I had to take on a whole new identity over several years, to turn myself into someone who didn’t smoke, someone who was really fit, someone who could ride a unicycle the length of Taiwan and that took a lot of internal work to get there.
Early in 2019, I posted on the Sparta Chicks Facebook page asking for guest ideas for Sparta Chicks Radio (as I often do).
The next day, Kelli Jackson sent me a message.
The first two sentences were the usual polite greetings.
But it was the third sentence that caught my attention:
“I’m an accidental world unicyclist”.
As soon as I read that, I thought “OMG I have to hear this story!”
Kelli was in her 40s and an “unassuming middle-aged overweight accountant who smoked” when, at a retreat in Bali, she blurted out that she wanted to ride a unicycle around the world.
“I just kinda blurted out “I’d really like to ride a unicycle around the world”. I have no idea where it come from, or why I’d even said it, or even if that was possible. But that’s what popped out of my mouth.”
That was in 2010, but it wasn’t until she “survived” 2015 that Kelli started pursing her goal - which included learning to ride a unicycle (yes, she didn’t know how when she set the goal!) and getting a large tattoo of a unicycle and the date she planned to start her adventure.
Talk about being committed to your goals!
Since then, Kelli has ridden her unicycle the length of Taiwan (430km) and later this month will set out to ride the length of South Korea (635km) and hopefully become the first Westerner to unicycle inside North Korea!
In this fun conversation, we discuss:
* how she “got busy with life” and gave up most of her hobbies and sports thanks to a stressful job,
* how an “unassuming middle-aged accountant” came to own a unicycle,
* how the idea of riding a unicycle around the world came about,
* the tattoo she got to demonstrate her commitment to her goal,
* how she went from riding 200km for charity (her biggest ride to then) to riding the length of Taiwan just 3 weeks later,
* how being pragmatic and curious helps her minimise her self-doubt,
* how her plan has changed (and the role podcast guest Lucy Barnard played in that decision),
* her next trip to ride the length of South Korea and and why she wants to unicycle inside North Korea,
* the route she’s currently planning to take around the world,
* why you need to “start on the inside” when it comes to setting goals,
* how she deliberately set out to shift her identity from an unfit, accountant who smoked to an athlete and adventurer,
* the importance of acting “as if” you are already the type of person you want to become (long before you believe it), and
* how the Imposter Complex and your ‘identity’ intersect.
Notes and resources: