Goal setting from your heart to achieve extraordinary results

Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with my family to celebrate my little brother’s, tremendous achievement of reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro. I would like to share with you a journey of strength, courage and determination to demonstrate how setting clear goals that are true to yourself and from your heart can lead to extraordinary results.

My brother, Richard, had his first child at the age of seventeen, he bounced from job to job and anxiety was present for him most days, life was a struggle. He and his girlfriend went on to have two other beautiful children but they had no idea how hard life was about to become.

As a baby, their youngest child, a daughter, was diagnosed with a mass on her liver that was too big for her tiny body. At times when she was on life support and the doctors were not certain she would live. She spent many hours in intensive care and being nursed back to health. It was a difficult time for the whole family and an experience no parent should face. Miraculously she made a full recovery, only to tragically contract meningitis when she was just 17 months old.

My brother and his girlfriend were heart broken, exhausted and lost. Richard’s anxiety peaked and they were living one day at a time. After a heart wrenching period of time in Great Ormond Street Hospital, and a poor prognosis about her future, she once again made a full recovery. Today she is a beautiful, healthy ten year old, who is top of her class for English. It still feels like a miracle.

At the same time, their then three-year-old son started having fits and it seemed that everything he had learnt in life had fallen away. At his most challenging point he was having up to 100 fits a day and the neurologists prepared us that they didn’t expect him to live past his twelfth birthday. Could life get any worse? Richard felt unable to return to work and became a full time carer for their son, Jake.

Richard’s mental health was at an all time low and despite this he cared for Jake twenty-four hours a day. After many years of love, determination, medical care and numerous experimental diets, Jake turned twelve this year and he is a happy lad with a bright future.

These years of hardship have been driven by love and determination and not once have Richard, and his now wife Emma, complained or given up. They have also been supported by a fantastic charity called Demelza, who have provided much needed respite care, and Richard felt he had a debt to repay. He wanted to raise money for them but didn’t know how. Previously setting goals had never been on his agenda so he decided to set himself the goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro!

Now, he has never walked up a steep hill before let alone a mountain and money has never been an abundant feature in his life. He spent the next 18 months putting every spare moment and eliciting every resource available into fundraising and preparing for his trip, all this with anxiety and low confidence.

On Thursday last week, Richard reached the summit of the world’s largest freestanding mountain: Kilimanjaro. He has described some amazing moments. He walked through freezing cloud with little visibility and emerged into beautiful clear sky above. He spoke of leading others when his energy was high and then letting other lead when he needed guidance. On occasions he took the difficult decision to split from the group and walk on alone when he felt that staying would jeopardise him achieving his goal. He said it was brutal at times, so many challenges with one goal in mind! What an amazing metaphor for business and life.

He said his morning routine of hydration, medication, food intake, washing etc and that his packing was organised and accessible, gave him a solid foundation to push off from every morning. How many of us set that boundary of self care for ourselves each day, to give us the best chance of success?

His goals were to give back to the charity that supported him so other families could have the crucial support needed to make life bearable. This goal was £4k and he has raised over £5k. And of course to reach the top of that mountain; and HE DID IT! I couldn’t be more proud.

Having a clear outcome that is true to you and your heart will get you to where you want to go, however high your mountain and challenges along the way. How clear are your goals? Where are you on your mountain? Are you ready to reach your summit?