In 2012, in a small pizza restaurant in Manly Beach (Sydney) a conversation took place that would change my life forever.
A friend and I were talking about how he was going to compete in the hardest cross country ski race in the world - 90 kilometre Vasaloppet in Sweden. After learning about the race I said that I would love to try accomplish this feat myself. The only problem was, I had never skied a single day in my life... but I looked at that as a minor obstacle.
Fast forward a couple years, I had a ticket with still no experience in how to ski. I Googled "how to train for cross country skiing on land" and learned about roller skis, which were perfect because, of course, there was no snow to train on in Sydney. After a number of initial attempts at training I realised I needed to have a higher purpose to strive for, other than proving to my friend and myself I could pull this off.
I then reached out to my good friend James Thomas as he and his wife Kristy were running a new, small charity called Feel The Magic with a mission to help children all around Australia learn how to live with grief when they have lost a loved one. I told them I was taking this crazy ski race on and said I would like to raise funds and support their charity as a way to keep me on track... their willingness to have me support their charity in my upcoming ski adventure created a model for me that would change my life forever..
Due to the intensity of the upcoming 90k ski race, the fact that I had never skied, and I was supporting a small charity with a beautiful and important message I was fortunate to gain a significant amount of media exposure. This exposure was incredible as it allowed me to share not just the story of this crazy challenge I had ahead, but also the story of the charity. Magic began to happen as Feel The Magic was gaining attention, and I was gaining motivation.
11 months after starting my training I took on the Swedish monster ski marathon, still having never skied once before the day of the race. After 11 hours and 8 minutes of constant pushing I crossed the line, for me, and for the charity.
Having completed this brought me to realise I have a model on my hands. If I continue to take on the hardest physical challenges in the world to support a new small charity with each challenge - great things can happen for me, for those inspired by the challenge, and most importantly, for the small charity that is the centre of it all.
This brought me to found outspire.org as a way to tell that story - and remains to be the platform to tell the stories of all the challenges I take on, and the charities that I support.
Finding this model has changed my life and given me a purpose far greater than I could have imagined. I have redesigned my life to support small charities with these challenges which has seen me leave my full time job and start my own business facilitation service - which allows me the flexibility to remain working but also focusing on Outspire.
I have since had the opportunity to meet and work with some very inspiring charities and athletes around the world. The vision for Outspire is to continue to share not just my story but the many incredible stories of the people I meet along the way. The inspiration I see in the world is a story that must be told.
In terms of funding - now and always, 100% of all funds raised go directly to the nominated charity - at a link that goes straight into their account. I never touch the funds, and never need to. As I do continue to run a business outside of the challenges I fund myself. I have been very fortunate in getting the relevant equipment either loaned to me or donated to help me take the challenges on, but financially I support myself.
This is my way of giving back to the world around me.
So, put simply, the Outspire aim is to share stories that inspire people to engage in activities and help the world around them.
I hope you find some inspiration in this story and learn about some incredible things that the supported charities are doing around the world.
My sincere thanks,