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

Women's Health Australia - - CONTENTS - By Penny Car­roll

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.”

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