Climbing Life's Mountains
My website has gone through a little bit of a re-brand. Have you noticed? Well, that re-brand was inspired by something...an epiphany I had, which was related to this quote.
Those were the last words my first life coach said to me before we ended our time working together. It had been 8 months and about $10,000 dollars worth of self growth that I had invested in, and those words couldn't have summarized it better. I had climbed mountains, gone on longer treks, at higher altitudes than I ever had before, yes, but I had also taken ownership of a new identity, stopped looking for external validation, come to grips with the toxicity of some of my relationships, started a business, a mountain that had held me back for years before, and so much more. And with that statement, my coach had unknowingly provided me with my tattoo idea to represent the year I'd spent traveling abroad, but also a realization for what my journey and my platform would represent moving forward...
CLIMBING LIFE'S MOUNTAINS.
You see, there was nothing wrong with my life before now. I spent 10 years doing biomedical research and started my PhD in Microbiology in 2013. But there was so much that just wasn't what I wanted. I was single, and felt like I wasn't enough. I struggled with self-confidence, imposter syndrome and the constant need for external validation. I didn't know who I was and didn't have any semblance of self-worth. And I just found myself looking at the world knowing that I wanted more. I knew that I didn't want to be one of those people who hated their job, and that's exactly what I felt. I knew that I was beautiful and valuable, even if I hadn't found a relationship that made me feel that way. I knew that I had an inner athlete that just needed me to set her free, even if my recent habits hadn't demonstrated that, and I knew that there was a mental strength there that I just hadn't figured out how to tap into yet. Bottom line? I knew I had the ability to do more with my life, but I didn't know what that looked like! I didn't know how.
SELF DISCOVERY BECAME MY MOUNTAIN.
Self-care and personal growth became the methods by which I found myself. And in doing so, I found my passion in life. It wasn't some formulaic journey that I could scribble down and disseminate to the masses. It was personal. It was disjointed at times. It was rough and I failed forward as consistently as I fell backward, hard and fast. Half the time, I couldn't even tell you where I was going. But I was digging deeper into my journey and into myself, answering questions that I'd never asked of myself, delving into emotions, stories and limiting beliefs that I had resigned myself to, that I had accepted or hidden. And what's the take away from that?
Well, it's not tangible. That's for damn sure. The best words I can use to describe it are certainty. Certainty and clarity. I care a lot less about the how now and I care so much more about the where I'm going. And don't get me wrong. The journey matters! I'll never say it doesn't! But the part of the journey that matters is not what trailI take or how I often I take a wrong turn. It's about forward progress. Momentum. Consistently. And never quitting, no matter how tired you are. It's about continuing the climb. No matter what!
And the bonus? That this journey gave me my passion. It gave me coaching. It's the only career I've ever pursued where things just clicked and suddenly that vibrant, passionate, boundlessly enthusiastic feeling I had always wanted wasn't hard to attain! It gave me the proof that not only can go from jaded to fucking in love with your life and career you're cultivating, but all those things that you've told yourself you can't do or that you aren't in your life, you're fucking capable of transforming yourself and becoming them. I told myself that I "wasn't a runner" for so long, and yet I ran 2 half marathons in 2015. The first time I heard about obstacle course races like Tough Mudders, I thought there was no way in hell I would ever do one! Running through fricken electrical wires? No thanks, friends! And yet, I've now done 3! When I forked over a few hundred dollars to hike to Machu Picchu? I was scared shitless...about doing my first overnight hike while doing my first hike at altitude...in a foreign country. Probably not my smartest life decision, but I proved to myself that I am not only physically capable, but mentally capable. That I CAN do hard things.
And the coolest part? The physical challenges and the physical strength...it became a vehicle. It became mental strength. It became confidence. Confidence to stop identifying myself as a scientist, something that never resonated with me, and start identifying myself as the thing that I really wanted to be known for - a coach and mentor. Confidence to no longer hide in my clothes, but rock them like the sexy, badass that I am. The confidence to no longer sleep walk through my life, lost, overwhelmed and frustrated. But to take some fucking intentional and consistent action to make my life what I wanted it to be.
I firmly believe that WE CAN ALL CLIMB LIFE'S MOUNTAINS...
Those mountains just look different for everyone.
For someone, that mountain might be school, getting the degree. For someone else, it might be their health. There are so many options. Our finances. Our relationships. Our love life. Our emotional health. Our environment. Our career and cultivating a purpose in our lives. Our hobbies and allowing ourselves the freedom to play and enjoy ourselves It might be deeper than that. It might not just be our emotional health, but our vulnerability, self compassion, or feelings of self-worth. It might not be having a successful career, but a fulfilling one and finding that passion that is both fulfilling, lucrative and impactful. It might not be our physical confidence, but feeling like we're enough in our mind and our heart.
And the crazy thing about life?
You might summit one peak, just to arrive at the next. You might conquer one feat, one insecurity, one obstacle, just to find another in your path. It's the curse of this life, but it's also the blessing. It's the reason why the logo I chose for this re-branded website was a mountain range, made up of Delta symbols (cuz I'm a nerd!). Because challenge and change are fundamental to the human condition and to driving us in this life. Without it, we would stagnate. We would stop growing and with that stagnation we would stop thriving in life.
My coach also told me another story before we wrapped up that call. She said...
That's life right there. Once you climb one mountain, you've laid the foundation to climb the next. Literal and figurative. Because everytime you show yourself that you're capable of climbing that mountain, of overcoming that obstacle, you've instilled proof in yourself, evidence. You've demonstrated to yourself that, "Yes, I can do hard things" like I did when I reached the highest point on our trek to Machu Picchu down Salkantay in March. And again when I signed my first client. And again when I changed my employer to my own company on Facebook and LinkedIn. Small things, but each one a summit in and of themselves. And each time we tackled them, we reinforce that belief that, yes, we can do hard things.
I don't know why I didn't realize it until just now. That this notion of climbing mountains is so applicable to life. I've always felt like fitness and overcoming challenges in the gym is a metaphor for overcoming them in life. Well, here's my newest metaphor. That climbing literal mountains...it's a metaphor for climbing the figurative ones. And it's one that I'm running with.