Last year was crazy. I built my business from a pipe dream to a sustainable way of living. I focused on my ultimate dream: to use my voice and community as a platform for positive change in the world, by launching TrailBlazers, my youth empowerment initiative. I was travelling away from my home in London for more than 6 months of the year. I partnered with some amazing companies creating a variety of social media campaigns, including adverts with Estee Lauder and Hyundai. I even learnt how to take time off - away from social media, blogging and emails - for a few treasured weekends. Throughout this I was dealing with heartbreak that stole my joie de vivre and pulled me into darkness without warning.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been able to ask for more and more from myself. However, since adding TrailBlazers to my plate in November, I couldn’t do everything and something had to give. It’s been a real struggle to try and manage it all, so I've been making some changes and finding the right people to help! This is why I have been absent from blogging and want to explain.
When I quit my job five years ago, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to explore this concept of empowering yourself through adventure. I wanted to break down the barriers for women, and show how fun, accessible and ultimately life-changing adventure can be. I also wanted to strengthen my mind and body by pushing myself to the limit and find out what I am capable of achieving. I talk more about this in my Ted Talk ‘Achieve Your Extraordinary’.
Developing A Tool-Box for Life
Over the years, I have harnessed, developed and sharpened the tools in my tool-box. The tools I draw on when life get's challenging! These are my resilient mindset, my courageous heart and my internal drive to put in the work; to learn, grow and succeed with my dreams and goals, backed up by the confidence I've developed through challenging myself to do things that are difficult and scary.
I use these tools to manage situations where the negative voice of fear and doubt in my head, has the chance to hold me back.
Helping people develop this toolbox, learn how to overcome fear and live our best lives, is what I have ALWAYS wanted to dedicate my life to.
In November last year, TrailBlazers was born. With the help of my founding partner Youth Sport Trust, I designed and delivered workshops to 60 teenage girls in schools across London and talks to over 400 students.
Why am I focusing on Youth Empowerment?
- Youth anxiety and teenage suicide have risen 30% in the last five years
- NHS reports admissions for eating disorders have doubled in the last five years
- 1 in 4 teenage girls are showing signs of depression
- The average UK child spends less time outside than the required minimum for prison inmates
All of these have been linked to the rise of social media decreasing self-worth, making people feel inadequate, socially excluded and living life through screens.
I am proud to say that based on the feedback we received from our pioneering TrailBlazers and their teachers, we have the potential to change these harrowing statistics. The way I felt after the workshops was like "This is what I was born to do" and I am so grateful for that! However, my work is 100% cut out for me, which brings me back to the reason for writing this blog.
Finding my limit and struggling to manage it all
I have been finding it really hard to juggle everything that Challenge Sophie requires, whilst also putting my heart and energy into TrailBlazers. At the same time, a big goal for me this year is to invest more time to my personal life as that often gets forgotten about!
As TrailBlazers is a 100% charity initiative I have to balance working on this project, with earning a living.
I was really sad for a lot of last year as a result of splitting up from my ex. It tore my life apart and it’s been a massive challenge to deal with everything that happened. That was also very draining, but I worked through it and am now out the other side with my whole life ahead of me!
How am I taking action?
Firstly, I am getting over my writers block and it already feels so good to be talking to you again! There’s also been a lot going on behind the scenes:
I am collaborating with friends, other adventurers, creative minds and brands I love
Hired a Project Manager
Hired someone to assist with admin for my London to Paris Sportive
Become a proud ambassador for TRIBE and we are organising group adventure weekends throughout the year (another of my goals is to do this so I’m stoked to make it happen!) Join our International Women’s Day #HikeForProgress in March. Men welcome too!
Taking more time off, away from social media and emails, and learning not to feel overwhelmed when I get back to my desk
Found an amazing mentor
Found an brilliant legal team to get everything in order as I invested in the wrong person last year and lost a lot of time and money
Moved accountants so I can get the best advice on how to structure and grow my business. Another big stress and building block to get right!
New strategy in place for 2018 with a shift of focus slightly, I think you’re going to love it! More coming on this next week!
Focus on taking things back to basics. I want to create more ‘How to…’ content to help you feel inspired, motivated and with the right tools to achieve YOUR extraordinary
I’ve also been training pretty hard at my gym, Un1t!
That's it from me! I have missed blogging and sharing what’s going on with you, and I will get blogs out more regularly from now on. I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and suggestions of what you’d like me to blog or make videos about. This year is all about me aiming to help make amazing things happen in YOUR life, so please get involved in the adventure weekends I’m planning with TRIBE and write to me with any of your questions or suggestions!
Much love and thanks for sticking with me through the rocky roads! Let’s make 2018 epic!
Thank you Jono Blackham for taking these pictures on a very cold January morning in London