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Well-Being and Resilience

In October this year I will be undertaking the ultimate test of resilience, competing in the Snowman Race, a 222km long high altitude ultra-marathon in the Himalayas in Bhutan. But far from a competition against peers, it is the ultimate competition with oneself. Resilience, as we know, is the ability to see things through, and the Snowman Race will push me to the very limits of my resilience. I remember when I ran my ultras—through deserts—it wasn’t the journey, but the ability to harness energy sustainably to make it to the finish line and still have vitality. It was the time after the race was done that mattered, and the ability to think to the future with a fresh perspective. 

The need to keep “some in the reserve tank” is an analogy that I use as I motor through life. And not always one that I have been conscious to always keep in perspective. It takes constant real time feedback to cross-check we are in balance, and slow down or readapt if we are not. 

It’s this resilience that I am so fascinated with when I consider how we manage our well-being. The resilience to look after ourselves, not go too hard, but still get to where we need to. I remember a close friend one telling me, “Matt it’s not about the straight line or express route, it’s about enjoying the zags in the zig zag lines that get us to the destination”. 

Right now, many of us reflect on an incredible journey since Covid broke out in early 2020. Virtually every paradigm was shattered and our minds exploded with new possibilities. We all came to appreciate that life could be finite and unpredictable. Collectively, we had a massive shift in our purpose.  

For me, I’d long made decisions on how I was designing my life that I deemed optimal for the moment. I had created ChapmanCG, founded other HR businesses, co-built Bawah Reserve, became a farmer in New Zealand, a prolific global HR tech investor… and the list goes on. Along the way, I idealistically followed my life passions in extraordinary realms of creativity, dealt with my sexuality in my mid-20s, and continually cleared my life path to have no regrets. I was driven to be my best authentic self and to be the optimal friend and support for others. 

But along the way, and with the extra stress and unpredictability of Covid times, I became overwhelmed, and my resilience started to crack. It crept up on me steadily from 2019 and then hit a breaking point, plunging me into a depression. I am appreciative of everyone who has supported me through this. I was forced to re-tool my life and look to the future with a different outlook. The very maps and framework I had used to design my life had broken and I had to redesign my formula. This would bring with it great opportunity (What did you learn about resilience through the depression? What perspective changed?).

Now I look to the 2.0 life ahead. The 1.0 is everything that sat before me—I describe it as “doing my best” with what I thought I wanted and every situation I went through, good and bad. But the 2.0 is what we aspire to be moving ahead. It’s how we design our life with a blank sheet of paper. The journey of change is what I term ‘metamorphosis’.

Metamorphosis is like a vortex where we let go of our past habits and develop sustainable new habits. We do this because we have to. The butterfly won’t emerge from the cocoon unless the caterpillar completes the metamorphosis. At this time we are off the playbook and there are no rules. It feels discombobulating and we are making a flying leap between two sides of a river, but can we make it?

Our metamorphosis is continuous. We look ahead with a fresh perspective and will only see the fruits when we look back in the rear vision mirror and see the change from our past self. The metamorphosis takes in continual feedback and adjustment, of what works and what doesn’t. But bit by bit, we move forth into our 2.0. 

In the next month, Will Group takes full ownership interest in ChapmanCG, after final milestones were reached on 31 March 2022. I will still exist as Active Founder of ChapmanCG, but I move forth to new possibilities. My focus will be on MC2 and my passion around holistic well-being as the path to sustained happiness. My mission is to be the Well-Being Champion of my global network. MC2 will not only look after them but also unlock their strategies around holistic well-being to create sustained happiness.  

MC is my initials and the 2 is my second life. But the 2 is small and represents the exponential (squared) effect of anchoring my network around this mission. I will be the storyteller at the heart of MC2, sharing my own journey, but also unlocking well-being wisdom from the incredible network that lies before me. 

The Snowman Race is the centrepiece of my MC2 journey and as a founding member I will join a field of 30 to take part in the quest. Coinciding with the race is Bhutan’s and the King’s mission to profile carbon neutrality. Bhutan is one of the few carbon negative countries in the world. 

Knowing what I know now, and describing where life is at, Snowman takes on a new meaning. It’s metaphorically about reclaiming my energy as I move forward with MC2 and focusing my mind to effortlessly summit the endless mountains that lie ahead in life. From a macro perspective, it’s much more about a greater mission for humanity on our environment and the plight of a country, than running the race. If I don’t finish, I will have done my best by just being part. 

The story of MC2 and my mission around enhancing global well-being will track closely to Snowman. It will recognise that the resilience towards creating sustained happiness is about charting a balanced perspective around well-being taking into account the dimensions from family, friends, relationships, financial, nutritional, exercise, spiritual, business and many more. It’s this interrelationship around what creates our optimism for the future to drive sustained happiness, that I am interested in. 

My training for the Snowman will involve five months of preparation and as I write this, I have Covid which is my first training setback to overcome. Stay tuned as MC2 unfolds and never forget the resilience that lies within us.

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