Peter van Kets I Professional Endurance Adventurer, Conservationist and Keynote Speaker

Everyone has a spirit for adventure yet few passionately pursue this professionally. Amongst many other extreme endeavours, Peter has rowed across the Atlantic, raced across the South Pole, negotiated blizzards all the while capturing the beauty of this planet and striving to harness significant action to protect our earth. Peter has also become globally known as a specialist around business’ ability to persevere in a dynamic and turbulent economy. By sharing the lessons learned from his expeditions Peter relates them to the business environment provoking life-altering journeys, changing the way people think about themselves and their businesses.
Having had many opportunities for reflection, Peter shares some of his wise thoughts with us here:

Peter van Kets1My Definition Of Success To be able to achieve the vision that you have set out for yourself, from a personal and a professional perspective. Most importantly I believe that being significant is way more important than being successful. Therefore, success is not about winning a race but about what happens afterwards. I feel successful if I can inspire people and change that way they think about themselves.

I Am Driven By  what I can achieve during and from my expeditions that have positive conservation results. There is a difference between what motivates me and what drives me. Supporting my two charities, The Karel du Toit Centre for the Deaf and Children in the Wilderness drive me. If the wilderness in Sub Saharan Africa is to thrive, I believe that it is the children living in these areas that need to be supported and educated.

My Highlights A major highlight was meeting my wife Kim, that event changed the course of my life. The birth of my daughter Hannah was a huge highlight and a life changing experience. Other highlights include winning the Trans-Atlantic rowing race in 2008 and holding the South African flag over the South Pole commemorating the Centenary of the Scott Amundsen race in 2011.

The Characteristics Of Success Many books have been written on this topic and people have their own ideas however I believe there is not just one characteristic that will determine success. People also believe that if you have socio economic advantages, you will have guaranteed success, I don’t adhere to this. Attending top schools, having a high IQ will not automatically result in success. For me, the significant  predictor to achieve and sustain success is perseverance.
My boat for the Trans Atlantic race was called “Ngama Zela” which means perseverance, but it also means more than that. It also means to see something through to the end and to see it through well and with significance. Vas byt!

Principles I Live By This is important. My life is not just about me but about who I surround myself with. People who share the qualities of integrity, honesty and the biggest one of all for me is accountability.
Peter van Kets2I asked Billy to look after me during our expedition together. If I was not eating, he must get me to eat. If I was dehydrating, he must take responsibility to make sure I get enough fluids. And I took ownership of looking after him. This built a strong bond between us and enabled us to take our focus off our own selves to care for each other. By adopting this practice, we prospered strongly. Imagine if all people and businesses worked in this way?

Lessons I Have Learnt Try being 76 days out at sea alone! They say that if you want to truly know yourself, you should spend 24 hours in total isolation…. you will learn plenty about yourself after 76 days in isolation.
We have been incredibly made. If we put the right processes in place, personal and professional, we can absolutely achieve those things that we thought were impossible to achieve.  Some people achieve their impossible every day, how do they do it? Because they believe they can.

Dealing With Doubt Just because people achieve extraordinary things doesn’t mean that they do not experience moments of severe doubt. Imagine sitting on a boat at ores at 4am, it is pitch black, the rain is pelting down, the sea is so rough that you are being tossed around like a cork in a rapid. Your hands are blistered and there are boils on your backside, you can be guaranteed that your subconscious mind will play tricks on you. You will have crystal clear reasons why, that as soon as the sun comes up, that you should call in the cavalry or a passing ship. Doubt certainly does creep in, you think that if you have to do this for another 24 hours that you will not be seeing your daughter walking down the aisle or growing old with your wife.
What I do in this type of situation is to rationalize the doubt that I have with the amount of will that I have to achieve what I want to achieve. It has always worked out that my will conquers my doubt.

My Future Dreams And Ambitions There are many but to name a few,
1 January 2017 row across the Atlantic with Braam Malherbe in the Cape To Rio yacht race.
December 2017 – once sponsorship materializes, I will circumnavigate the planet on the Tropic of Capricorn.
I’d also like to row the 7 Great African Lakes in an expedition called Makasia Africa (this is Swahili for rowing/paddling) 

Peter van Kets3The Legacy I Would Like To Leave   This will not be about me, my legacy will be left with people. I’d like to leave this planet in a better space than what it is in right now by instilling in my daughter the characteristics required to preserve and protect our beautiful planet so she can teach these values and principals to others.

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