By KAREN NEOH
After a short hiatus from Jamie Andrew, this week we would like to share more pearls of wisdom from this hugely inspirational man.
In January 1999, mountaineers Jamie Andrew and Jamie Fisher were trapped for five nights on the storm bound icy summit of a French mountain. Their rescue, one of the most dramatic in the history of the Alps, tragically came only hours too late to save Fisher.
Andrew, despite suffering hypothermia and appalling frostbite, survived, but at great personal cost. Ten days later, both his hands and his feet, damaged beyond repair by frostbite, were amputated.
He quickly learnt to walk again and master all the everyday tasks that we normally take for granted. In less than four months, he was able to leave the hospital, move back home and return to work as the manager of a small company.
Since then Andrew has defied all odds by running marathons, completing an Iron Man triathlon, skiing, snowboarding, sailing, and of course, returning to climbing the mountains that he loves so much. In the process he has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity and received many awards.
Andrew is an inspiring speaker who tells his story with great passion, sincerity and humour. The result is a talk which is at once gripping, inspiring and ultimately uplifting. He uses his skills as a mountaineer and his experiences to great effect in putting across principles that are directly applicable to successful business practice.
With over 13 years’ experience of speaking in more than 30 countries on five continents, Andrew has worked with many businesses and training organisations.
He is also a regular presenter for The IMD (Institute of Management Development) in Switzerland.
We asked Andrew what advice he would have for people going through a crisis or particularly painful period in their lives. Without hesitation, he replied that talking about the issue at hand is most important.
“Share with people you love, whoever you trust, maybe even a stranger. Don’t keep things bottled up,” he said.
Andrew firmly believes that it is okay to reach out and depend on other people, and that it is a two-way process. “They can show you the strength you have within yourself. Everyone has huge potential – untapped – and sometimes it takes huge adversity and inspiration to bring this out. Invariably, this comes from other people”.
Andrew’s advice for people whose partners are going through difficult times:
“I am lucky to have Anna, my then girlfriend and now wife.”
They realised at the outset, that his accident and recovery was something they had to go through together.
“It was just as much a life-changing experience for her. Anna was going through it as much as I was and effectively had to learn how to live her life with my disability too.”
They both had their ups and downs.
“Some days, I would be feeling bad, and she would comfort me. From the hospital bed, I would comfort her too. We have three young children. And I got all the attention.
“Aside from my inspirational recovery and all that, Anna was forever in the background. She is a private person, happy not to be in the limelight. But also… not receiving all the credit. None of this would be here today, if not for her care and support.”