I have recently been fortunate enough to be involved in coaching the Atlantic Ladies. A team of 3 incredible women who have just completed the 2017/18 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge (TWAC). Rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in 60 days, 18 hours and 34 minutes. The Atlantic Ladies not only completed the row in their desired time, but also came away with 3 world records under their belt, an amazing achievement!
The TWAC has been named the world’s toughest row and having been involved with the challenge in my own small way, I can really see why! A gruelling routine of eat, sleep, row repeat that involves 2 hours on the oars and 2 hours off, 24 hours a day. Minimal and disrupted sleep patterns, home and sea sickness, sores on the hands, bums and feet, 30ft waves, sharks, potential hurricanes and the risk of capsize, all make it one of the hardest physical and mental challenges out there.
So why would anyone want to do it? Some of you will be thinking, 'I wouldn't!' while others will already be thinking ‘how do I sign up?’ Whether it is something that we would or wouldn't want to do, what these 3 incredible women and all the other teams in the TWAC have done, is inspire so many people. The level of support, encouragement and admiration that has been shown via messages on social media, donations to charity and in many other ways, throughout the whole challenge, has been phenomenal.
This left me wondering, what is it about what these ladies have done that had us all following their journey with such dedication, constant thought and true interest? Why did this challenge make us open up and send such heartfelt and sincere messages of support and encouragement and hold our breath when we heard that the weather was bad and they had capsized? What was it about rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean that made us jump out of bed every morning and check how many nautical miles they had completed in the last 24 hours?
For me, the Atlantic ladies have shown me that there is something incredible about the potential of the human being, something really inspiring about people who push themselves and go beyond their comfort zone. It makes me think about what is possible, rather than what is not. It makes me question what I am capable of and what I could do to challenge myself in my everyday life.
Stepping outside our comfort zones and achieving something that scares us, or something we didn’t feel we were capable of, changes our perception of ourselves. It makes us see ourselves outside of our limitations and gives us a glimpse of what else could be possible for us. The Atlantic ladies are a perfect example of what we can achieve when we believe in ourselves and overcome adversity.
Rowing across the Atlantic certainly isn’t for everyone, but we all have an Ocean to row, no matter how big, small or insignificant it may seem and I believe this is why we have all been so moved and affected by what the Atlantic ladies have achieved. They have not only shown us what we are capable of but they have allowed us to imagine something different for ourselves. They have allowed us to imagine what it would be like for us to overcome our fears and to triumph against the limitations of our minds.
So I ask you to have a think about what limitations you put on yourself, what do you tell yourself is beyond you? What do you feel would be a challenge for you? I invite you to ask yourself, what is my Ocean and what do I need to do to row it? And when it gets tough, think about the Atlantic ladies and the difficulties they faced and overcame, dig deep and find your inner strength, tell yourself 'I can do this.' Because I know this to be true, if they can do it, so can you!