Your memory is what you make it

It’s amazing how our brains work. The way we reward ourselves and punish ourselves for the things we have said and done. The way we store memories to either lift us or haunt us. We keep them in boxes that are labelled to tell us how to feel about them. One of my biggest failures became one of my biggest successes within seconds of realising it was up to me how I wanted my story to be.

It was summit night on Mount Kilimanjaro. After days of constant walking, lack of sleep and now lack of oxygen - I was told to stop my climb to the top and go back to base camp. Months of fundraising and training suddenly amounted to nothing and dark thoughts began to creep in... I’m a failure, I’m useless. The altitude sickness didn’t help, but I could not stop the tears from coming. Everyone that had been motivating me in my mind turned to angry mobs demanding their money back. Devastated, I trudged down to base camp and tried to sleep off my disappointment.

But during breakfast something incredible happened... those of us who hadn’t made it to the top emerged from our tents and had a magical moment together. What would we make of this situation? Through the tears and fatigue we took control and reframed the situation. We applauded ourselves for the journey we had taken. It suddenly didn’t matter anymore that we hadn’t made it to the top. Together we reframed every negative thought. We changed ‘we didn’t make it’ to ‘we climbed it, but didn’t summit’. Thoughts that our supporters back home would be disappointed changed to ‘they will be happy we are safe and proud of us’. The failure we felt became an incredible appreciation for our bodies, our team members still climbing and for how far we had climbed.

What we did as a group was powerful. We took that box that had been labelled ‘disappointment’ and changed it to ‘proud’. We allowed ourselves to feel what we needed to feel. We honoured those negative feelings but we only let them go so far - they don’t rule us. We decided then and there to change how we felt about the event. We couldn’t change what happened so we wrote it for ourselves the way we wanted it to be told. And of course, my story is never complete without mentioning that my boyfriend also proposed on that day.... and I said yes! A story of achievement, celebration and valuing ourselves. It became almost euphoric and it still is to this day because we didn’t let those negative thoughts stick.

We are always reframing negative thoughts - perhaps sometimes without realising it. You cannot change the past, only how you feel about it. Which feeling do you want to change? Speak to an Ollie coach to overcome your summit because trust me, you really can move mountains. 


Jess Goddard, trainee Ollie Coach

Jess is currently training to be an Ollie Coach whilst working as a Teaching Assistant. She has a First Class Degree in Psychology which has sparked both her interest in people's thinking processes and her passion for helping people. Jess is enjoying training with Ollie and his Super Powers and looks forward to qualifying and beginning her journey as an Ollie Coach.

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