Tom Randall on when it all goes wrong

Tom Randall, a climbing athlete for Epic TV, gives us the inside track on how he copes when things go wrong and he’s half way up a cliff face.  He delves into his mechanisms for dealing with dangerous situations and how he keeps his cool.

Hi Tom. Right. Let’s get straight to it. What happens when BIG things go wrong during a climb? 

When big things go wrong, it’s easy to feel like giving up on the challenge and going back to the start. My method here is very much a “put one foot in front of the next.”  Take it very steady, don’t focus on the outcome of the next hour/day/week, focus on the now and think about the performance. Think about the process and you will move forward as a consequence.

What if you lose a key element of the team or the day?

I revisit the achievements that I have experienced in that day’s climb. I focus on how I can make up the shortfall and use it to my advantage. For example, if you lose your bag of food, appreciate that you are lighter as a result. This means you can go faster. By thinking positively it helps you gain a positive mental attitude towards your goal, helping you succeed.

How do you cope when you get hurt?



I think about the here and now and try to keep motivated. There’s no way you can make the pain suddenly disappear but you can focus on the surroundings to keep you motivated. Sometimes it’s not just about a physical injury but also emotional stress at work, like losing a client. It’s all about perseverance.

What do you when you feel a sense of low motivation?

To overcome that feeling, I would say to focus on your strengths. If you’re the optimistic one of the group, or good at looking at the details, checking technical elements… whatever it is, then remember that. Remember you’ll be doing this and that you’ve got your colleagues back by doing it. Self-empowerment.

What happens when you don’t achieve your goal? 

This will inevitably happen at some stage. I find the best way to deal with it is to consider your failure of the “big” goal as a success in achieving a “process goal”. After all, you probably got quite close to the big goal and normally there are some smaller achievements that you’ve made along the way. Think of it as another stepping-stone to then revitalise and achieve the big one!

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