Finding my Self Worth Again

“Selfworth is an internal state of being that comes from self-understanding, self-love, and self-acceptance.  It is a state that is somewhat timeless and unchanging because it is a measure of how you value and regard yourself despite what others may say and/or despite unfavorable circumstances.” IQMatrix – Self-Worth

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Richard Branson Learn More About Richard Branson
Simon Sinek Learn More About Simon Sinek
Sara Blakely Learn More About Sarah Blakely

Yes, I am on Strive with THE Sir Richard Branson, THE Simon Sinek, and THE Sara Blakey.  I genuinely feel like I can call them my friends too.  They are thoughtful, kind, generous, fun loving and of course adventurous. I had an incredible talk with my new friend Morton the Philosopher last night, we talked for well over an hour….after our talk, I felt lighter inside.  I went to bed and woke up refreshed…something had happened inside of me. I have been carrying around so much hurt, stress, frustration and pain inside that I had started to lose my self-love, self-respect and self-worth. It wasn’t gone, just buried some. Looking at people like Simon, Sara and Richard…they KNOW who they are, they have so much self-worth for themselves. They aren’t trying to prove anything or be someone other than who they are, because they KNOW who they are. THIS trip is rocking my world in such a good way. I have been burying parts of April that has put me in a state of Surviving instead of Thriving. I didn’t realize I was doing this until this trip. Every single person on this trip, I swear was put here for ME! Every conversation, every smile, every tear, every exercise.  I am not different than anyone here, I am Brave, I am Beautiful, I am Powerful, I am Kind, I am Loved.

Every night I put my kids to bed and have them repeat after me. “I am Brave, I am Powerful, I am Strong, I am Beautiful/Handsome, I am Bold, I am Creative, I am Smart, I am Loved, I am Kind, I am a Child of God.”  Who knew that I would start believing that again for myself.

We wake up early and hit the road on our Bikes. We have a half day Bike Ride then a half day Hike before camp.

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We celebrate and hug having survived the Mountain Biking portion.  My wounded self was VERY happy to be done with this part 🙂 .  It’s amazing what you can do when you surround yourself with like minded people!!!

We get to a hotel to change over to our hiking clothes and pack up our bags. I was SO THANKFUL to have internet and be able to call the babies…. Sadly, I didn’t connect with them so I sent them a video…..Richard sends them lots of kisses too in the video 🙂

I will stop here for now……I’m thankful to have this unlocking of April beginning to feel love again, beginning to love again…. beginning to see that I am worth it, I am valuable. I have put the oxygen mask on, I am drinking lemonade and I am smiling from within…hope you are too.. xoxo

Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Day 2 Strive Morocco 

Simon Sinek spoke to us last night about the finite game vs the infinite game…if you want to listen I will post video of what I recorded.   What stood out to me was when he was telling us about how he had the opportunity to speak at both Microsoft’s summit and then Apple’s.  At the Microsoft summit, he said 70% of the leadership was talking about how they were going to beat their competition-Apple, while at the Apple summit, 100% of the executive leadership was talking about how to improve and change education.  One was playing a finite game….a game on how to win, while the other was playing an infinite game – how to evolve and grow.

Soooo, yeah here I am again doing this crazy adventure… why??? I guess I always want to be growing, changing, pushing myself.   It’s so easy to roll over and play dead…especially when life throws you lemons, hurts, pains, hick ups, anxiety etc…  However, I want to be the girl that makes lemonade and creates a sweeter life, a sweeter experience and sweeter atmosphere.   AND, I want to surround myself with like-minded people.   Suffice it to say, day two didn’t disappoint.

The roads were rough terrain, lots of sand, dirt and rocks…. lots of people falling however not getting hurt to bad, just getting knocked off their bike.   My friend Susie ended up wiping out pretty bad, a few of us stayed to help her.   Once she was in good hands, Noah and I carried on.  Noah asked me how I wiped out last year, I told him the story and I kid you not within 2 minutes after the story was over I WIPED OUT HARD 😦 ugh….the exact same way as last year.

I was hurting but trying to suck it up…

 

After a break at the rest stop, my new friends encouraging and helping me….I got back up on the bike and kept on keeping on. We hit a mountain that we needed to climb in order to get to lunch.  I was tired, hot and knew I needed mental help to get up it.   Brendan is the life of the party, he’s funny, witty, entertaining, smart and athletic.  I find Brendan and ask him to ride with me to get me to the top…between him telling me silly stories, spelling out Mississippi, singing supercalifragistic…WE DID IT!!!!!!  I can’t tell you guys enough how important it is to surround yourself with the RIGHT people.   We weren’t made to do life alone.  I don’t like asking for help, trust me…. BUT I find when I do, I actually gain more self-worth.  Sounds cliché and backwards but it’s not.   Brendan helping me and getting me up that mountain…. gave me confidence and self-worth helping me realize I am strong, I am brave, I am powerful!!!! Was I hurting- yes, did I want to quit -yes, did I get up that mountain -yes!!!

