Welcome (finally) to the third instalment of ‘Inspiring Insight’. This time I’m chatting with a long time friend and client William Pike. William’s story for me, defines the word ‘inspiring’ and I have been looking forward to sharing this post with you all.

William Pike is a known Kiwi, sought-after speaker and a role model to youth nationally and internationally. He is the director of the popular nationwide youth development programme called the William Pike Challenge Award (WPCA).

William, you have a true story of survival, for those who haven’t read your book can you share in short your life changing event.

Sure Tim, thanks for having me in. In 2007 I set off on a 6 day mountaineering adventure with my good mate James Christie. Our plan was to climb Mt. Ruapehu, Mt. Ngauruhoe and Mt. Tongariro – all in one go. Our first night was spent in a snow cave above the Whakapapa Ski field. The next day we we’re up at the crack of dawn to walk and climb our way high towards the summit of Ruapehu. Later that evening we found ourselves sleeping in a small shelter close to Crater Lake of Mt. Ruapehu at an altitude of 2600m. Without warning at 8.20pm when James and I were tucked up in bed, Mt. Ruapehu erupted, spewing 1.5 million cubic metres of mud, water and rock into the air. This debris burst into the shelter and crushed me. I felt my bones breaking and flesh being torn from my leg. It was horrific and my legs were pinned in under large rocks. Thankfully James was unhurt and he courageously ran down the mountain to raise the alarm, and I prepared myself to die. What followed was to be one of NZ’s most daring alpine rescues and the start of an incredible journey for many including myself. I suffered broken bones, an amputated right leg below the knee, short term kidney failure to name a few. Back then I thought my life was falling to pieces, now I can see it was actually falling into place.

How has the events on Ruapehu altered your outlook on life?

My experience on Mt. Ruapehu is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Ironically, it has led me down a path with a much more positive outlook on life. I don’t think one needs to experience a life changing event to have a positive outlook on life. As humans, we’re constantly run off our feet, always occupied and multi tasking. Ruapehu forced me to put my life on hold, evaluate my passions, life goals and be grateful for the wonderful things I had/have in my life; family, friends, health and lifestyle. I frequently make a point of stopping what I’m doing, being grateful for what I have in my life and never complaining about the things I don’t have – there is always someone better off and someone worse off than you.

Previously your passion was teaching, you now have two areas of focus and passion, give us the what and why.

Correct, I’ve always had a passion for education and the outdoors. Through creating my own luck and a lot of hard work, I’ve been able to combine my passion for the outdoors and education to create the William Pike Challenge Award – a youth development programme. The WPCA targets 11-14 year old youth, while they’re in a formative stage of their lives. These kids need to develop resilience, confidence and be connected to local people and places. I also love to share my life experiences as an inspirational speaker for corporates, non-profits and schools. 10 years ago you’d have never got me on a stage in front of people, let alone 1000’s of them. These days I love to share my story and I believe people need to hear human interest and success stories to take away inspiration and nuggets of advice.

You speak to those who need motivating and inspiring, what is one piece of advice you continually share during these talks?

I think we all need inspiration and motivation – no matter who we are. I remind people to Think All Passion, No limits. Passion creates success and the only limitations in life are the limitations we set ourselves.

You teach those who seek courage and growth, what is one piece of advice you continually implement into your programmes?
We’re constantly listening to the schools and students we work with. This helps us shape the WPCA to best meet the needs of busy teachers and growing kiwi kids.
What does the future hold for William Pike and where can those interested learn more about you and your offerings.
Personally, I love spending time with my wife, family and friends. And I’m building up to a big adventure in 2017 to the world’s coldest continent – more to come soon. As far as work goes, I have a long term dream to shape sustainable youth develop practices through the WPCA, for NZ and abroad. Through my inspirational speaking I will continue to craft my life story to inspire and inform others. You can find out about everything I do at www.williampike.co.nz
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