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Performance Psychology Blog: Rowing the English Channel/"Why not mindset"

Happy new year greeting to everyone, I was reflecting over the Xmas period of an adventure that happen to me a few years back, and it really reminded me the importance of being open and having fun, by adopting a “why not mindset”.

The adventure was rowing across the English Channel, and it all came about by chance, after a friend convinced her husband and me that it would be fun. I can attest in the middle of the English Channel her husband wholeheartedly confirmed it wasn’t fun at all.

As we come into the New Year adopting the “why not mindset” I feel is very important. To do this you shouldn’t worry about the destination and instead focus on enjoying the process. Embrace new challenges especially the chance to work with others. At the time I took on this challenge, I had been doing triathlons and after completing several Olympic distances the next step was to go for the dreaded Iron Man. However, the solitary nature of training and the pain put me off, and when I questioned my internal motivation for embarking on an Iron Man apart from bragging rights, I realized it wouldn’t nourish my soul. So I decided to be open and say yes to anything that came my way. Cue forward a chat in a bar over a few drinks and the next minute I was part of a team of 6 rowing across the English Channel. At the time I had absolutely zero rowing experience, and if I had thought about this, there is probably no way I would say yes, however the experience was beyond what I could have possible imagined.

It took 5 attempts before we were actually allowed to row; our training and the actual event was always at the mercy of weather. We also had to raise a considerable amount of money; this required us to organize a charity auction night as a team, which was a fun and extremely rewarding activity. The training was completely new for most of us, and due to the 4 failed attempts, when the challenge finally came, we weren’t at all prepared, I think it had been nearly 3 months since we’d been in a boat. For someone used to the process of repetitive training attached to triathlons, this was very strange. I had to learn to let go and feed off the energy of my teammates. I strongly believe the "why not mindset", helped me that morning when I woke up at 4am to make the drive down to Dover.

The experience reminds me of the importance to adopt a why not mindset, which facilitates you growing and experiencing new things. So whatever comes your way this year, travel adventures, new business ventures, going back to university, moving to a new country, changing jobs, WHY NOT!!

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