Mike Allsop © Allen & Unwin Publishing
Mike Allsop © Allen & Unwin Publishing

Three steps to discover your passion

8 March 2016

It took a three step process for Mike Allsop (pictured) to discover his passion for mountaineering, the Kiwi adventurer told the CIPS New Zealand Conference in Wellington.

Allsop, who achieved his life’s ambition of climbing mount Everest in 2007 and has run seven marathons on seven continents in seven days, told delegates that despite achieving his career goal of becoming an airline pilot at the age of 26, he was looking for greater satisfaction.

The first stage was to dream. He took a break from extracurricular activities, gave himself permission to dream, and “that’s how I found my passion.”

The second step was planning. “I put together a plan, a strong plan so that when I got overwhelmed I would know how to take one step at a time to pull back from the tipping point which would, inevitably, force failure,” he said.

Third, Allsop’s mantra is “never, ever give up”. He climbed mountains on most continents, keeping Everest in his sights as his ultimate goal. And he finally found the satisfaction he was looking for.

To offset the obvious risks associated with mountaineering, Allsop prepares well. “The best lessons I’ve learnt are from mistakes. My mistakes, but I learn even more from other people’s,” he said. He studied the mistakes other people made on Everest and discovered they had an error in common – punctuality. They all started their climb later than planned. Allsop said he made sure he got up early enough to prepare, ensuring he started his ascent as planned. He was successful.

Allsop said he wanted to be an airline pilot since the age of 13, but knew as an ordinary student he would need to raise his game.

Ignoring the advice from the smartest kid in the class on how to study for an exam, he designed his own approach to schoolwork. His four-hour study regime took him to the top of the class, and eventually became a captain for Air New Zealand.

“What I am blessed with is the ability to overcome big challenges,” he said.

Concluding his presentation, Allsop, who has also completed the world’s highest marathon – 5,300 metres above sea level, offered delegates advice. “We’re limited by the limitations we set for ourselves. We should have the courage to set our limits high and develop a new set of beliefs. If you believe you can, you will”.

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