WeAreTheCity talk achieving your goals with Bonita Norris, the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest

Bonita Norris

Bonita Norris made history when she became the youngest British woman to summit Mount Everest.

Today, she travels the world as a female motivational speaker, to inspire audiences with her incredible story of determination and self-belief. Bonita recently sat down in this exclusive interview for WeAreTheCity to discuss her most memorable mountaineering experience.

As one of the youngest British women to climb Mount Everest, what inspired you to embark on the adventure?

“So, I was at university at the time, I had never climbed a mountain. I went to a lecture about Everest and listened to this incredible speech.

“When I heard the two climbers that were giving the speech say that when they reached the top of Everest, they looked down and they could see the curvature of the Earth beneath them, I just knew in that moment that I had to see it for myself. That was where it started!”

Of all the places you have visited, what has been the most memorable? 

“In 2012, I climbed a mountain called Lhotse which is the fourth highest peak on the planet, and no one’s really ever heard of it unless you’re into mountaineering. But it was really special for so many reasons, mainly because we were absolutely destined to fail on this mountain!

“Everything had gone wrong. The conditions were really bad, but we did manage to reach the top and it’s really special to me because it taught me such an important lesson about not giving up when you want too most.

“Just keep trying and you never know what can happen. It was a very special moment reaching the summit, and we never imagined we would ever get there.”

What are your top tips for setting and achieving your goals?

“So, my first tip is having a really clear vision, and make it emotional. When I thought about Everest and I dreamt about getting to the top and seeing the curvature of the Earth, it would actually make me cry. It meant that much to me.

“When you’ve got such an emotional vision, it means so much when you’re in those low moments, when you think, ‘why am I doing this?’. You get really beaten down, but the answer is in you.

“It’s so easy to forget the big picture, forget where we started, when the small things along the journey beat us down and we lose sight of our vision.

“My second is the complete opposite. You’ve got your big picture, but you do have to trust the process. It’s all about small steps, and some of those steps will be forward and some of them will be backwards, but it’s the process that matters.

“It’s really about that tension, the marriage between the big and small picture.”

How do you motivate yourself when faced with failure?

“There are hundreds of different ways that I motivate myself, but I think the most important thing I try and remember is, ‘do I need a big picture motivation right now, or do I need a small motivation?’.

“Because sometimes the big picture, the dream, what the future might hold if I commit to this, it’s so exciting that it just gets you through.

“But sometimes, that big picture can be so overwhelming you just think, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been working so hard, there’s still so much to do’. And in those moments, just being able to focus on something really small and forget about the big picture is really important.

“So often, I ask myself that question – ‘what do I need to focus on right now?’ As human beings, we are incredibly driven by our emotions. And one of the things that inspires me the most is playing the right song! It can instantly connect you to a feeling.

“It’s often feelings that motivate us more than anything else, so you need to work out what inspires motivation in you, and then having that bank of different things to go back to.”

This exclusive interview with Bonita Norris was conducted by Megan Lupton.

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