Just Challenge's very own Annabelle Bond on why athletes make great leaders

Annabelle Bond OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), is the fastest woman climber in the world having scaled the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on each continent) in just 360 days. She talks to Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide... 

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Annabelle has been showered in awards for her dedication to mountaineering and charity -- even named an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by the Queen of England. We spoke to Annabelle about setting goals, empowerment and overcoming obstacles.

How do sports fit into your life day to day?

"Sport has been such a huge part of my life since I was 5 years old. It has taught me to understand both success and failure."

"I believe very strongly in using healthy competition as a motivator to push myself to the next level. It has helped me understand the importance of nutrition and looking after my body which is effectively my engine when I am performing."

"I exercise at least an hour every day, as I find it very therapeutic to keep my mind happy. Any problem you have seems small after an hour long run."

What skills have you learned from being a professional climber?

"There are many life skills that I learnt from my time in the mountains that I apply in my day-to-day life. For me, I can't emphasize enough the importance of setting goals and working towards them."

"The feeling of working towards and achieving a goal is very empowering and enables you to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve things in life. This sense of empowerment also enables you to work through any negativity that may come into your life."

"Risk assessment was something we used a lot in the mountains and that is certainly correlated to business life; however, our lives depended on getting this right in the mountains, so the stakes were slightly higher!"

How have you carved out a career path?
 

"I had a slightly different experience -- I went from being a business professional to an athlete, where I had to ensure my daily routine was structured and on a trajectory to achieve success. After completing the Seven Summits in 360 days, I then made the transition to being a single mum."

"This was very hard for me, as I had to learn to be responsible for someone else -- I needed to be grounded and in once place not moving from mountain to mountain and country to country, pushing myself physically."

"I drew from my experiences from the mountains and implemented them into motherhood. Being exhausted, having to be organised, dealing with ups and downs and understanding how much I loved and was responsible for this person."

What tips would you give young athletes?

"Be smart -- don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. Try and capitalise on your athleticism, as it is hard to stay at the top of your game for too long."

"Diversify and monetise your talents as best you can and plan for the future -- when your body can't sustain the competition."

"The same message always applies: it's focus and hard work that bring success in whatever field you're in."

How do you think training prepares women for leadership roles?


"Leaders should always lead by example -- hard work, discipline, focus, self-belief, dedication to your sport or job, striving to succeed. If you get knocked down, pick yourself up and continue."

What did you learn from conquering the Seven Summits?


"Never fear failure. Many of the world’s best leaders have all experienced failure. I honestly believe that failing is a very important lesson to experience and, sadly, too many kids today are being shielded from learning this these days."

 

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Lucy Bennett-Baggs