Fe­male chal­lengers

WHEN IT COMES TO FIND­ING THE RIGHT CHAL­LENGE FOR YOU, THE ACHIEVE­MENTS OF OTHERS CAN BE A GREAT SOURCE OF IN­SPI­RA­TION (THOUGH NOT COM­PAR­I­SON!). MEET SIX AMAZ­ING WOMEN WHO LOVE A CHAL­LENGE

In the Moment - - Wellbeing -

Natalie is the founder of Gutsy Girls, a com­mu­nity of women seek­ing ad­ven­tures, fac­ing fears and hav­ing in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ences to­gether.

“Gutsy Girl chal­lenges aim to give women the op­por­tu­nity to get out of their com­fort zones, push them­selves and dis­cover how strong and bad-ass they are in a sup­port­ive en­vi­ron­ment.

“Chal­lenges give us fo­cus and an out­let away from work and other life stresses. They help us grow as in­di­vid­u­als as they make us ac­count­able for some­thing. The re­silience we take from them, we can trans­fer to our ev­ery­day lives.

“It’s all about the jour­ney lead­ing up to the chal­lenge and sup­port­ing each other. Chal­lenges shouldn’t be a com­pe­ti­tion. Choose some­thing you like and en­joy the process, it should be about friend­ship and hav­ing fun.” Tara is an artist and on­line art teacher who runs weekly art chal­lenges.

“I think chal­lenges are a su­per way to get your­self tak­ing ac­tion on some­thing that’s im­por­tant to you, whether that’s cre­atively or for tness or any other rea­son – es­pe­cially if you’re the sort of per­son who thrives with a bit of guid­ance and ac­count­abil­ity along­side the space to make au­ton­o­mous de­ci­sions.

“Over and over, on In­sta­gram, I’ve seen peo­ple sur­prise them­selves with what they’re ca­pa­ble of, grow in con dence, make new friends, de­velop seeds of ideas into big­ger projects, cre­ate work that has then sold; and not only make art they love, but thor­oughly en­joy the process too. A chal­lenge can be as de­mand­ing or as gen­tle as you like, and it’s a very low-pres­sure way to ex­per­i­ment with ideas.”

Kiko is an ed­u­ca­tor, chal­lenge­seeker, ad­ven­turer and founder of char­ity The Big Stand. De­spite be­ing di­ag­nosed with Cush­ing’s dis­ease in 2009 (a syn­drome caus­ing very high lev­els of the hor­mone cor­ti­sol in the body, caus­ing a range of symp­toms, which can in­clude high blood pres­sure and mus­cle weak­ness), she re­cently set a record as the fastest woman to row the At­lantic solo.

“When we chal­lenge our­selves, we leave our com­fort zone. I don’t know what I’m good at un­til I try it, what I like un­til I give it a go or who my friends are un­til I meet them.

“Chal­leng­ing your­self teaches you per­spec­tive, to be ok with fail­ure, to let go of fear and to grow. It helps you be­come you and when you’re you, you be­come happy and it’s then you can re­ally make a di er­ence.”

CHANTELLE ELLEM

Also known as Fat Mum Slim, Chantelle was the rst per­son to set a ‘Photo A Day’ chal­lenge on In­sta­gram.

“Per­son­ally, I don’t want to be stag­nant. I love to keep grow­ing and evolv­ing and chal­leng­ing my­self, and Photo A Day is one way to do that. It’s such a pos­i­tive move­ment. It en­cour­ages you to take a mo­ment each day to take a photo, which leads to grate­ful­ness, be­ing present and nd­ing joy in each day.

“Al­most 30 mil­lion pho­tos have been shared so far in the Photo A Day chal­lenge, and six years on it’s still go­ing strong. For me, the com­mu­nity around Photo A Day has been the best perk. Peo­ple from all over the world have found new friends, and some have even own across the globe to meet each other. That’s pretty spe­cial.”

BONITA NOR­RIS

Bonita was the youngest per­son in the world to climb Mount Ever­est and to reach the North Pole.

“I take on chal­lenges for di er­ent rea­sons but mostly be­cause I want to push my­self, nd out what I’m ca­pa­ble of, go into that un­known. I love that feel­ing of be­ing truly con­nected – to na­ture, the tribe and our­selves. It’s that con­nec­tion that makes us feel alive. And what is life about but to be alive?

“I don’t think lead­ing by ex­am­ple and just ‘be­ing out there’ on so­cial me­dia as an ad­ven­turer is enough.

You need to make the e ort to sit in front of peo­ple, en­gage with them and chal­lenge their be­lief sys­tem. I make a real e ort to speak in schools – over 200 to date. I try to in­spire young peo­ple to be­lieve in them­selves, fol­low their own path and not give up when life gets tough.”

EMMA COLLINS

Eigh­teen months ago, Lon­don-based Emma took up run­ning and now com­pletes marathons de­spite her type 1 di­a­betes di­ag­no­sis.

“Do some­thing ev­ery day that scares you – you re­gret more the things you don’t do than the things you do. Chal­lenge your­self, prove that you can do what­ever you put your mind to.

“As a type one, I want to prove to my­self and others that health and other chal­lenges don’t have to stop you – each time you hit a hur­dle keep go­ing, get­ting around any ob­sta­cles makes it an even greater ac­com­plish­ment.”

@gut­sy­girls@taraleaver@kikoma hews

@fatmu lim@boni­tan r @ we_run_­di­a­bet

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