Peter van Kets


Professional endurance adventurer, keynote inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, bestselling author

Peter van Kets is one of South Africa’s top extreme adventurers who shares the lessons he’s learnt as an international keynote speaker. Globally known as a specialist around business’ ability to persevere in a turbulent and harsh economy, Peter has worked with major corporations across Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Taking the lessons learnt from his expeditions, he inspires audiences with stories about survival, courage, perseverance, passion, loneliness, tenacity, grit, amazing teamwork and the will to win. His presentations take people on powerful, life-altering journeys, changing the way they think about themselves and their businesses.

A passionate conservationist and published author, Peterteaches people to seek out the extraordinary in every venture, which demands clear vision, dynamic strategy, precise planning and preparation, absolute honesty and integrity, uprightness of character and self-discipline. Accustomed to standing ovations after presentations, this humble, engaging, ever-reliable speaker is a favourite on the speaking circuit, both locally and internationally.

If anyone is equipped to share lessons on what it means to overcome adversity and persevere against the odds, it is Peter. Few people have endured the harsh realities of nature that he has, and triumphed.His inspirational keynotes, supported by thrilling images and videos of his expeditions, present real-life stories of grit and survival – ideal for today’s corporate audiences.

Peter has a way of pushing people out of their comfort zones and demonstrating how vision, passion and self-discipline can drive excellence. One of his core messages is Sir Edmund Hillary’s – it is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves. In the business world, everyone is immersed in a real-life drama, says Peter – and his aim is to change the way people think about themselves and their circumstances. Calling himself a ‘normal guy’ who happens to do exceptional things, Peter leads employees and teams towards using planning, strategy, conflict management and other skills to get the most out of their lives.

A ‘master of endurance’, Peter always plans to win – and he shows corporates how they can do the same. Having made his name winning the Woodvale Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race together with friend Bill Godfrey, and being the first African to row unsupported across the Atlantic, Peter is a natural leader who drives audiences to be courageous and ambitious in their own lives. Whether addressing CEOs, sales teams or conference delegates, he crafts a message of tenacity and hope that everyone can relate to. Well-known keynotes include ‘Impossible is Nothing’, ‘Leaving a Legacy’, ‘The Power of Team’ and ‘The Success Factor – GRIT!’


“2023 was a tough year for most and without doubt this year is going to up the ante considerably. South Africans are facing their own unique set of challenges (from many sides) particularly from a socio-economic and political perspective.

More than ever our world is evolving at an exponential rate. The business landscape, traditional leadership models and our approaches to life may no longer be sufficient to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead…

RESOLVE, takes a new look at how to foster passion, then harness that passion to create discipline and to construct a process, which will drive passion and discipline towards significant success We conduct both our professional (and personal) lives in a turbulent, dynamic, fiercely competitive and often harsh world And so, starting a business, meeting an insane sales target, turning a floundering venture around, these are all challenges that are infinitely comparable to trekking to a Pole or rowing an ocean. The Business world is the new frontier, it is a place of extraordinary adventure, presenting an arena for uniquely challenging expeditions every day For the past decade of my life I have taken part in and led many expeditions to some of the most remote desolate and beautiful parts of the planet, and the lessons I have learned are astonishingly transferable to the world of business/sales/marketing/finance etc etc Vision, passion, grit, calculated risk taking, survival, collaboration, discipline, leadership, precise planning are as important in the boardroom as they are in the wilderness….although of course an error in the boardroom may not result in your death of all of the attributes I have mentioned, resolve/vasbyt/Nyamezela is the one quality most likely to guarantee success. However, resolve isn’t created in a vacuum, it cannot and does not stand alone. It grows out of PASSION. This presentation, RESOLVE, takes a new look at how to foster passion, then harness that passion to create discipline and to construct a process which will drive passion and discipline towards significant success “If one is resolute about the journey ahead and passionate about achieving one’s vision, then with the right processes in place we can achieve that which has been considered to be impossible before.” But it will take RESOLVE!

