His truly incredible life has taken him from serving in the British army, including the SAS, leading the first journey around the globe on its polar axis by surface means only and crossing Antarctica completely on foot. Despite suffering a heart attack and double bypass 4 months prior, he completed the 7x7x7 challenge at 58, which involves running 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. At 65 he climbed Everest…
He began by stating his key motivator in life was his youth, believing this to be the case for the majority of humans, that childhood experiences often depict how the adult forms.
From there he took us on a whistle stop tour of his truly incredible life, starting with his 8 years in the SAS spending the second half joining the army of the Sultan of Oman where he initially gained his taste for travelling to remote places. After leaving the army, he decided to utilise his unique set of skills to search for the lost city of Iram. He spent countless expeditions trying to locate it and after 25 years eventually did (it was only 800 metres away from the HQ all along).
The bulk of his talk however was about his crossing of Antarctica which he confessed was his wife’s idea, not his. Some of the key factors in his success were common to many environments we may face in an IT consultancy.
- Project planning
- Team Selection
Interestingly, when asked by Phil afterwards “when faced with the most extreme challenges and levels of adversity what got you through it”, he said religion to a certain extent but moreover the vision of his father and grandfather watching him and that he didn’t want to let them down. He never met his grandfather and his father died very early in his life.
Sir Ranulph’s fascinating talk has inspired us, maybe not to climb Everest next week or to cross both poles in -120’c, but to apply his underlying resilience and determination to succeed. It’s these traits that we must all find within ourselves to use, not just for ourselves, but for the people around us that we lead.
By Christian Gilbert & Phil Blake