Becoming X…

Photograph courtesy of Mike Lawn and Becoming X

‘Its not what you know, but who you know’ is a phrase that has long appeared in the English language. Recently I was invited to be involved in a new and exciting charity called ‘Becoming X‘, which hopes to motivate, inspire and help people across the world, all because of someone I know…

Mountaineering is a funny old business. Reputations come and go, with many made in years, and some shattered in moments, but word of mouth gets around. In 2012 I travelled to Russia to climb Mt. Elbrus with Paralympic Athlete Dave Padgen, and here I met Paul Gurney. Paul was quite an international traveller and after our successful summit, we stayed in touch.

We met in Johannesburg and then in London, where he first mentioned a charity project he was beginning. Paul asked if I would like to be involved. Of course, I said yes, although I had no idea where it would take me. Months passed, before the call came for a day filming in the deepest depths of Hertfordshire…

Paul has created Becoming X, which “aims to create a world where everyone has the confidence and skills to realise their full potential, no matter what their starting point in life.” Paul’s aim is to ‘share the experience of some of the world’s most iconic and inspiring  people, showcasing what is possible and explaining how anyone can achieve extraordinary things.”

In practical terms he says this is about ‘demystifying what it takes to succeed and equipping people from all backgrounds with the confidence and skills to realise their full potential”.

The Interviewees are phenomenal – I am sworn to secrecy on names, but they include Presidents, Nobel Peace Prize winners, Olympic Gold medallists, household name CEOs, internationally acclaimed actors and authors…. Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who I am allowed to mention!) and little old me. “How did I find my way into such auspicious company..?” I wondered. Some is down to knowing Paul, but he recognised that I’ve continued to mountaineer across the world, working with my injuries, rather than using them as an excuse to fail, and consistently setting high standards. Paul saw the potential for me to record my story on camera and that is exactly what we did.

Complimented with still photography from the legendary Mike Lawn (his library speaks for itself), the day was a wonderful occasion, filled with laughter, emotion, light and dark. I can’t remember how many times I’ve spoken about my accident, its recovery and how my life has changed, but I’ve Surrendered to my Speaking and become free of notes, plans and preconceptions. I just tell my story, as honestly as I can, with no punches pulled. I find it works rather well. I’m so emotionally and physically attached to whats happened in my life, after all, I was there. To me, this is not a story read in someone else’s book, or screened on someone else’s cinema. This is mine…

Filming with me that day was the legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes. We’ve met numerous times in the past, but our first contact was back in 1999, when he telephoned a very battered mountaineer, who had just gone through surgery. Sir Ranulph had recently returned from a trip into the Arctic and frozen some finger tips. We discussed medical matters, before he cut his frostbite off with a hacksaw..! I’ll take anesthetic, if you don’t mind. Since then we’ve met at Royal Events and lectures across the UK. He was a pleasure to work with and I hope to meet him again soon.

Becoming X has its formal launch next year, but I’ve already seen some of the stills and they’re fantastic. I’m looking very much forward to seeing how the filming has come out. Watch this space…

We should all help inspire, motivate and equip others with the skills to succeed. Whether it be through our families, as educators or citizens of society.

In my view, it’s our moral responsibility…

My Thanks to Paul Gurney, Rohitesh Dhawan, Emma Birchall, Mike Lawn, Joel Mishcon and Chrome Productions and Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

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