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We stop for lunch and put our feet up.

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This is where the interesting twist comes…..at the end of lunch I get offered the opportunity to stay back because of my swollen leg and limp….IMMEDIATELY everything inside of me is screaming “no way, are you crazy, there is no quitting!!!!” But then all of the sudden this small voice inside of me said “April it’s okay”. This was a foreign voice….I am a typical alpha female that is woman and hear me roar….but something inside of me said “stop, rest, heal”….stop fighting so hard and be still.   I sat in silence and cried a little bit (this has been much of my life this past year honestly) ….but “I feel like I’m quitting, I feel like I’m a failure, I feel like I’m letting everyone else down…..”
I gave in and stayed back.   I wasn’t the only one so the company was nice.

I realized the “talk track” that was playing in my head….remember Sara Blakely taught me this phrase yesterday…. to think I’m a quitter, failure, letting others down… Ahhhhh “stop April stop”. It’s not true!!! I was choosing to put my oxygen mask on because my body needed it and I needed it and it was okay.

I didn’t expect to fall, I didn’t expect my leg to hurt, I definitely didn’t expect to sit out the last few hours of the day…. but it’s okay.  I made “lemonade” and had sweet sweet conversations with new friends, quiet peaceful time with myself, and gave my body a break to heal and recover so I could finish the week.

I’m playing this game of life not to win but to evolve….be ever evolving, growing, changing, improving and giving back…..today I evolved and for that I am grateful.  I will choose to play the infinite game and not just the finite game, hope you are too.

Lack of Oxygen: Day 1 Strive in Morocco

If you have read my blog then you’ll realize I never blogged day 2 final day 2016…for that I’m so sorry.   Time got away from me when I came back to planet earth…and then reality slapped me in the face really really really hard….and then I went silent.  

Today I am breaking the silence.  Today I am choosing self respect, self worth and self love.   These three things I found this past week on my Strive journey a year later.  Last year I realized I could do anything that I set my mind too… I could literally climb mountains and Lord knows I did!! I realized what courage was and bravery… and I set out on a mission that I thought would be impossible and found myself completing it!   

So now this year’s challenge – this past week…. Holy moly…. I remember specifically talking to Noah Devereux a few weeks ago and he said something like “April, it will be nothing like last year… easier course, and if you want or need to sit it out you can “no pressure” bahahaha oh Noah, Noah, Noah…. NOT!!! I should have known better.  

I finally arrive in Morocco and decide to go for a walk by myself in the ‘square’ of Marrakesh, Morocco…. after getting freaked out by cobras dancing, beggars begging, monkeys being put on my back and ladies attacking me with henna I quickly ran back to hotel knowing not go it alone next time.   I found Kristy Petrillo and we instantly hit it off and also have many similar friends but had never met until now.  Kristy and I headed into the square and enjoyed shopping, seeing the city and bartering.

Everyone is arriving that afternoon.  One by one Strivers start coming in, totaling 30 of us.  With every person arriving my nerves are getting more anxious…. “ahhh, I haven’t been training, what are you doing here, April you’re insane”… 

We had an incredible dinner and began meeting lovely, kind, genuine, authentic people.   Richard Branson at this point in my life feels more like a father figure to me now so it was amazing to catch up, laugh and cry with him for a bit.  It was nice to catch up with familiar faces and friends too including Sam, Sara, Helen and Noah.  There was a handful of 2016 strivers as well and super exciting to see them again as well.   

6am wake up….here we go.   We are mountain biking this time…but this time in the desert with sand, rocks and super sketch terrain.   

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I end up riding with Scott Harris — for awhile at one point (I remembered him from a Tony Robbins event) and we began talking.   He said when the fight attendant is giving her instruction and the oxygen mask drops down what does she say to do? I answer “help the person next to you and then put it on yourself” from the bike he hits me and says “no she doesn’t laughing it off” my face turned white and drops and then he realizes I really meant that and wasn’t kidding….I then begin to have tears stream down my cheeks and say hold on, I can’t see… my entire life thus far flashed in front of me and I realized all these years….I have been more worried about everyone else’s oxygen mask that I’ve slowly been suffocating myself.  I want everyone else to be happy, be secure, be encouraged, be provided for that I’ve forsaken ME! I NEED SOME OXYGEN PLEASE….!  Well, this is what kicked off my week of possibly one of the most life changing trips of my life.   This one tiny conversation began to unlock things in me I didn’t know needed to be unlocked! 

