LAS is an award-winning provider of elearning consultancy, design, development and training services in the UK and internationally.
Established in 2005 as LearningAge Solutions, we work with some of the best known organisations in the world to boost their performance through the innovative use of learning technologies. Working in partnership with our customers, we draw on proven principles from human behaviour, how people learn and how the brain works to create impactful digital learning solutions with real return on investment.
Louise is one of our Project Managers. She ensures that all our projects are completed on time, to budget and to the highest quality.
Louise manages those involved in a project and is always on hand to make sure that our clients' experience of working with us is nothing short of excellent.
Louise has over twenty years experience in the e-learning industry and has managed well over 100 e-learning projects for national and international, public and private sector organisations.
by Louise Cox
Posted 13th August 2021
The 3 peaks challenge is something that I have wanted to do for many years, and in 2021 I had the opportunity to give it a go. I didn't quite make all three peaks, but I learnt so much along the way that 'I didn't see myself as having failed the challenge, instead I realised that I had gained some valuable insights.
1. Mountains know your weaknesses
I trained and prepared for the challenge, but there were still things that I could have done better. For example, I had trained for all types of weather except blistering heat. On Ben Nevis, the temperatures hit 25 degrees, one of the hottest days in highlands. I did 3 miles before I had to come down with heat exhaustion and anxiety. I hadn’t drunk or eaten correctly before starting out and most important of all, I hadn’t prepared myself mentally for the challenge and was putting far too much pressure on myself to succeed. I wasn’t the only one to not complete all the mountains, but I was the only one who didn't let a setback stop me from carrying on completing the next two.
2. It’s actually OK to fail sometimes
We are put under so much pressure to NOT fail, and that failing means we are not good enough; to me failing, allows me to discover and learn. You often don’t realise what areas need improvement until you have done something incorrectly, so in my head I changed failing to setback. By re-framing that one word made all the difference. I’m a design thinker, so know failing is an opportunity to learn and improve.
3. Know when to call time
Sometimes the bravest thing to do is to stop. I so desperately wanted to carry on, but I looked at the risks, not only to myself but to others in the team and those who would have had to rescue me if things got worse. On this occasion, the wisest thing to do was to stop and turn back.
We’ve seen it recently in the Olympics where athletes have ‘pulled out’ because they didn’t feel mentally prepared for an event, giving themselves time to refocus and go on to smash their next event. For me, on that day, at that time, I didn’t feel I could continue. I felt overwhelmed, started doubting my abilities, I called time, and this gave me that ‘time’ to reflect and refocus.
4. Learn from your setbacks
I was upset; I hadn't managed the first mountain, so what was the point of carrying on with the rest of the challenge?The descent down the mountain gave me the headspace to reflect on what had happened. Rather than see it as a failure, it was an opportunity to find out more about myself and formulate a strategy that would see me complete the following two mountains. Even during the challenge, I learnt fast when things didn't go according to plan; I needed to adapt as it happened. Try, check and improve became my mantra.
5. Know your WHY
Coming down Ben Nevis allowed me to ask myself one fundamental question. Why did I want to do this challenge?Basically, what was my motivation? For most of the team, I knew it was about getting up and down the mountains as fast as possible. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that, for me, reaching each summit quickly wasn’t as important as the journey. The opportunity to chat with other people as I walked up and down, the views and just the experience of the adventure were what motivated me. Knowing this helped me shift my mindset from limiting myself to curiosity ‘ What did I need to do to complete the rest of the challenge?’
6. If the goal seems too big, then don't change it; just create sub-goals
The goal was to climb 3 of the highest peaks in the UK in a set time. To me this goal seemed just too big. How did I feel if I broke it down into smaller goals? I could do one mountain at a time or even break it down into 2-3-mile sections, and then I could check with myself how I felt about continuing after each one. Breaking up the challenge into smaller chunks, makes it feel more achievable and removes the pressure of it feeling just ‘too big’. In my head I focussed on each sub-goal and celebrated each of these milestones by stopping and giving myself a reward (normally a jellybaby). I felt more in control and gave me the determination to carry on to the next stage.
7. Stop and have a look at how far you have come.
Going up a mountain, you tend to focus on the summit, but it's essential to stop, turn around and see how far you've come. The views are amazing!
8. Accept support when it's offered.
It can be lonely trying to achieve your goals, so when friends and family arrived at Snowdon to help me finish the challenge, it was a tremendous boost to my confidence and spurred me on over that last peak, even though the weather was appalling.
10. Enjoy the journey
I definitely enjoyed the journey more than the destination, and once I realised that, I didn't feel so stressed about how long it took me to get to each summit, and I felt relaxed about the upcoming remaining two peaks. I even finished in a respectable time. Be kind to yourself, be proud of yourself for what you and your body can achieve when you set your mind to it.
11. Believe in yourself
I was in a team of people who I thought were better than me. Whether that was faster, stronger, younger or even more experienced. However, I realised that everyone was struggling in their own way, and it was far more about mental strength than physical. I knew mentally I could keep going, and by making small changes on how I was going to achieve the rest of the challenge and focusing on my WHY, I ended the challenge on a high, with no injuries and feeling I could take on another mountain or 3!
The 3 peaks challenge is tough, unpredictable, exhausting and unforgiving, but it’s also amazing, rewarding and demonstrates what can be achieved when both mind and body work together. But the most rewarding aspect for me was it allowed me to ‘attune’ to myself, that understanding of what drives me and what holds me back.
As a learning designer, I realise that I already apply some of these points, such as breaking a large goal into sub-goals, peer sharing and understanding the WHY. I see a great opportunity to improve the learning journey even more by building in support when learners doubt themselves or reassuring them that setbacks are a great opportunity to learn and giving them the opportunity to stop, look back and enjoy the view!
In future I will look at myself as an expedition guide, whose role it is to create spaces where learners can experience new places, by preparing them for the unpredictable, leading them through unknown territories,encouraging them to make decisions and problem solve, as well as reassuring them all the way that they can conquer mountains.