What Defines Us

A few weeks ago Protest sent me to Cornwall to learn to surf. Traveling to a new place on my own and being by the sea gave me the headspace I needed to look at life with a new lens. After my surf lesson I had a photoshoot wearing Protest clothes, it felt pretty awkward being in a bikini but Jade was amazing at helping me relax. I love the playfulness of these photos and they remind me of me, the person I am inside, without many of the things I often define myself by, hence this post. Perhaps perfectly fitting for a post when I'm baring all and showing what's going on inside my heart and soul...

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

A lot has happened in the last few years and I don’t know how often I take the time to sit back and let it all soak in. I put a huge amount of pressure on myself because I’ve taken big physical, emotional and financial risks to do what I’m doing today and I want to make it work. However, I’m aware that I need to readdress the balance. I want to value what’s important to me and appreciate it when I have it. Happiness, success, balance, fitness, financial security, love… whatever it is,  I want to be able to appreciate it and not be striving for the next thing.

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

To readdress the balance, I’m actively working on making time to:

- Quiet the world and practise it often

- Create space away from everything where I can just be me

- Sit back and take time out without pressure

- Understand the difference between my sub-personalities and work on the right balance between them – Sophie (Me), Sophie (Challenge Sophie – Brand) and Sophie (Love and personal relationships– daughter, wife, partner, friend, sister…)

- Nurture the relationships that are important to me

Learning to surf with Protest and Challenge Sophie
Learning to surf with Protest and Challenge Sophie

Where does the pressure come from?

After finishing the Alpine Coast to Coast last summer, I had moved to a new country and left many things that were a part of my life, to that point, behind in London.

I had invested all my money in making the AC2C happen and moving to Chamonix, and I made the decision to give everything to building a business from my blog – Challenge Sophie.

I wanted to invest all my time in this path and see what I could make of it, but I needed to pay the bills, so the pressure was on.

I’m now in a financially stable position and even though I’m earning less than I have in my previous jobs, I’m doing things that count as work that I couldn’t have dreamed of. I’m in charge of my own time, I work for myself and I can work anywhere in the world. These were all my dreams and they have all become reality.

Beyond all of that, it’s when I hear from you, when you share your stories and say that I’ve helped you, that makes it all worth it ten-fold.

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

Losing sight in the game

It’s been all too easy for me to get caught up in the adventure and social media side of things and forget who I am, and what defines me. I feel I’ve lost a bit of  sight as to why I started doing all of this in the first place.

When I was in Cornwall with Protest, away from the hustle of life, I used the headspace to think about this a lot and I made a little list of the things I believe do and do not define us.  When I say “us” I can only speak from my own experience and I’m writing this as a reminder to myself to help guide me to be the best version of myself, so I’d love to hear your thoughts and additions.

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

I believe we are defined by:

-       The little moments that make us smile

-       How we make people feel when we are with them

-       The first thoughts in the morning when we wake up

-       Our ability to act with integrity

-       Our values and ability to stick to them

-       Overcoming diffcult times, dealing with loss, pain and sadness

-       The way we deal with problems

-       Giving to people without expecting anything back

-       How our minds work when we are on our own

-       Knowing how to look after our own needs and asking for them to be met

-       The things we do when no-one is watching

-       Our ability to press pause on the craziness of life and quiet the world

-       Positivity and how much of it we bring to each day – no mood hoovers!

-       Leaving a positive impact in this world

-       The times we truly open our hearts without fear of being hurt

-       Our openess to life

-       Our ability to relate to people and their journey

-       Our ability to love and forgive

-       The times when we ask for help

-       The strength and resolve of our minds

-       Being able to know, listen to and trust ourselves

-       The times we make mistakes and dealing with them in the right way

-       Being authentically us

-       The way we spend the best days of our lives and the people we spend them with

Challenge Sophie - Sophie RadcliffeChallenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie RadcliffeChallenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

I believe we are not defined by:

-       Our job titles

-       How many followers we have on social media

-       How many likes we get on when we post on social media

-       How perfect our lives seem on social media

-       Age

-       Size or weight

-       How fast or far we run or cycle, how many mountains we climb, how often we train or how fit we are

-       Where we live

-       How many friends we have

-       How much money we have

-       Living up to some perfect ideal

-       Other people’s opinions of us

-       All the things we think we should do or be

-       How many hours we work

-       Winning and loosing

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

For me, the journey of life is about becoming the best version of myself I can possibly be. The physical challenges I set myself teach me a huge amount about strength, goal setting, resilience and motivation and how to power everything from my mindset.

Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe
Challenge Sophie - Sophie Radcliffe

Beyond these physical challenges, I’m always trying to better myself with the aim to:

- Build and maintain beautiful, loving relationships with my friends and family

- Live my values everyday

- Live with gratitude, appreciation and wonder for the people in this world and the world itself

- Inspire people to live their dreams and discover their true potential

In the next few weeks and maybe even months, you may see less of me doing crazy challenges and more of me working on this challenge.

The Challenge of Life: Who am I and what does that mean to the world and the people I love

Learning to surf with Protest and Challenge Sophie
Learning to surf with Protest and Challenge Sophie

If you want check out the Protest clothes I'm wearing in this blog, here's are the links. All photography from the talented Jade Berry.

Luana Bikini

Rail Bikini

Beach shorts

T-shirt

Vest top

Dress