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An hour later we stop for lunch…the girls and I start talking.  Next thing I know I’m sharing my story with Deka, Sara and Kristy…ending up in tears again…being vulnerable sharing some personal pains etc… Sara then says “this week we are going to work on your talk track”. She calls what you tell yourself you’re talk track and ultimately your destiny/belief structure, I couldn’t agree more and love the saying “talk track”. I practice this all the time but things haven’t been easy lately and sometimes you just need someone to help you create a new talk track….again another defining moment for me and we are only 4 hours into this amazing journey.

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 We rode for only 7 hours that day… I’ll take it 😊

We pull up to our campsite and wow wow wow!!!

 

Sam ends the night with a campfire and a guitar ….enough said.  Let’s see what tomorrow holds.  

LAST DAY: Part One

The day started off with a run up half of Mt Etna (half marathon)…it was through the woods and rough terrain so it ended up being a light jog and/or swift walk.    It was STRAIGHT UP….took me a little under 3 hours.  SUPER DUPER HARD as usual, but with epic friends to support me and push me, made it easier (special shout out to Marie Heracleous).
We arrived at a lodge half way up and changed into warmer clothing bc it was “supposed” to be freezing at the top (we were told below 32 degrees, it ended up being warm and beautiful).  Noah Devereux (http://big-change.org/noah-devereux-2/) and Richard Branson (https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson) had some fun bantar before we set up on our FINAL assent to peak Mt Etna.  Spirits were high, emotions were racing and excitement filled the air.

The hike was absolutely brutal….it felt like quick sand the entire hike and the incline never ever ended.
Along the way there were lady bugs everywhere.  This picture is Richard holding one of the first ones we found.
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The higher we climbed the hotter the ground became, I’ve never climbed an active volcano so that was pretty awesome to experience.

The hike took hours and hours….about half way up, we were told a storm was coming in and if we didn’t hurry up only half of us would actually summit Mt Etna.   This was heart wrenching to hear because after all we started in Zermatt, Switzerland and wanted to FINISH on top of Mt. Etna, Sicily.  We had come ALL THIS WAY on our own human power and to not summit, felt like the wind got knocked out of us.  A majority of the core team took off and a handful stayed back to keep at a pace of the slowest person (and no it wasn’t me, :] ).
Absolutely everything on my body hurt, knees, groin, hips, ankles, legs…..the climbing was getting harder and harder the incline increased and increased….my body hated me but my mind had become strong by now.   My friend Karl Lokko (https://youtu.be/URAxnXjKXKY) hadn’t eaten enough and his body was breaking down.  I saw him and realized he might not make it…..I was convinced I would get him up this mountain one or another.   I walked in front of him and told him “pretend I have an imaginary rope around my waste and I am going to pull you up the rest of this damn volcano…come hell or high water.”   He said “okay”….then for the next 1.5 hours I began telling him stories of Faith, and how my life has been changed through my faith.   My faith to believe for my babies when infertility stared me down.  My faith to believe God for money when I only had a few dollars in the bank.   My faith to start a business when I didn’t even have a business degree or background.   My faith to bring my husband home alive after getting blown up in Afghanistan.  Every step he took….I saw his faith get increased and together we GOT UP THE DAMN MOUNTAIN!!!!!  FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS!!!!!!
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Adam made it to the top about an hour before me, but since the storm didn’t come in he sat on the ground and waited for me to summit with him.
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Made IT!

It is still hard to put this feeling into words.  I still cry thinking about this moment and day.   I can not express how hard this journey was, but have learned that I can do ANYTHING!!!!!!
Thanks to this LIFE CHANGING CORE TEAM!!
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Thank you to the founders of Big Change
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 Big Change founders from left to right: Noah Devereux , Holly Branson, Richard Branson, Sam Branson, and Beatrice York
The day took up longer then expected and Richard Mom sent us a video telling Richard to hurry up

My Mom, Dad, Mother in Law, Nanny and Babies were all waiting for us too.  We finally made it down.

Lots of hugs and tears continued.   I will write about the night and day after in Part 2.
You are powerful, wonderful and strong!!!!!!!
PLEASE PLEASE PLESE CONSIDER SPONSORING ME.  I’M TRYING TO HIT 20K AND AM FAR FROM IT…EVEN JUST $20 HELPS.   CLICK LINK TO DONATE.  XOXOXO

2nd to Last Day!!

