I was in London yesterday, attending a ‘well-being’ event at a venue on the embankment of the River Thames. Much of the day was focused on resilience, and we heard from several people throughout the conference about what resilience meant for them.
Whilst we all sat around talking about what resilience looks like, just a stone’s throw away, on the river itself, a feat of of endurance and resilience was being completed by Sarah Outen, who had just become the first woman to go around the world under her own steam.
Thirty year old Sarah ended her four-and-a half year journey when she paddled her kayak under Tower Bridge, completing 25,000 miles of cycling, rowing and kayaking, which has seen her face death on several different occasions.
At different times she was been rescued from the pacific, during a tropical storm; has been sucked under the bows of a container ship; and has cycled through extreme temperatures of + and – 40 degrees.
Sarah’s expedition has helped raise money for the MND Association, Coppafeel, WaterAid and the Jubilee Sailing Trust. As well as the fundraising, she hopes to have raised the aspirations of a whole generation of young people to achieve as much as they can in life.
Talking to the Daly Telegraph, Sarah said: “For me this expedition has always been about the adventure, the challenge and importantly about the learning. But I also wanted to share this experience with others, to show people, especially young people, that you can do whatever you put your mind to. This is a belief inspired by my late father and is one I carry with me always.”
Apart from her evident self-efficacy, Sarah’s resilience was helped along the way by connecting with strangers and friends alike. She had a support team to assist her and spoke daily to her fiancé, Lucy.
Upon her return she acknowledged the part that the support from other people had played in her achieving her goal, saying “…while I spent much of the time out there on my own, this has by no means been a solo expedition. I could not have done it without them.”
Time and again, on my year long voyage through resilience the message about the importance of the connection with others is emerging as a key element of the whole puzzle.