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Sunday, February 20, 2011



Bear Grylls on an Expedition in 2003Bear's story of progressing from a broken back in hospital to the summit of the world's highest mountain, is one that touches people globally.
As he says live on stage: "I remember lying there during those long months of recovery and suddenly this dream that I had clung to so tightly and for so long, of climbing Everest, just felt a million miles away. It was beyond what I could believe and I remember vividly looking at the pictures my late father had given me of Everest years earlier, and taking them down. I dismissed it as something childish and something that could no longer become a reality."
But Bear continued to persevere against all the odds and eventually after three months on the mountain, during which four climbers had tragically lost their lives, he was edging ever closer.
"I remember clearing that final lip, lying on my stomach, heaving for oxygen, and looking up in disbelief, that just 200m away was the place that had captured me since I was a little boy. The roof of the world. But however many of these pathetic shuffles I took it never got any closer. I remember the adrenalin beginning to pump - you feel it as this very physical presence that fills your muscles and your veins but which also very quickly leaves you with this weakness that follows as you struggle to maintain that intensity…"

Eventually, at 7.22am on the 26th May 1998 Bear Grylls climbed into the Guinness Book of Records as the Youngest British climber ever to reach the summit of Everest and return alive.
"Looking back it is strangely clear how certain qualities stood out above everything else up there. There were certain things that kept people alive and gave us hope; and they may be different from what you might at first imagine."
Bear's talks focus on those simple qualities that make the difference between life and death on a mountain: the intimacies and realities of teamwork, the honesty needed in intense environments and the courage that comes not from bravado but from something else inside.
"The difference between ordinary and extra-ordinary is so often just simply that little word - extra. And for me, I had always grown up with the belief that if someone succeeds it is because they are brilliant or talented or just better than me…and the more of these words I heard the smaller I always felt! But the truth is often very different…and for me to learn that ordinary me can achieve something extra-ordinary by giving that little bit extra, when everyone else gives up, meant the world to me and I really clung to it."
Bear's story continues to touch people around the world. It is a story of honesty, friendships, determination and humility.

Bear's talks cover:

Where he talks about the human bonds that tie people together when the chips are really down. About what it really means to have your life depending on a slender rope between you and your teammate. The ability to work together under such harrowing conditions as 28,000 ft above sea-level, in -40o celcius. And how crucial a role honesty, integrity and trust plays when your lives hang precariously in the balance.
Bear's story focusses on that ability to find something special, deep inside, when it matters - not a transient, chest-beating form of motivation that fades when the going gets tough, but the discovery of a core drive, that sustains you through the darkest times. An instict to achieve. A quiet strength. The realisation that no-one is super-human, but that we are all fragile- but also understanding that as humans we are built to excel. It is about finding that little bit 'extra'; that vital word that makes the difference between the ordinary and the 'extra'ordinary.
A realisation that the qualities needed for effective leadership can be learnt. That real leader's inspire a feel-good factor around them; you want to be with them regardless. That we all perform better when we are appreciated and encouraged and valued. That leader's think bigger, and differently. They inspire those around them to go that little bit further, to perform that little bit better, and feel that little bit stronger.
Bear has lead numerous expeditions now and shares the keys to his success - bringing the best out of the people whose lives are in the balance with him. His story is of leadership put to the ultimate test.
Bear is only too aware that an effective team on a high mountain relies on honest communication. Having a shared purpose, a culture of can-do and want-to; rather than politics or one-up-man-ship. Encouraging faith in each other, encouraging trust, and an ability to share weaknesses as well as strengths. An awareness that vulnerability creates bonds, and where there are bonds there is strength. A determination to make it together, where humility is a virtue and kindness really matters.
That we all have our own Everest's in our lives. Bear's story is really about applying those simple qualities that kept him alive and that helped him become one of the few, or as Bear often says, "one of the 'lucky' on Everest." It's a story about knowing that the harder we try and the more of our heart we put into things, the luckier we all become. It is about not being afraid to be close to those around you, and about each of our ability to make a positive difference.
Bear Grylls SpeakingThat each of us is special and has that strength to reach our own summits.
If Bear made it to the top of the physical world, despite the horrendous odds, statistics, pitfalls, and even a broken back in three places only two years earlier…then we too can reach the highest peaks in our lives.
Other areas
Thinking on your feet; coping with radical change; coping with the successes and the times in between (or as some call them: the failures!); coping with conflict; knowing that individual success is the really just the product of thorough planning, preparation and team-collaboration... and a bit of good fortune too.


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