It’s the 2nd to last day and the triathlon is underway.   We are all still convinced they are trying to kill us everyday….but we are all learning that we are made of titanium.  I speak for myself anyway, hehe.

Yes I do have a cold, sorry for the nasal voice.   They told us they changed the route to make it easier….I think in my mind I am always hoping for just one easy day, well joke was on me.  It was not an easy day.    HOWEVER, the people once again lifted me up!!!!

One of my dearest, sweetest, and most amazing friend came all the way from Australia to do the Triathlon!  This was the first day we finally got to do this together.  Seeing a familiar face especially during this last week is truly refreshing to my soul.

We road through the streets and mountains/rocks today.  I think it was 80 miles, but not totally sure…at this point it’s just another insane day to finish 🙂

As the day progressed it got harder and harder.   The mind games begin and your body and mind tell you, you can’t do it.   Today was my day to help several up including my friend Fiona.   We were all exhausted. Our bodies beaten from the rough terrain of mountain biking. The guides kept telling us we were almost there and didn’t have much climbing left….ha well they were wrong.   When doing an endurance challenge, having someone tell you wrong information can be so difficult to overcome.   It’s already hard enough, but to think that it’s almost over when it’s really not push’s the mental limits sometimes to the point of quitting.   Fiona was hitting her “wall” and I was very familiar with what she was feeling (if you haven’t read my hardest day, this is what I am referring too.) I knew I had to help her up and I also knew she get up this insane hill, she didn’t believe it though.   I let her catch her breath, eat, drink and taught her to look down, never, ever look up.   Looking up is too daunting, it will make you feel powerless.  Looking down, makes you just focus on one pedal stroke at a time and before you know it….nice and steady she was at the top!!!!! We all were!!!! In life sometimes looking into the future feels too overwhelming, full of doubt, fear, anxiety… but if we just focus on today and the now the future will take care of itself (yes I’m preaching to myself).

I’ll leave you with Karl Lokko giving us inspiration and sharing poems with us. It was dark so the quality is poor, but definitely worth a listen.

This experience all together had rocked my world….no matter how hard it’s been, I couldn’t be more thankful!!!

Xoxo

Highs and Lows – Swimming the Strait of Messina

Today was a blend of super highs and super lows.   Today we swam the Strait of Messina, swimming from Italy to Sicly.   I consider myself a decent swimmer, so,  I wasn’t as nervous as most of our team was.   The ocean was loaded with jelly fish and people spoke of sharks, but I’m a believer in “come what may…”

The swim was exclusively the core team only and Speedo  sponsored us, thank you Speedo!!   We had the options to wear wet suits or not, flippers if we needed too…etc….   I was feeling “bad ass” that day so I decided to go with only me, myself, and I… and my swimsuit.   NOT SURE I made the right decision completely 🙂  hehe…. I was cold and slow.

Sally, Cat and I were put together as a threesome and were given a chaperone boat to follow us along the way.   The entire core team was ready to start at 10:30am and got postponed until 12pm.  This made it  very difficult for us in many ways.   We were hungry, had been up since 6am, and the tide/current was getting stronger.   We finally set off and between the cold water, nerves and anticipation…it took me awhile to find my rhythm.    The girls and I stopped every 10-15 minutest to check on one another and encourage each other.   What set out to be a 3.3km swim turned into a 6.1km swim.

It was HARD.   Sally made it to the shore first, then Cat…I still had at least 5 minutes to go.   The current was so strong that I was swimming in place.   I looked up and saw the girls, they were SO close yet SO far away.   I had a boat next to me and thought to myself….they might have to get me….my heart sank.   The girls started cheering me on, I was swimming as hard as I could telling myself “come on April, you can do this.”   The girls came in the water as far they could….I was swimming as hard as I could….they could finally reach me and vice versa….they grabbed me, pulled me and we just hugged.  Silence.  Tears. Hugged.  We needed no words.

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I get to the shoreline and there were my parents standing there waiting from me.  They flew all the way in to cheer me on, this was the first time I had seen them in a MONTH!!!!!!!  Elated!  Mom grabbed me and cried.

I heard Adam was separated from his team and that he was in the water alone.  I was very sad to hear this.  About 30 minutes later he was brought to shore in a boat, he was not able to finish because the current became too strong.  He was not the only one, but was really disheartened about the whole thing.  He had endured a cramp in his leg and pulled a muscle,  and what was my elation soon became sadness for Adam and the others that couldn’t finish.

