Complex landscapes, extreme weather conditions, and unforgiving environments — this is what adventurer Jenny Tough is up against on her solo mission to run across every mountain range on every continent.
Jenny’s solo expeditions are inspired by both the physical and mental challenges involved.
She told National Geographic: “I want to know what challenges I can actually accomplish and how much further I’m able to push myself.” Her thirst for unsupported adventure takes her into dangerous places where giving into fear could be catastrophic—so as climbers, what can we learn from her approach to challenges and fear?
A near death experience
When she was running across Kyrgyzstan, she made a navigational error that almost ended her journey. To get back on route she had a choice to make: take her chances on a cliff edge or climb a mountain.
“I decided to go with the climb,” she said. “And it was like a prolonged near death experience. I decided that as soon as I got out of that valley, I was going to leave and go home.” Yet once she had passed the moment of greatest danger — she found it in herself to carry on. How?
Applying mental training
Experience overcomes fear. Year after year of solo expeditions had trained Jenny for this moment. And at Strong Mind, we encourage a similar outlook: you can’t learn everything through theory. Resilience and perseverance need to be trained through practice and application.
Jenny’s challenges are extreme, but her approach is measured, and her planning is meticulous. She has a mental strength that has come from years of being pushed to her limits and working with her fears, rather than against them.
What can we learn?
- Find your challenge level: one that excites you, but doesn’t terrify you.
- Build up the challenge level over time, increasing your resilience progressively
- Plan your challenge with a strategy in mind, so you have a feeling of control over those things you can influence.
- Fatigue has a mental component. For the greatest challenges, we need to train our minds as much as our bodies.
Jenny’s book SOLO will be published in July 2022.