Alex Staniforth is a record-breaking adventurer, keynote speaker, published author, brand ambassador and charity fundraiser from Cheshire. At the age of 26 he has already attempted Mount Everest twice and is dedicated to inspiring others to achieve their own ‘Everest’ in life.
Alex is not your typical Everest speaker. After single-handedly raising over £35,000 in corporate sponsorship whilst still at school, his first attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest in 2014 was abandoned following a tragic avalanche that took sixteen lives. Aged just 19, he returned to Everest a year later and survived an avalanche in the Khumbu Icefall, triggered by the Nepal earthquake, which trapped his team on the mountain for two days.
He is no stranger to adversity: overcoming epilepsy, bullying – and a stammer in early life. These experiences have re-defined his view of success and failure to develop a humbling realisation that success lies not just in reaching the top but our journey to get there. Alex understands first-hand how our circle of control is sometimes no bigger than two metres below our feet and that so-called ‘failure’ is just another opportunity to win.
In 2016 Alex Staniforth returned to the Himalayas and reached 7,125 metres on Cho Oyu, the sixth highest peak in the world. In 2017 he became the fastest person ever to climb all 100 UK county tops by bicycle, foot and kayak, covering over 5,000 miles in 72 days to encourage conversations around mental well-being. In 2018 he ran two sub three-hour marathons and has completed numerous other endurance challenges, developing resilience and mental strategies, presented in a way that we can apply to our own daily stresses.
Outdoor adventure and endurance challenges have not only been a tool to overcome adversity but a vehicle for doing good and leading others. Alex has raised over £85,000 for charity, carried the London 2012 Olympic Torch through Chester, won a Pride of Britain Regional Fundraiser of the Year award and is an ambassador for the YHA (Youth Hostel Association) England & Wales.
With an unassuming and approachable style, Alex Staniforth has already presented to over 16,000 people internationally and is one of the youngest ever Gold Award Presenters for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Buckingham Palace. He published his first book Icefall in 2016, endorsed by Bear Grylls, and his second title Another Peak was published in July 2019, endorsed by Mark Beaumont. Alex speaks openly about his struggles with depression, anxiety and eating disorders, to spread the message that mental illness is not a weakness or barrier to achievement. He is also a founding director of Mind Over Mountains C.I.C, a social enterprise providing outdoor experiences to improve and maintain positive mental wellbeing.
Being a resilient leader is more than mental toughness. We can’t always control the inevitable challenges that life throws our way – but we can choose our response. By adopting a victory mindset instead of a victim mindset, we can view obstacles as opportunities in disguise and create a more positive outcome.
How do we keep moving towards a summit that we can’t always see? We live in a precarious and uncertain world but by taking small steps, celebrating the milestones, and focusing on factors within our circle of control, we can adapt to new situations and embrace change to lead others.
We’re led on striving for the next big thing and to discover our purpose in life. Breaking through our self-limiting beliefs is key to unlocking our true potential, forming a plan and taking the crucial first step towards achieving our biggest goals.
Mental ill health is becoming an increasing threat across all sections of society. Through personal lived experience, Alex can dispel the myths that mental illness is a barrier to achievement, share practical steps to promote good mental wellbeing, and encourage open conversations about mental health in the workplace.
Success is rarely the straight line we’re led to believe and means something different to all of us. Fear of failure is widespread, even when attributed to some of our biggest innovations. To re-define failure as fuel to win, we must accept that failure can sometimes be inevitable but can teach us more than achieving our goals first time.
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"Obstacles are opportunities in disguise, and Alex knows this all too well. High achievement requires high sacrifice, but he is a man determined to make his Everest dream a reality!"
Bear Grylls OBE, Adventurer and TV Personality
"We invited Alex to speak at our company away day with the main theme being mindfulness, wellbeing and focus. He took the time to tailor his talk to our needs and the result was fantastic. Alex has a special charm which captivates and draws the audience in. His session was truly inspirational and engaging and gives the audience a sense of motivation and self belief, empowering people to tackle their own obstacles that are present in the world we live in. Everyone left the event feeling inspired, thank you Alex for sharing your thought provoking and mesmerising story!"
"Alex’s keynote address positively inspired our Leaders of the Future conference audience - whatever their age. His impassioned talk transformed our day from being just a good one to being exceptional. He was also a very tough act to follow!"
"I asked Alex to come and share his “journey” with my team of senior managers and executives to give a good example of how people overcome numerous obstacles and still come out as winners. His preparation for the presentation was meticulous, and customised to my need, message and audience. His presentation was delivered perfectly – the timing was good, the message was brilliant and the whole team were captivated. The message of overcoming obstacles to come out on top was simply thrilling. The teams feedback was of the highest praise."
Health & Hygiene Reckitt Benckiser
"You could have heard a pin drop. Every person in the room was focused on your brave and inspiring words. More so than any previous speaker I've heard in the 12 years since our campus opened. To top it off, you gave a valuable lesson - ‘failure’ is inevitable for all of us but it should be embraced as an opportunity. Life is not about how we fall but how we pick ourselves up again."
International School of Geneva
"Your presentation was riveting, engaging and inspirational. We have received such overwhelming feedback on how your story resonated with the team and how it was what they needed at such an appropriate time. This is what we wanted and you certainly delivered!"
Seema Hallon, Head of Office Dubai, Deriv.com
"You brought together a large and varied audience of different roles, ranks and departments, and your presentation gave them the platform to step out of work, devote some time to themselves and their own mental health, offering your perspective and some techniques they can go away and use, and to realise that they are not alone. To link your expedition to COVID was brilliant and allowed us to think about things differently. Sometimes the approach to mental health within organisations as big and cumbersome as ours can feel a bit of a tick box, superficial exercise, but your sessions felt very different, very real, very humble and very authentic. In my view, you will have made a difference much bigger than you may think or ever know."
Chris Mead, Chief Superintendent, Cambridgeshire Police
"Alex delivered a virtual motivational speech via Skype to circa 150 leaders in our business. The event was very well received with many leaders commenting on the relevance of Alex’s journey to our challenges and since the event several leaders have linked back to Alex’s content – describing their “resilience rucksack” and the question “are you pulling on the rope?” has entered our lexicon. I was particularly impressed with the preparation and tailoring Alex was able to do to make the message even more pertinent to our business – it was a truly inspirational session summed up by one comment – “I can’t believe you just paid us to listen to that!”."
Robert Neale, GM, Core Manufacture, Rolls-Royce Submarines
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