Meet the woman inspiring adventure in business

From working in a war zone to conquering polar expeditions, Sue Stockdale has led an adventurous life. Today she uses her love of adventure to inspire better entrepreneurs and leaders.

Sue knows what it takes to achieve seemingly impossible goals. She was one of the youngest people to become a senior manager at British Gas. In 1989 and 1990 she represented Scotland in Athletics. She’s faced some of the toughest challenges ever seen on TV . And in 1994 she became the first British woman to ski to the Magnetic North Pole.

Accepting the call for adventure

It was after a Raleigh International expedition in Kenya, that Sue decided to push herself further.

“I realised that I could do more than I imagined, and was keen to have more adventures,” Sue explains on her website. “I took a leap of courage and left my 11-year career in British Gas, to work with the United Nations in a war zone. This was very different to what I had known, which taught me about taking risks and stepping into the unknown.”

Back in the UK, Sue responded to an advert looking for novice arctic explorers.

“The brochure asked ‘Are you man enough for the ultimate challenge?’ and had all photos of men,” Sue recalls. “It made me determined to earn a place in the team. I knew I was fit, I knew I could take risks and felt I had as much of a chance as anyone else.”

Sue joined the team and successfully skied over 30 days to the Magnetic North Pole, facing temperatures cold enough to freeze your flesh in seconds.  

Inspiring others

It was after another expedition that Sue had the idea to use her adventurous experiences to help others. She says:

“I joined Robert Swan and a team of 35 young people from 25 countries as a leader, to help them on a UNESCO expedition to Antarctica. Having heard Robert share his story, I wondered if my experiences would also inspire others.”

Sue decided to set up her business as a motivational speaker to give others the inspiration and skills to achieve more in the workplace.

“I never imagined I would have achieved what I did, but I realised if I could do that, anyone could, with the right inspiration and guidance. It also made me realise that giving back to help others, gives you so much reward. It was a no brainer to become an entrepreneur.”

20 years later and Sue’s business is thriving. Through coaching, motivational presentations, books and leadership development programmes she has helped thousands of leaders and entrepreneurs to do more than they thought possible.

“I want to inspire people to be adventurous, because when they step out of their comfort zone, and habitual way of doing things, they can amaze themselves as to what they can do.” 

Entrepreneurship is an adventure

Sue firmly believes that being an entrepreneur is an adventure. Not only that, but being adventurous can make for better entrepreneurs.

“You must be bold, accept that you are taking on risk and that the outcome is unknown and possibly hazardous,” she says.

But if you’re not the adventurous type, fear not. Sue has a few tips:

  1. Find your motivation – being clear about why you are doing something, will help keep you going when you face challenges.
  2. Take action – ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? If you can live with the answer then be prepared to act. After her presentations, Sue encourages people to commit to take some action to move them forwards and follows up 30 days later.
  3. Don’t wait – if you wait for things to be known, others will know those things too and you may miss your opportunity.

It’s about “being prepared to be adventurous and more open to change,” argues Sue.  “This enables us in today’s society to be more understanding, and willing to collaborate with others.”

So while we may not all be cut out for polar expeditions, it seems we can all be more adventurous when it comes to business. As Sue says, “the only person stopping you... is you!”

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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