Turia Pitt’s guide to life
Gearing up for another sporting comeback, the athlete and burns survivor shares the simple secrets to creating formidable inner strength
The athlete and life coach shares her strength secrets
“If you say, ‘Well, I’m not as confident as that yet’, you reassure yourself you’re on the journey to getting there”
Turia Pitt is the definition of resilience, courage and beating the odds, and she’s about to inspire us all over again. This month the athlete, who was severely burnt in a fire while competing in an ultramarathon in 2011, is embarking on her first endurance challenge since becoming a new mum: the 30.5km mountain run at the Kathmandu Coast to Coast multisport event in New Zealand. Her goal? To run the best race she can, and encourage women to follow in her trailblazing path. “The key to an incredible life comes down to mindset,” Turia says. “When you get that right, you can be and do anything you want.” Welcome to the Turia Pitt masterclass in living your best life. Run your own race
“I like to think of myself as a relatively fit person, so when the Kathmandu Coast to Coast came up, I wanted to do the whole thing. I mean, I’ve done Ironman events and ultramarathons and I coach people to take on massive goals through my online School of Champions.
But tearing it back and taking into consideration my family and business, I came to the realisation that doing the mountain run alone was enough of a challenge for me. And I think that’s really important to remember: you can’t compare yourself to other people, and you can’t even compare yourself to what [you previously] might have been able to do. It’s all relative. The right goal is the one that’s right for you.” Tap into the lifechanging power of ‘yet’ “From an early age, my mum introduced me to the power of the word ‘yet’, and it was a lesson she taught me again in hospital. When I couldn’t feed myself, couldn’t dress myself, couldn’t brush my hair (for years!), I would cry with frustration and say, ‘I can’t do it’. Each time, Mum would gently remind me,
‘Turia, you can’t do it yet ’. What Mum made me realise was that, even though my situation was hard, it wasn’t permanent. If I kept trying, kept persevering, I could and would get better. So, rather than thinking that you’re either confident or not, or you’ve got self-belief or you don’t, if you say, ‘Well, I’m not as confident as that yet’, you reassure yourself that you’re on the journey to getting there.” Don’t buy into excuses
“I don’t believe I have any more determination than the next person. My strength has just been tested in ways most people won’t experience. I think we all have an infinite amount of strength and potential but it’s our excuses that keep us from tapping into it. It’s like when people say, ‘I don’t have enough time’ when time is the only thing we all have an equal amount of! I’ve got one of the best excuses going: I was catastrophically injured during a fire, I’ve lost fingers, I look different and I can’t regulate my body temperature. If I wanted to, I could use the fire as an excuse for not living my life the way I want to. Obviously, that hasn’t been my choice! Anyone can develop a strong and positive mindset with the right tools and strategies.”
Start a resilience bank
“The key to resilience is the belief that not only will you go through hard times, but that you can. I’d suggest making a list of all the tough things you’ve been through – maybe your parents got divorced, you’ve lost someone close to you, you lost your job or you’ve had some other setback. [When you] look back at this list, you’ll realise you’ve already been through a lot of hard times and – guess what – you made it! Each time I go through a tough time in my life now, I think, ‘I’ve had tough times before and I’ve survived them – I’m gonna survive this one too’.” Call on gratitude
“Practising gratitude keeps me mentally strong. Every morning when I wake up, I think of three things I’m genuinely grateful for and, if I do it right and I really feel that gratitude, no shit, I start crying. It starts my day in the best way!
In an endurance race when it gets really tough and I recognise that I’m starting to have negative self-talk, I’ll start thinking about all the people who’ve helped me get where I am and how fortunate I am to be alive. At Kathmandu Coast to Coast I’ll also be thinking how incredible it is to experience being a mum. If you’re really focused on being grateful, you can’t be negative at the same time – it’s the antidote for negativity.”