EDITOR’S NOTE »This month you will notice a name change for Freddie Bennett’s hugely popular Mining Business Wealth column. The column has established a huge following in 2023. Our editorial team wanted a fresh new column title this year to better reflect his epic 2024 Arctic adventure and the launch of his new Titan Sky programme. Welcome to HIGH PERFORMANCE with Freddie Bennett … enjoy the inspiration!
POLAR PURSUIT: Conquering the Arctic in the quest for Peak Potential
This month, Bay Business News columnist Freddie Bennett is undertaking the world’s toughest, coldest ultramarathon: Running 300km across the frozen Arctic towards the North Pole. Discover his secret to how anybody can maximise their potential.
“The worst thing about the Arctic is that you know it’s trying to kill you”.
My blood turned to ice as the words of the safety instructor hung in the air like mist across a frozen lake.
Not for the first time, I questioned my intention, desire … and sanity. No matter how many times I read and re-read the facts and figures of one of the most brutal races on the planet, it didn’t get any less scary.
Running 300km in six days. Carrying all the food and equipment I’d need to survive. Temperatures of -50 degrees. Running across frozen lakes and over perilous mountain ranges. Polar bears. A 12,000 mile, 4-day journey to get to the start line. I should have gone to Fiji instead.
Let’s face it, there are hundreds of excuses not to undertake this challenge. But there is ONE reason to strap on a pair [of snowshoes] and step forward into the ice: to prove that everyday people can do remarkable things.
It’s about time
When it comes to ridiculous challenges, this isn’t my first rodeo.
I’ve run 300km across the scorching Sahara Desert and completed the world’s toughest ultramarathon. You’ll find me in the Guinness Book of World Records for my marathon running exploits. I perfected my ‘triathlete frown’ as I completed an Ironman. I even ran 100-miles non-stop through the wilderness.
But I hate running. I am not a runner. I’m not good at it. I’d rather spend a month counting traffic cones on Cameron Road than spend an hour talking about heart rate zones or cadence or whatever else it is that runners talk about.
I only run for two reasons: Firstly, it helps me look good naked. Secondly, because it saved my life.
You see, I’m not supposed to be here. I’m not supposed to be doing any of this. I should be stuck in my old life, which was the total opposite to the existence I have now.
Six years ago, I was living a life of quiet desperation, trapped in a mid-manager corporate role I hated. I could say that I hated the role, but the deeper truth is that I hated myself.
Because I hated myself, I was terrible at setting boundaries and found it impossible to say
“NO”. I also somehow achieved that magical crux of being overworked, burned-out, overwhelmed and constantly ‘too busy’ … while simultaneously being a poor performer.
This meant my confidence was shot to pieces, I drank too much, slept too little, constantly felt like an imposter in my own skin and couldn’t shift that ‘stuck’ feeling of, “I always thought life was going to give me something … more”.
I was about to end it all when the sudden death of my father led me to taking my life into my own hands, and begrudgingly swapping the bottle for the running shoes. But this frozen challenge isn’t about crazy adventures or superhuman feats of endurance. It’s about TIME.
And it’s not about me, it’s about YOU.
Your time is running out. The promotion you feel you’re not ready for. The new business you want to launch. The workshop you want to run. The relationship you want to start (or end).
You’re putting it off. You’re telling yourself you don’t have the time, or the money. A few brave souls among you will admit it’s more of a confidence issue than a capacity issue.
Either way, you’re not becoming who you know you can be at work or at home. Rather than stepping up, you’re putting your potential on ice.
That’s why I’m undertaking this challenge – to prove to you that you CAN do the things you think you cannot do. This is a real-time demonstration of the fact that everyday people can achieve remarkable results.
I’m not an athlete, an ex-Special Forces soldier or a privileged adventurer. I’m just a guy who – not so long ago – lacked the confidence, resilience, self-belief or structure to ‘step up’ in my career, my relationships or my life.
But when it came to maximising my potential, one thing made all the difference.
Breaking the ice
The business world is full of ‘slogan dispensers’ muttering the same old things about ‘change’, ‘mindset’ or ‘leadership’.
I imagine there’s a factory somewhere where these individuals roll off the production line, but they’re not released into the wild until they can recite ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ off by heart.
Companies invest in the training, the seminars, the books, the podcasts and the many,
many, many so-called ‘coaches’ in their quest for information.
They seek that missing, mythical piece of knowledge they believe will unfreeze the motivation, discipline and capacity of stretched-thin teams who appear frozen in the headlights of change.
But knowledge is not what your teams need. Neither do they require motivation, inspiration or a kick up the backside.
Yes, knowledge is important. But equally as important is the mindset to apply that knowledge, and the habits to keep applying it when it’s the last thing they feel like doing.
And that’s why the most important ingredient is … action.
Bold, imperfect action. Career-defining action. The kind of action that makes you feel a little scared. The kind of action that you don’t feel ready to take.
But take action, we must.
And that is why I will take the action one more time, as the only person in New Zealand to tackle the world’s toughest, coldest footrace…
To prove to you, your team and your clients that it’s never too late to become who you were always meant to be.
- Freddie Bennett is a Guinness World Record holder, bestselling author and leads New Zealand’s most secret mastermind group, Titan Sky. He gets businesses unstuck, unshackled and unleashed. Freddie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org