Why I started this…

I’d noticed that when I’d undertaken things that I didn’t feel were at all within my comfort zone I got a mental boost– not at the time granted as it often felt strange / scary / too much but afterwards there was a real sense I’d conquered something.

By occasionally pushing my own comfort zone I’d noticed that as small challenges were overcome it improved my self-belief, challenged past experiences relating to self-esteem and built my mental resilience. This led me to think perhaps the subject could be worth exploring further – to see if by repeatedly testing myself through new challenges it might help improve my mental health. I spoke to others about this they seemed interested to tag along to see if it might help them and their mental health so @notthecomfortzone was born!

I now have a few initial challenges which are designed to build confidence and get more people interested in the project. During the first few months we will be taking on challenges such as a leap of faith and a fast rope descender at a high ropes courses, long-distance mountain walks, paddle surfing and even a charity fight – all with the intention of taking people out of their comfort zones to see what, if any improvements they feel.

Over the course of the next year I intend to push myself / others involved both mentally and physically with all manner of challenges before in April 2020 taking on a pretty big test. As a group, we intend to take on my past nemesis – the 101 mile nonstop stand up paddle across the Scottish Highlands from Oban right up through the Great Glen to Chanonry Point on the Black Isle – this has beaten me twice!  By gradually testing ourselves over the preceding 12 months we will built our self belief, confidence and physical capabilities to what we can achieve. This new mindset will be invaluable for the paddle as although it does require a degree of fitness the biggest obstacle i faced (other than the headwind!) was the mental challenge.

The 101 mile nonstop trip will be just the start. By that time we hope to have built a real community – all with the shared goal of supporting one another and helping each further themselves. Ideas are already abound and one myself and one other paddler are keen to take on would be a self supported circumnavigation of the Outer Hebrides off the West coast of Scotland (a distance of around 350 miles) – this will be a much tougher paddle than the cross county 101 challenge with wild camping, currents to contend with and multiple long days on the boards.

Along with hopefully helping the mental health of those taking part in this project we also want to raise charitable funds for other mental health related charities – we feel this is an area of health often ridiculed, misunderstood or looked down upon.

We are looking for like-minded people to come along for the ride. You don’t need to sign up for all the challenges and you definitely do not need to come on the 2 SUP exploits! Just get involved where you think you can and let’s see what the challenges will lead to and where this takes us 🙂