She was just 8 when she hiked the Kokoda Track, a 100km / 60mile trek through the mountains, humidity and mud - oh so much mud - of Papua New Guinea.
14 when she summited Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa, 16 when she attempted the world’s 8th highest (and one of its most dangerous) mountains, 17 when she first attempted Everest and 19 when she finally summited it.
Alyssa Azar wasn’t your average teenager.
Now at only 20, she’s on track to summit the Seven Summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents in the next few years.
Needless to say, Alyssa is driven, focused and determined. You can almost hear the steely determination in her voice.
But her journey has been far from easy; she only summited Everest on her 3rd attempt after the first two attempts ended in tragic circumstances and she (and her parents) have been subject to heavy criticism - including from internet trolls - who didn’t hold back in expressing their opinions about how inappropriate it was someone so young to attempt what she’s done.
Then (on the Kokoda Track at the age of 8) and now
In this conversation, we discuss:
* the importance of focusing on what you can control,
* how to manage your self-doubt (her advice: take steps on a daily basis to actively move towards your goal),
* why it’s important to be selective about who you take advice (and criticism) from,
* the perfect performance line (pay close attention; this tip is priceless for your goals in sport, career and life),
* why you need to own the fact you are responsible for how you choose to react.
My favourite quote (apart from our discussion about the perfect performance line):
Everyone has doubts. When you have a goal that’s really going to challenge you, that’s a natural part of the process. I have days when I’m absolutely confident that I could do this then I’d have days when I was thinking “oh my god, what am I doing? What have I got myself into? But I found when I was actively working towards my goal on a daily basis, that doubt went away because I was taking steps to get there. So I would just try to focus on the things I could really control and learn to be able to have that doubt and still push on and not let it scare you away.
She’s an insightful, determined woman who, I think it’s safe to say, knows her own strength (physical and mental) and that comes across in this conversation.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Notes and resources:
The Girl Who Climbed Everest : The Inspirational Story of Alyssa Azar, Australia's Youngest Adventurer by Sue Williams is available from Booktopia