How an adventure mindset can help overcome the seemingly impossible

I wrote this article for Red Bull last week, I’ve been published before but this time it’s with RED BULL – how exciting is that?! So in case you missed it on their site, here it is below 🙂


One performance coach for adventurers and endurance athletes reveals the mental tricks needed to overcome the odds whatever the environment.


Ever been crippled by the thought of embarking on a big adventure, an adventure teetering on the very edge of possibility? Worried you can’t achieve said goal because it’s too difficult, too strength-sapping?


“I’ll let you in on the secret,” says Adelaide Goodeve, “it’s all in the mind.” She should know. A performance coach for adventurers and extreme athletes, when Goodeve’s not speaking to clients one-on-one, she chairs The Wild Show podcast, inviting daring types to discuss what makes them tick and why they’re able to do what they do in achieving the seemingly impossible.


To put her wisdom to good use, we asked Goodeve to reveal how to harness the power of your mind for adventure.


1. Resilience pays off

Setbacks happen. Being able to bounce back from these stronger than before is the attribute you need to be an adventurer. Between 2009 and 2014 I suffered with severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but as I eventually got better, I started pushing my limits and now I’ve never been in better shape. My proudest achievements include cross-country skiing across Svalbard and becoming an Ironman.


2. You can ‘be the egg’

Mental toughness is having the robustness and tenacity to withstand and overcome adverse conditions and difficulties. Adventurer and Marathon Des Sables [a 251 km ultramarathon, AKA the toughest footrace on earth] finisher Sarah Williams uses the mantra ‘Be the Egg’ to remind herself of this. When you place a potato in boiling water it disintegrates; whereas, an egg becomes harder and harder. You have the power to be the egg, to choose to become stronger despite your circumstances.

3. Negative moods turn to positive moods


We can influence our thoughts, emotions and physiology independently from our environment. By utilising certain mindset tools and tricks, we’re able to move from a negative, non-useful mood to a positive one, thereby enabling us to persevere during tough times. Margaret Schalachter (above), the first professional female obstacle course racer, has used these techniques to rank fifth in the world and compete in the Peak Death Race and Survival Run.


4. Your inner voice can be encouraging

We’re often held back from achieving our goals and turning dreams into reality by negative thoughts – our inner critic. Ultra-endurance athletes learn to swap these negative thoughts for positive ones, transforming their inner critic into a personal cheerleader. Tegan Phillips used this technique to overcome her fear and to persist when cycle touring in Africa and Europe and completing 10 Ironmans in 25 days in New Zealand.


5. Courage is key

Living in the mindset of adventure is about taking action towards goals in spite of fear. You have to be willing to take risks to achieve your dreams, even if success is not guaranteed. Adventurer and endurance athlete Sophie Radcliffe (above) felt the fear when she took the risk to quit her job and turn her dream lifestyle into reality. Now five years on she’s succeeded and 2017 was her most successful year yet.


6. Trust your intuition

When making decisions in hostile environments, you can get a feeling in your gut that you should or shouldn’t do something. More often than not, adventurers will listen, trust and act on this intuition, using it as a compass to navigate the best path for them. The decisions I’ve made based on my intuition have sometimes seemed illogical, other times they’ve taken me to safety and they’ve all led me right to where I want to be.


Having goals is perfectly natural but too often we become overwhelmed and paralysed by them. One popular technique used to thwart this is to break down aspirations into comfortable bitesize pieces. Endurance athlete Laura Kennington (above) says she breaks her goals down into three easily achievable pieces, and by doing this feels empowered to achieve a desired outcome with ease, confidence and calmness.

8. Failure is a learning experience

Ask any adventurer and they’ll say the same thing: failure is a learning experience. To them, failure doesn’t exist; it’s neither in their vocabulary nor thought process. If something goes awry, they discover how to use their new knowledge advantageously, working to find that change to their strategy, so that they achieve their goal next time. Through different learning experiences, adventurer Kiko Matthews is currently attempting to become the fastest female to row the Atlantic, solo and unsupported.

9. Push your comfort zone


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So… I've decided to give my Christmas up this year! No tree, no dinner, no bad TV and no time with the family. Instead I've decided to Sleep the Three Peaks for Christmas – by myself – to raise money for the homeless charity Centrepoint. I'll be heading to Wales to sleep on the summit of Snowdon, then to England for Scafell Pike and, on Christmas Eve, I'll be on top of Ben Nevis in Scotland, waking up on Christmas day as the highest person in the UK. As you all know I love sleeping in wild places, but I am very aware that I'm privileged enough to do this for fun whereas many young people don't get the choice. Up to 16,000 people between 16-25 will be at risk of homelessness over Christmas through no fault of their own and during the festive season it's all too easy to get caught up in everything in our own lives and forget these people. I hope to change that. By giving up my Christmas I hope to help raise money to help young people get the choice to sleep rough for fun rather than necessity. Even if my actions helps just one person it will be worth sacrificing the roast! If you can afford to – and no pressure at all, as I understand what it's like around Christmas – do please consider donating. Even just the price of a coffee could make a huge difference. I've set up a JustGiving page: …and all money goes directly to Centrepoint. I will of course be tweeting and doing Instagram stories from my challenge if you want to follow @phoebersmith Please do share far and wide if you can – and of course if you feel you can promote it in any way on any of your channels – please do. I (and Centrepoint) would be everso grateful. Thanks in advance and a very Merry Christmas to you all! Px #landscapephotography #landscapelovers #centrepoint #bigsleepout #wildnights #extremesleeps #natgeo #natgeoadventure #challenge #charity #threepeaks #threepeakssleep

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We’ve all been guilty of staying in our comfort zone at some point. It feels cosy and safe, but over time we become complacent and our personal growth stagnates. However, we must push our comfort zone and test our limits in any way and on any scale we want to we can even do it in our sleep: adventurer Phoebe Smith (above) camps out at some of mainland Britain’s most extreme points!


10. Live your true self

Every adventurous person I have spoken to is living their true self. They’ve all come to this realisation in different ways and stages of their lives. This is how they can have incredible levels of happiness and success.

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