As I've mentioned in past Facebook posts and blogs, our journey towards launching Australia's only women's adventure magazine has allowed me to connect with women who not only inspire me because of their awesome athletic talents, but for the person they are, the things they believe in and the passions that drive them.
This lady, Eliza Middleton, I met simply because I loved this photo of hers on facebook and asked to share it.
We chatted further, via email, and I once again realised that I had met another inspiring woman who, like many others I have met, want to give life a go but also support, guide, empower and encourage other women to break down their own personal boundaries and live life fully, with no limitations.
Eliza and I had the usual conversation that I have with the majority of women I connect with regarding adventure pursuits and life in general. The more common theme, 'becoming' a more active outdoors woman and the road blocks we come up against along the way. "We often doubt ourselves, have too much negative self talk and hold ourselves back, I have them too" Eliza tells me, "but this year I want to prove to myself that I'm capable of so much more. I want to encourage and inspire women who see themselves as 'just average' to get out there and try something new, we are all more than just average and can achieve anything that we back ourselves to achieve".
Eliza goes on to tell me that in her early twenties she had reached a staggering weight, (her words) of 120kgs, possibly more, due to inactivity, bad diet and low self esteem but decided to change her life. She lost weight, got fit and has been exploring and having fun running hiking, cycling, camping and getting out of her comfort zone ever since. This year I witnessed Eliza apply and be accepted to the Roxcycl Ambassador Program, but not before she went through her own long list of negative thoughts about her abilities, which she believes many of us have when it comes to being active and even more when becoming a role model for others. "When I first heard about the Roxcycl Ambassador program, I really didn’t think I was good enough to apply. I shared the link on my Facebook page as I know so many inspirational women I thought would be great ambassadors for the Roxcycl brand. I really had to question myself, why didn't I think I was good enough?"
A great question I thought! I know it's one that I and many other women struggle with when we are asked to grow beyond our current and known capabilities.
What changed your mind and made you apply?
I look around me and see so many women talking themselves down. I realised that I have heard friends of mine often tell me that I am too hard on myself. The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I, along with many other women, are horrifically hard on ourselves. We talk ourselves down, we back away from challenges, we think we aren’t good enough to achieve anything of much importance, but it is us holding ourselves back.
So now as part of your Roxcycl ambassador title you had to lock down some goals for 2015, what are they?
Becoming an ambassador for Roxcycl has been an incredibly empowering experience for me. I feel so much more confident to try new races, thanks to the team at Roxcycl and my supportive friends and family, the confidence to really commit to the training, so to compete at my absolute best at the Scott 6+6 is a big goal for me. So no more fear time to believe in myself, time to back myself, time to approach with tenacity the biggest personal fitness challenge I have undertaken, and to focus on every step of the journey.
Your best piece advice for women when they are unsure about getting involved in an outdoor exercise?
Don't be scared! Your worst judge is yourself. It doesn't matter if you aren't the fastest, or the most skilled, you are getting out there and enjoying the outdoors and making a positive change for your life! Get out there and give it a go, throw caution to the wind chuck on those runners, open the door, and just head down the road, the outdoors is waiting for you, getting started is the hardest part.