What It Really Means To Be Outside Of Your Comfort Zone
How many times in your life have you truly stepped outside of your comfort zone?
What did you find there?
Thirty three intrepid souls left on Sunday November 8th, 2020, on the Atlantic Coast of France from a place called Les Sables-d’Olonne. Each one of these souls was aboard a sailboat. They were starting a race that would intentionally end right back where they had started.
However, this was no day sail or coastal cruise. Between them and the finish line, 24’000 nautical miles of sailing through the harshest sailing conditions on the planet. This is perhaps the toughest sporting event known to mankind, and it is called the Vendee Globe.
A circumnavigation of the planet unsupported and with no stops along the way.
Since 1992 a race, that makes the Tour de France, the Olympic Marathon or the across the USA cycle, the Vendee Globe sailing adventure makes those other epic events look rather like a walk in the park.
Over the course of the next three months fifty percent of the race fleet is likely to retire from the race, some of those could be injured, and god forbid, one or two may even have to be rescued from the sea.
The skippers of these high tech, super efficient flying machines of the sea are taking self isolation to the next level. Yet, many of us who are frustrated by second, or third rounds of lockdown back here on dry land, would hardly put up our hand to be singled out for a chance to spend three months in a watery cabin being pounded by enormous seas, deprived of sleep, and eating a diet of mainly dry frozen foods to keep up a required five thousand per day calorie count.
On top of that, you have the constant stress of potentially having your boat hit a (USO) an Unidentified Submerged Object, while hurtling along down a wave at over 20 knots, 37kph of boat speed.
Six women have started this year’s race, and it goes to show that equality in sport, no matter what the sport, is a great thing and should be embraced. The women in this race are not there to make up the numbers, oh no, they all have a good chance to stand on the podium back in Les Sables-d’Olonne if things go in their favour.
There lies the whole equation. What will be in your favour?
Battling crazy winds, currents, storms, fatigue, physical, emotional and spiritual challenges every single minute of every single day for the entire race will take all of the competitors beyond their comfort zones.
What are they likely to find there?
They will understand things about themselves that they never knew. They will find out that they are capable in so many different ways. They will cry, they will laugh, they will feel lonely, they will celebrate small successes, and a very small number of them may get to celebrate overall success.
There will be times when they will go on to autopilot, there will be times that they forget what they did the day before, or even what day of the week it is. They will be connected to their environment that very few of us ever get to experience. Their senses will be heightened for weeks, even months on end. They will all return different people as a result of this epic adventure.
They will all have stories to share, no doubt wisdom to enlighten us, and they will exchange thoughts that only they can truly understand. Thirty three souls on a mission to change their lives in a way few ever contemplate, for it is not about the sea, or being a sailor or even going around the world when most of us can’t.
It is about being courageous enough to put yourself in dangers way but to be confident enough that you can work through any challenges or obstacles that get thrown your way. It is about doing all of this while you are getting tossed around in a carbon fibre shell, at times just inches away from the icy Southern Ocean.
It is about remaining calm when many would panic, to control the anxiety to a level that you make the smart decisions, not what could be your last decision. It is about returning to loved ones you left behind, to the greet the sponsors, and supporters and YouTube fans, but most of all it’s about being able to prove to yourself one simple thing.
I can do that.
There is after all, no greater accomplishment in life, then being able to look in the mirror and to know the very person you are looking at was prepared to give something a go, not to back down and to surpass even your own wildest of dreams.
Fair winds and following seas you intrepid adventurers of this years Vendee Globe, we look forward to following your journey, and seeing you all safely return when you are done.
Vendee Globe Photo