On Wednesday 29 July the YES Group London was totally enthralled by the our speaker for the evening, Deri Llewellyn-Davies.
Deri is well known as “The Strategy Man” who turns around businesses providing them with strong strategic direction and focus to success. But what many people don’t know is that Deri is a serial adventurer who travels the world in search of amazing challenges. It was his adventure side that wowed us from the stage last week.
It was 10 years ago that Deri set his adventure plan into motion after a pivotal moment. He believes that it is these pivotal moments in life that define who we are and what we do. As Deri’s father lay in hospital he shared with Deri all the things he wished he had done with his life and that was it, Deri was determined not to have any regrets when that moment happened to him. As humans our top regrets in life are those of love, work/career, family/friends, education, living as our true selves and travel; what would yours be?
So Deri set himself what he calls his Global Grand Slam as he realised his WHY! He challenged us in the audience to consider the difference between thinking that we could do something, and actually doing it. He believes that when we have a big enough why, it is that why that drives us through our darker days.
He pointed out that we were probably in the right place, as within The YES Group London community there would be people who shared our visions and drivers; whereas outside we might be thought of a freaks who were in cults! Within personal development communities, like The YES Groups, are the people that will help us on our journeys. He warned us though that we might have to find new peer groups if we are not connected enough to those that share our visions.
Deri set himself a goal of endurance marathons like the Marathon Des Sables (six marathons across the Sahara), a jungle marathon in the Amazon, an ironman and to climb the seven highest peaks on each continent! A brutal adventure to set yourself, but that’s what he set as his goal, with Everest at the top!
He had a few F-word moments, the first being Fear! We have to get over fear, because as soon as we don’t get excited we get scared. We need to understand what we are scared of and work out what is the worst that can happen. Deri’s advice was to accept the fear on the worse and best case scenarios, and just deal with them. He reminded us that if we are not facing fear, then we are living a life of mediocrity. Deri says “things are never perfect; get over it!”
His second F-word moment is failure. He failed to climb Mount Denali, faced bankruptcy and could easily have given up, but the thought of his young daughter pulled him back and drove him forward. Just as Malcolm Gladwell says, it’s takes 10,000hrs to reach mastery, Deri knew this from business, from presenting, that he had to put in the hours to conquer Everest.
It takes some two months to climb Everest and Deri didn’t just want to climb it, he wanted to do more. So with his fellow climbers they decided to hold the world’s highest black tie dinner party to raise money for the Sherpa’s fund, as many of them had lost their lives on the mountain the year before. At base camp, they held their dinner with the climbers acting as waiters for the Sherpa’s. Five years previously they had decided not to summit up the South face, which although is the easiest there is queuing and problems. So they decided to summit up the North face, which is a more spiritual route through China and Tibet; this decision saved Deri’s life!
When he started his climb he knew that over 7,000 metres there was no rescue, anyone that couldn’t continue had to be left; a brutal position to be in but an essential one for his own safety. Emotionally he had to be prepared to face death in the face, as there are over 220 dead bodies on the mountain that will never be recovered and he would have to pass 20 on the North face route alone. The biggest fear for a climber is that of avalanche, he had faced this fear but he never imagined what would happen to him on that day.
It was 25 April 2015 when the devastating earthquake hit, known now as the “Deadliest day on the Mountain in History!”
When it hit, Deri had no idea what happened, he was not prepared for it. When he managed to stand up after the quake it was then that the avalanches hit. He was safe on a piece of ground, but just 10 minutes earlier he would have been amongst what was now thousands of tonnes of ice and snow. Standing there, he realised that this was his moment with God.
He and his colleagues continued on, as they had no idea what was going on. They were way too high to be helicoptered off and for a few hours the world thought that he too had perished.
The earthquake took 19 of his climbing party and another 3,000 on the mountain itself. Deri and the remainder of his team were saved by the Chinese authorities who closed the mountain and removed them from it. As he said, “the Chinese saved my life as the third earthquake hit”.
As an audience we were left in awe. Awe at the power of nature and awe at the strength of character and determination shown by Deri.
Deri’s message is simple; not to live a life of regret, to have a big enough why and know that life is just one great adventure.
As a gift Deri offered those in a the YES Group a free downloadable copy of his book. To get yours use this link.
We were delighted to have such an inspirational and motivational speaker at The YES Group London and look forward to hearing about Deri’s future adventures including taking on Everest again!