It was time for us to then get on our road bikes and ride to lunch and then again to our hotel 30-40km away.   I changed, went to grab my bike and NO BIKE.   I was the only one that didn’t have a bike.   It was an honest mistake but a bummer.   Jo, one of the chaperones, did all she could to try to make things better…and when I told her its okay and to leave me, she fell into tears and said “I’m just so sad for you, you’ve come all this way, and can’t finish the challenge today.”   She was amazing and so caring, it was refreshing to see her passion and love for all of us, including myself.

I believe everything happens for a reason and I was okay with what had happened.

It was quite the day and always an honor to be apart of any of it, even if I couldn’t finish with the ride.

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Thank you for following along! More to come!

xoxoxox

 

#westrive

Switzerland to the bottom of Italy!!

Made it all the way from Switzerland to the bottom of Italy!!!

4 weeks later and here we are!!! Spirits are high, new people coming in for the final triathlon and a rest day tomorrow!!!Absolutely insane!!!

Here is what we just accomplished.  ( Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, and Stage 4!)

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Couldn’t have done it without Halfords help along the way.   Every time we had a puncture or anything wrong with our bikes they were there to help every second of everyday.  ( www.halfords.com ). Thanks guys 🙂

Holly, Abdullah and I made it the entire way together!!! Captain Holly has been my rock!

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This final week, this was our core team that stuck together through thick and thin.

There are no words that describe how I’m feeling….these pictures and videos say it all.

 

Thanks for all the love and encouragement along the way!!

Don’t forget to sponsor me and donate to he charity Big Change CLICK HERE

Hardest Day of My Life

 

We climbed over 4,000 meters and rode 180 km (13,123ft and 112miles) in ONE DAY!  I can honestly say I think today has been the hardest day of my life.  If you don’t know me well, I was an army wife that worked through her husband having ptsd after getting blown up in Afghanistan. I  took care of my father in law while he was dying of cancer. I took in a sweet 16 year old in to help “raise” and protect. I have had 4 babies in 3 years, started a company 6 years ago,  and even with all that I was completely broken yesterday.   To climb mountains for 12+ hours on a bike is absolutely insane.

I told Adam after 8 hours that I was going to quit….. I didn’t have anything to prove, I didn’t have it in me anymore, there was no more strength, energy, and mental fortitude.  I was DONE!!! I knew what he would say and that it would be “absolutely not,  you can do this” and that was NOT what I wanted to here.  Well…he gave me a pep talk for about 10 minutes and told me I could do this, I would do this and if he had to push me up the mountain the rest of the way, he would.   Ugh….so I pulled up my big girl panties, ate lunch and got back on that damn bike!!!!

One of our bike chaperones had to push me up a few hills, Adam helped too. 7 months ago I bought a bike….enough said.

10 hours later we ran into several others and all got our second wind and knew we could finish together!!!!!  Some started at 5am and some started at 7am….and about 15 of us crossed the finished line around 8pm.  Absolutely epic and amazing feeling.

What do you think you can’t do???? The answer should be nothing, because ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE IF YOU ONLY BELIEVE!!!

 

Xoxo #westrive

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Rest Day and 2 cycle legs..Whew!

The Internet has been so horrible the last fews days! Here is a quick catch up on my journey and tomorrow we will be back to our regularly scheduled program!!

Rest day: spent the day with the kids, rented a boat with friends and ended the day with Gelato (aka amazing Italian ice cram).   Rest days are both amazing and tough….amazing because I finally get a day with my kids but tough because I don’t really get to rest.   I need to write an entire blog just on being a mommy and how I’m handling it all (or at least trying to hold it all together).

Cycle Stage 3: Day 1 !!!! It is ABSOLUTELY insane that we have come this far!  We had a short day today, only 87km, …hilarious thats become a short day!  We left later this morning than we have in the previous mornings. So, my kids were able to cheer us off for the first time. The BEST encouragement and the BEST mascots ever!!! Heart was definitely full this morning as we headed out.

Day was super pretty, nice ride, great company and finished at a hotel with a pool to play in with kids.

Day 2, Cycle stage 3…

Tough day, mentally and physically.   Lots and lots and lots and lots of climbing.  Actually had to get off my bike for this one

We stopped for a cappuccino right before a big climb…always good for the soul

 

After lunch, I was under the impression we didn’t have much more climbing….well I was in for a treat.  Mentally, I had prepared for an easy afternoon when in fact it was pretty much all climbing or at least it felt that way….I was not happy about it internally.   It’s amazing how much my mind play tricks on me.   This life and this challenge is all a mind over matter experience at this point.   I have good moments and bad moments…such is life.   I just want to continue to experience and push the limits of what this life is all about and to spread love, joy and inspiration a long the way.

Thank you again for following me on this journey!!

Don’t forget to donate if you can! CLICK HERE Every penny goes to BIG CHANGE!

Xoxox