Curiosity may have killed many cats, but it can help us humans live.
At the end of 2014, my curiosity started me on a 3-year journey from corporate banking to business owner; from helping FTSE 100 treasurers with working capital to helping women build active lifestyles alongside their careers.
The first step was taken as a reaction to feeling a bit lost and anxious about the path I was on. Not ready for big scale change, I kept my job at Deutsche Bank and tried to adjust life around it to find ways to stay active alongside long days at the desk. I was frustrated with feeling chained to my desk and wanted to have some fun, exploring London in my free time. Recognising there were so many things to try, and not one to do things by halves, I found myself committing to a self-designed 52 sporting challenges in 52 weeks – one for every weekend of the year.
The eXerK.com “52in52” was a campaign to get busy people active, myself included. It gave me the sense of purpose I was looking for. It was curiosity that took me from challenge to challenge; from number one, a new year’s day swim in the icy 4°C Hampstead Ponds, to a flying catch on the trapeze, try a backflip, standup paddleboard the Thames, cycle London to Paris to run a half marathon, hike Snowdon, surf Newquay, swim 5km, kayak Devon, do the Alpe d’Huez triathon, boulder in a French forest, climb ‘Everest’ by stairs and rollerblade London.
The public commitment to the eXerK.com 52in52, mixed with the curiosity of who I would meet and where it would take me, meant I had the drive, determination and strength, physically and mentally, to get on and do the things I had been meaning to try for years.
With over 450 others joining me over the year, I was helping busy people to get active. By removing the obstacles to help Londoners find their fun to stay healthy, it became part of our lives. The community and accountability made it a joy, rather than a chore, to schedule time to exercise.
It was a tough year, there is no doubt about it. Between my corporate banking role and eXerK, social life and sleep, I was surviving on adrenalin. I was full of energy thanks to the adventure-packed life I was leading outside of work but things have thankfully calmed down since completing the 52in52.
Since 2016, I have made a series of incremental changes; following my curiosities, working hard and believing in the power of people. I have left banking, organised social impact marathons in Nepal and Colombia, am a health & fitness columnist for the Evening Standard and Huffington Post, and now run SUSShealth.co, a venture helping women in London build active lifestyles into their working week.
It’s the small things that matter; by bitesizing things I enjoyed doing, it meant I could move forward, one foot in front of the other. For 2018, why not try picking a challenge based on your curiosities rather than your perceived talents. Follow your curiosities and explore them with passion and perseverance.