Mental fortitude is built on many qualities, for me, the most essential being passion, the source of my emotions and drive. Discovering goals to direct my passions toward enables focus and commitment. They provide fuel to overcome obstacles and hardship. I strive to understand the factors that enhance my passions and those that diminish them. I channel my thoughts and actions toward the positive and away from the negative.
To keep my mental game strong, I focus on the big picture but simultaneously dissect that overall goal into smaller and more achievable pieces. This helps me from being overwhelmed by the scale of a large endeavor. In realizing the smaller components of a bigger goal, my emotions and enthusiasm remain positive and strong.
For example, last year I bicycled, solo, along the Pacific Crest from Canada to Mexico, stopping to climb and sometimes ski major peaks along the way. My steel touring bike was loaded with over 100 lbs of climbing, ski and camping gear. Planning this trip was one of the most daunting things I’d ever done and it was hard to stay positive when considering the enormity of the project. I found it helpful to break both the planning and training goals into smaller pieces. As the journey began, focusing on only the next objective was enormously beneficial as I biked, climbed and skied my way down into Washington State. Each success strengthened my mental fortitude and provided stoke for the ride to the next peak. Three months later, my great adventure, the sum of many smaller successes, was complete.
A passion for adventure sparks my interest in challenging myself in mountains around the world. Breaking these trips into smaller, more achievable parts fosters success, strengthening my enthusiasm and building mental toughness for bigger goals in the future. Best wishes in finding and following your passions to wherever they lead you.