Every venture you embark on, both in a professional and personal capacity, will demand clear vision, dynamic strategy, precise planning and preparation, absolute honesty, integrity, discipline and fearlessness, but above all it will demand GRIT, perseverance!!

We currently conduct our ventures in a turbulent, dynamic , competitive and often harsh world. So how do we adapt and then thrive in this environment? How do we achieve and sustain true success and fulfill our purpose. My presentation “GRIT” answers these fundamental questions with profound universal principles learned during some of my expeditions.

So if we put the right processes in place and we persevere we will absolutely be able to achieve those things we have considered ‘impossible’ before.

“Every venture in life is going to demand clear vision, dynamic strategy, precise planning and preparation, absolute honesty and integrity, uprightness of character and self discipline, but above all it will take perseverance, nyamazela, GRIT. If we put the right processes in place, we persevere and never give up on our vision, we absolutely will not fail.” Peter Van Kets

This presentation is pure motivation and focuses on the 888km unsupported Scott-Amundsen Race to the South Pole with a few anecdotes from the rows across the Atlantic.
Target audience: PURE MOTIVATION! Leadership, sales, teams etc

  • Vision
  • Having a winning attitude
  • Collaboration
  • Surrounding yourself with the best possible team
  • Identifying partners who share your vision and passion
  • Knowing that with the right resources, there is a solution to every problem!
  • Setting clear and achievable goals
  • Being properly prepared
  • Execution – Not being paralysed by the fear of failure
  • Perfect delivery
  • Having a clear, but flexible strategy
  • Being decisive
  • Making the move from external discipline to self-discipline.
  • Persevering
  • Innovation – always look for areas to improve upon
  • Understand the benefit of helping others succeed
  • Focus on the small things and the big things fall into place

“Peter’s talk was definitely one of the very best I have heard – and I have heard many! His description of the expeditions he has undertaken are a fantastic example of the vision, planning, courage and discipline required to succeed in any venture. The talk is filled with insights of leadership, teamwork, focus and the ability to endure almost unbelievable stress and hardship. He is an outstanding example of a truly authentic and humble hero.”

Every time I leave my home for the last time before I head off on an expedition the same profound scene unfolds. I have a myriad of thoughts rushing at me. The first one I keep quiet about; I think, ‘I wonder if I will ever see this place again?’ That’s the nature of some of my expeditions. Then secondly, I turn to Kim, my wife, and say ‘isn’t this the most wildly exciting thing happening right now, because the very next time we drive back into this driveway a whole story would have unfolded, gees and I wonder what that story is?’ I have always known that this story would be filled with heaps of suffering and struggle, but it would also be filled with the most amazing experiences, but never known fully the whole story.

If you think of the year ahead, one years’ time, you will have a story that needs to be told. You don’t know what that is. You have plans, but you don’t know how that will unfold. All of us want to tell a significant and successful story. We want to LEAVE A LEGACY, both personally and professionally.

This inspirational keynote delivers a powerful message on how to do it.

The planet was been in in a tempest for a while: the way we live and operate is unsustainable, the economic inequality is indefensible, the way we live and travel the way we choose to eat and deal with waste simply cannot continue. We were already in the storm before 2020, but the cyclone just got real. For everyone, everywhere. We will be in this storm, or a series of storms for a very long time. This will be a multi-day ultra-marathon as opposed to a sprint. This pandemic is a catalyst for change. It can be our greatest blessing or our greatest curse. Which will it be? We will look back on history, (our personal history and that of the planet) a decade from now an account, a narrative, will document the story of what transpired during and after this storm. We get to craft that story. What will it be? Peter uses his experiences to speak on virtual platforms and masterfully creates a process that will inspire success and significance despite the ‘storm’. This is a time to recalibrate, to strategise, re-focus and to be inspired. Let Peter teach your teams the importance of resilience and how to become resilient. The importance of passion, why passion drives resilience and how to become passionate about what we do despite the circumstances.

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