You could say the adventurous spirit runs strong in my family. Setting goals and taking risks, be it physically or mentally, is in my blood.
I have enjoyed and learnt much from the amazing adventures I have undertaken in my life – like spending three months in the Arctic, setting up my production company Sundog Pictures and getting married to my beautiful wife Bellie.
But setting yourself a goal and working out how to achieve it can be the biggest adventure of all. By achieving your goals you keep yourself motivated and positive – as well as enjoying a sense of fulfilment and pride.
Knowing you have pushed yourself and refused to take no for answer to achieve something is such an important life skill. But it's one I believe sadly isn’t been taught enough at school. Big Change, a charity I co-founded with friends, is focusing on life skills and helping to develop programmes that will give young people around the UK opportunities to learn and develop the so called ‘soft skills’ they need to become healthy, happy and productive individuals.
Young people today are leaving school and having to navigate a complicated world of new challenges and new opportunities.
While they may have been taught academically, they haven't always had the chance to develop the communication skills, teamwork, confidence and resilience that they will need to rely on over the years ahead. These are the skills that help you overcome obstacles and get the best out of life.
This is why I wanted to come up with an idea that created a vehicle to talk about these skills and raise funds for projects around the UK that are enabling young people to grow them… and so the Virgin Strive Challenge was born!
Virgin STRIVE Challenge is a mass participation ultra-endurance event that will see a core team, including myself, Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed and paralympian gold medalist Ade Adepitan, travel from London to the summit of the Matterhorn (the most iconic mountain in Switzerland), entirely under human power.
That means three back-to-back marathons from London to the coast, rowing the English Channel, cycling 900km to Verbier, hiking seven days over the iconic Haute Route to Zermatt and then climbing the Matterhorn, all of which will take just over a month (August 2014)... Phew!
By using these incredibly important life skills to help us tackle this challenge, I’m hoping that it will show people that you can achieve your goals, if you really set your mind to it and you can also learn a hell of a lot in the process.
All proceeds raised by the Virgin STRIVE Challenge will go to Big Change to support young people all over the UK.