Okay, so unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you really can’t have missed the fact that I have set myself the aim to compete in the Vendee Globe in 2020.
That’s the dream… It is written on my wall, it’s been embedded in my brain, on my mind since 1998, when I first met Ellen McArthur, and its something that would be a world first; no disabled person has ever taken on the Vendee before!
However since coming back from Rio, and starting this journey, I realise how little confidence I have in myself.
It’s been difficult for me to really pinpoint where this lack of confidence has stemmed from, and I’m not about to put the blame on anyone but myself. However, if I’m to have any chance of completing this race, then I need to trust in my own ability and I need to build my confidence back up, slowly, brick by brick.
For 16 years I was a part of a team that pushed hard, that worked hard, and lived by what was deemed the “gold standard”. When I look back now, I think that being told nearly every day, in some way or another, that you’re not good enough, or you need to do more, really does chip away at your confidence no matter how strong your exterior armour is.
I wish I could lay the blame at someone else’s feet, however, I would be wrong to say that it was just the outside influences that made me feel that I wasn’t good enough. I quite often judged myself pretty harshly, and have always been very critical of myself as I am a bit of a perfectionist. Perhaps it’s just my Virgo nature makes me that way.
It also may come as a surprise (or perhaps not ;-)) that I have struggled with OCD. This in itself means my day-to-day living is a battle in my own mind to satisfy my constant need to have order, routine, and perfection. I think I’ve also allowed myself for a few years to be pretty brutal with myself in search of that.
I am very lucky now that I have a team around me that supports me, and is happy to work with me in a way that allows me to grow. Having support is critical, and I know that my circle of friends, and my support network are true friends who are loyal, trustworthy and people who really understand me.
The interesting thing is though that the negative sentiments are much easier to believe than the positive ones …. there is a tendency to think “oh you are just saying that to make me feel better” ….. I look in the mirror and still see the slightly broken me, the one that doesn’t think she is good enough. Slowly however, I realise that the warrior Hannah is emerging, and I realise that she is the woman that my friends and supporters see, and always have done.
Moving forward, I’m allowing myself every day to be a bit kinder to myself; to realise that it’s okay to make mistakes, that it’s okay to have breaks and to not always be perfect, to just to be human. I am realising I have reserves of strength and will power that I didn’t know I even had, and I am learning to put myself first and follow my dream.
They say positivity breeds positivity, and things certainly feel much better now, and I have many many people to thank for that. You know who you are!
So, I am ready to go into 2018 with new vigour … watch out world, I’m on my way!
I’m not going to lie to you, this project is by no means a small challenge. It’s going to take nothing short of a miracle to put a disabled person on the start line of the race ………..
But, isn’t that the best bit?!