or how the choice to recover at the right time can get us stronger.  We don’t see it until a defining moment arrives. Small daily negative habits can lead us to a crisis. Small daily positive routines can lead us to surprisingly good places.

Rarely do we sense those defining moments in advance, rather they creep up on us. But tomorrow I will ride a World Cup race and I know it will be a defining moment in the small micro-sphere of my life. Whilst one athlete’s endeavours can seem self-centric and insignificant compared to the much bigger issues of our planet, I have also come to believe in the power of small to change big. To keep going after so many years of immersion in Paralympic sport I have explored deeply into my motivation. I have been led forward by how inspirational sport is in general, from the pure effort and commitment, the teamwork and support and camaraderie, and the attention to the miniscule details of performance.  And I am motivated by all those that I compete with and all those that have supported me – an unbelievable array of companies, organisations, individual professionals and friends. You know who you are and I am so very grateful for your belief and companionship in this journey.

So now, the night before the first race in almost two years in our Covid world, I am intrigued and curious. Winning Gold in the Rio 2016 Paralympics I pushed and dug so deep I was left completely drained, unable for months afterwards to expend energy on social interactions or anything other than pure daily survival. This time I have flipped things up. I crashed and took to big skies and big rides of Quest 79 for recovery. I got dropped from the national team. But for the last two years I have trained hard and rested hard. I have listened deeply to the signals from my body, adopted new recovery strategies from other gentle activities to meditation, brainspotting and some rather unique energy practices. My peripheral vision on life is back. There are so many interesting projects and exciting things ahead – Quest 79 continues to spread ripples of inspiration, and I have stimulating work from brainspotting, coaching and groupwork on training our brains, and in the last few weeks starting as a Peak Performance Coach with the Flow Research Collective. The horizons are exciting, but tomorrow brings my dream of putting a balanced few years of training to the test. Surely when every cell of our body and mind are feeling healthier and we listen within more deeply than ever, our potential to perform expands?!

Let’s see. But one thing is for sure. Life is a learning journey, and whether our passion lies in sport or any other domain of life, it is a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to explore and practice creating. I know the previous approach I took was unsustainable and I have enjoyed this experiment and all the people that I’ve been privileged to connect with in the journey.

Whatever the outcome for me tomorrow – onwards to Tokyo – or a new fork in the road – THANK YOU to you all. The mystery of life is a wonderous thing!


Quest 79 Grows Wings

Quest 79 seems to have gained new momentum in the last few months, and if you are following you may have noticed more activity on social media. I am feeling grateful to Clubhouse for this, and particularly coach and inspirator Pete Cohen who has been really supportive in helping me spread the word. As a coach, Pete keeps challenging me, asking me questions like ‘What is your vision for Quest 79?’ and ‘How many people’s lives do you want to impact with this?’. I flounder a little in my answers because I don’t have a numerical target. I do however have an emotional vision of inspiration spreading around the world like a positive virus, infecting people with possibility and enabling us all to shine brighter.

It seems to me that number 79 was gifted to me via the mysterious universe. You probably know the ‘back-story’ by now, and if not, you can watch this short video. It seems 79 is a rather magical number, not only as the atomic number of gold, but in the world of numerology, it is all about personal growth, creativity, and being on a ‘spiritual expedition’. It also says that it is not about material interest, but solely for the good of others: that the profit from it is gratitude: a perfect fit for the emotional vision I have for it.

My belief is that when we take a personal Quest – a journey of discovery – that we step out of our comfort zone into the unknown. We don’t know if we can do something 79 times, or for 79 days, and that challenges us to go deeper and to learn and discover something new about ourselves and the world around us. Whatever connection your Quest has to the number 79, I am certain it helps to find some of that shiny beautiful stuff we all have inside us – the inner gold.

So I am grateful for Quest 79 arriving in my life, and being able to share it with others. I am inspired by the stories that are emerging and the incredible abilities, passion, creativity and kindness that we human beings have! Clubhouse has connected me to some amazing human beings and so much positivity, open-ness and generosity.  I am so excited by the amazing Quests that are emerging as a result. For example, 79 energy healings are happening as I write this ( ); 79 Messy Rainbows podcasts by two young sisters age 6 and 9 to help other kids with messy lockdown heads ; 79 days of a Clubhouse room to ‘Create Your Fantastic Future’ with Pete  79 sea-swims with Sports Hub Ally Meredith , 79 mountain-climbs by an 11-year old boy , 79 days of kindness, planting 79 trees, 79 days of reading, 79 days of practicing a new skill, 79 minutes of meditation a week….the list goes on. Read this link to get inspired and see the variety of beautiful things that people are doing.

Dreaming and future-creating is a favourite habit of mind, and to that theme I am currently creating an ‘open’ Quest 79 Adventure to visit a magical land that I feel embodies 79. If you are interested to join, read on. Bhutan is a country that challenges the world on how to do things: the country is led by Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product, with social, environmental and cultural impact valued as much as financial. It is the only carbon negative country in the world, and leads the way in concepts like compassionate conservation. I have been working closely with a very special organisation, My Bhutan who I discovered via The Explorer’s Club to create a journey of ‘inner exploration’. My Bhutan have deep connections within the country and with the Bhutanese royal family, so the journey will involve talks, meetings, ceremony, cultural ritual and experience with some very special people that My Bhutan are linking us with. I’ll blog more about this soon, but please get in touch if you have interest in a journey of a lifetime with this small group Quest 79 Adventure to Bhutan that we are planning for 14-25th April 2022.

Meanwhile, I am going to let Quest 79 evolve organically and see what naturally unfolds. I will do the best that I can to respond to messages, to share your incredible quests, and to support and nurture all the special things that are happening. I am in the process of creating a charity to help support the project to spread inspiration and positivity around the planet. I apologise if I miss anything, and I am very grateful to the individuals who have come forward to offer help and support in different areas, especially social media support by student Olivia Laird of Dundee University, Sports Hub Ally Meredith , website work to come by Creative Midfield, our new digital medal from Hi-Create, and continued web hosting thanks to Calico UK, content help from Creative Words…overwhelming generosity! And to continuous support from Nomadist for Quest 79 digital support, my website & the amazing healthcare company BBraun for supporting me in all that I do.

THANK YOU ALL. Shine your lights bright, believe in what seems impossible, and please join in to help spread this great, positive virus.