Today’s guest, adventure / mountaineer, author and motivational speaker, Alex Staniforth joins the show to talk about how he is looking to help people through his charity, Mind Over Mountains.
Who is Alex Staniforth:
This isn’t your typical story about climbing Everest. I had an unassuming and fairly ordinary beginning brought up in Kelsall, near Chester, but like many others, had an Everest to climb before even reaching base camp.
Suffering a mild form of epilepsy at nine years old shattered my confidence and self-esteem with panic attacks and anxiety. Relentless bullying throughout school and a lifelong stammer in my speech left me in a ‘victim’ mindset. A fateful encounter with paragliding on holiday aged thirteen unearthed a passion for the outdoors – a way to prove myself wrong and choose my challenges instead. I began to question these self-limiting beliefs through outdoor challenges and learning that we can’t always choose our challenges – but we can choose how we respond.
The question captivated me and climbing to the summit of the worlds’ highest peak seemed the ultimate achievement. I climbed Mont Blanc in 2012 aged 17 and headed to the Himalayas for the first time in 2013 to attempt Mera Peak (6,476m) and Baruntse (7,129m). Challenges are a great opportunity to create something bigger, and fundraising for charities also led to being selected as a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer through Chester.
I’ve always had the support and belief of my parents, albeit they were never going to sign a cheque for the Everest expedition, nor was my job washing pots in the local pub. I was going to have to find a way or make one and have single-handedly funded my expeditions through corporate sponsorship.
My first attempt to climb Everest in 2014 ended in disaster with an avalanche which tragically killed sixteen people and cancelled the expedition. In 2015 I returned when our team were trapped on the mountain with my team as a huge earthquake struck Nepal and devastated the country, whilst taking the lives of three team-mates at base camp.
I began fundraising for Nepal by cycling the height of Everest in one day and organizing Walk4Nepal on the anniversary of the earthquake to raise money for PHASE Worldwide and support the rebuilding process. Adventures and endurance challenges closer to home have provided the opportunity to make the biggest difference I can and raise over £85,000 for various charities before founding Mind Over Mountains in 2020.
Having suffered with depression, anxiety and bulimia as an endurance athlete I now share my experiences to help others, especially men, talk openly about their struggles and seek help. Sometimes we can’t always see the top of the mountain, but taking small steps can take us further than we ever imagined possible.
Challenges make life meaningful, and Everest was just one step on the journey. Now my mission is inspiring others to discover their own Everest in life and thrive; not just survive.
We all have our challenges – do they, have you?
Challenges in life are inevitable: being defeated is optional. At just 26, Alex Staniforth is already an expert in overcoming challenges and forging a path through adversity, having survived the two biggest disasters in Mount Everest history as a teenager.
However, his biggest challenges have been much closer to home, suffering with epilepsy, stammering, bullying and mental ill health since childhood. Alex is a now a record-breaking adventurer, published author, charity founder and motivational keynote speaker on resilience and mental well-being, across the UK and internationally.
Alex offers a unique vulnerability to the typically invulnerable world of extreme adventure and high performance, sharing a human side and mental health journey which others can connect and relate to their own challenges; whatever the context.
Through lived experience, insights and practical tools, Alex can help your team build the resilience and tools to:
- Discover the opportunities within adversity
- Maintain motivation during periods of high stress and uncertainty
- Proactively manage their well-being and prevent burnout
- Re-define success and overcome their fear of failure
- Encourage authentic conversations to build an open mental health culture
Alex has already helped teams at Rolls-Royce Submarines, Bank of America, Shoosmiths, FedEx, Smurfit Kappa, Reckitt Benckiser, Heineken and the NHS build the tools to embrace challenges and put well-being first. Can you afford not to?
Alex’s books ‘Icefall’ and ‘Another Peak’ are much more than adventure stories. Ideal for adventure enthusiasts, athletes, or anyone experiencing mental ill health or major challenges in life, they offer an honest and approachable perspective of overcoming challenges both in the Himalayas and closer to home.
Alex’s debut book ‘Icefall’ tells the true story of overcoming adversity on a relentless journey to the top of the world, recalling the two consecutive biggest disasters in Everest history first-hand.
It has been endorsed by Bear Grylls and explorer Mark Wood. Icefall won bronze in the Readers Favorite International Book Contest 2016 and was featured in the Chester Literature Festival.
Another Peak follows Icefall to share the journey to find a new Everest in life. It recalls the record-breaking journey of Alex’s ClimbTheUK challenge to climb all 100 UK county tops, whilst exploring the peaks and troughs of mental ill health through the outdoors and adventure, helping anyone find hope, purpose and inspiration in their lives.
Where Can I Follow Alex Staniforth:
Alex can be found on:
From Your Host:
“I am on a journey to be the best version of myself and want to ensure others don’t travel alone. Join me as I look to interview experts in areas of mindset, motivation and fitness to help guide us on our journeys.” ~Charles Wallace
About NGBN TV:
NGBN.TV is a holistic personal & professional development network. It serves men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. It’s home to top experts, authors, speakers, influencers, and presenters in the areas of mental health, physical wellness, personal growth, and professional excellence.
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