Lessons from the (mud) trenches

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On Sunday, I got out of my comfort zone and participated in Tough Mudder 2015. I have never, ever done anything like this before—not even a fun run! The course was 20km with lots of mud and lots of obstacles to climb over, under, and through. I was really scared but had to face my fears, and push this aside. Rather than be overwhelmed by the enormous task ahead—and of course not dying!—our team decided to think about and approach one obstacle at a time. While I was unable to complete all obstacles I was determined to finish and kept going—and going towards the finish line.

And finish I did!

On reflection—post-hot shower and a clean set of clothes—I have seen so many parallels in what makes successful people and successful brands. Here are four of my observations:

  1. How you approach obstacles is how you face life. You have a choice to either give it a go or bypass the obstacle. Even when I was scared and didn’t know how to tackle it, I gave it a go. Sometimes, especially towards the end I had to bypass a couple. But that was okay. Sometimes you have to choose.
  2. Surround yourself with like-minded people who have your back. I decided to do the event because I did it with my team mates from my training group. Our team stuck together and helped each other over, through, and under each obstacle. I knew they had my back and they knew I had theirs. And more importantly, I knew they were not going to leave me behind in a mud trench somewhere!
  3. No matter what, you need to keep your sense of humour. There were many times during the course (especially the last 10 percent) that I found it really challenging. But as a team, we never lost our sense of humour (mud does that). We were able to find humour in every challenge and laugh at each other and ourselves right to the end. It made it fun and it  motivated me to keep going.
  4. Celebrate each achievement, no matter how small. On the second obstacle—climbing over a high wall after coming out of a mud bath—I was finding it difficult and had decided to bypass. But my team encouraged me go back and to give it a go. They knew I wanted to do it. I needed their help and I just had to ask for it. Not only did I get their help, I also got help from others around us. For me, it was more than just getting over the wall—I needed to get over this wall to prove to myself that I could get over any obstacle.  In the bigger picture, it was a small thing but we celebrated each achievement as we made our way around the course. Because the course—like life!—is about getting over small (and large) obstacles and celebrating each achievement along the way.

Overall the biggest thing I realised was that doing Tough Mudder for me was more about my mental strength than my physical strength. My mantra throughout the course was ‘be courageous’. And I proved to myself that I was! I use this mantra in my business every day.

Bring on Tough Mudder 2016!

Thanks to my team—Loretta, Erica, and Alex for getting me over, under, and through the course; and to Integral Fitness for training my body and mind to build my resilience and reframe my ‘why’! 

*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels, and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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