Weak.

I recently started climbing again after just over a year of not climbing, re-entering my local climbing gym I figured that I could pick back up where I left off. Thinking that my fitness was fairly decent and my ability was still there I proceeded to flail around for an hour on routes that I easily climbed just a year before, my hand hurt, my shoulder ached, and my muscles all begged me to give them a rest. I continued to walk around the gym looking for routes to send, I ended up sending less than half of my attempted routes but still felt accomplished to be back in the gym climbing even if I was weaker than I thought I was.

After finishing my workout in the gym I drove home a little down about my climbing I thought about how nice it was to be going again. The thought of the different routes and moves needed to send(climb) them allowed me to recognize that today I was a weak climber, but next session I would be stronger and be able to send more routes.  This is how we get better at the things we enjoy, we keep showing up to learn more, get better, and be stronger as we participate in our passion.

It’s a hard thing to admit weakness because once we admit that we are others will capitalize on that weakness and try and bring us down. Not a great thought when you are thinking about being vulnerable, can people use my truth against me? Sadly this is a reality, there are people who want to bring us down either to their level or below. Understanding this as a possibility as we go is an opportunity for each of us to become stronger by accepting what we can’t change and investing our time into strengthening the things we can change.

Whatever your weakness is accept it then move forward and fortify and strengthen what you can and become the best you can be. I may not be the strongest climber on the wall, but I will send any route I put my mind to, working from bottom to top relentlessly until I reach my desired destination at the top of the route.

Why.

What is your why? Why do you do things that way you do them? Why are you willing to face adversity to reach your desired destination in life. These are thoughts I’ve had before when I hear about someone with a big dream that seems to be a bit more than they probably can bite, chew, and swallow. Meaning I’m not sure why they really are doing things the way they are doing, I’m probably not alone in wondering about these things.

As a youth in central Utah, I used to sell corn on the side of the road next to the high school every fall for a few summers. My Father, Grandfather, and I would go pick the corn then we’d park the truck on the side of the street and I’d sit there till the sun went down or I’d sold all my corn for the day. I learned a few interpersonal skills with people and how to sell products to folks which is a benefit to me to this day. One of the most memorable experiences for me was trying to sell a bag of corn to a man carrying a giant cross across the USA who stopped through our little town on his way to California.

I asked him about his cross and why it had a wheel on the bottom. Man, “It’s designed to make the walk easier as I carry it.” Me, “Why are you carrying that thing? Don’t you think it would be faster to leave it behind?” Man, “Yes, it would be easier, but I want to show everyone that I can carry this heavy cross from New York to California.”  Me, “Ummm, okay, but why?” Man, “I told myself if I could do this, I could do anything.” Eight or Nine year old me didn’t get it then but have never forgotten it to this day. This man had a purpose to walk across America with a heavy wooden object, and I hope it helped him see he could do anything. I did, however, sell him some corn to fuel his trek.

To this day I see and hear about people who are setting out for challenging journeys as adventurers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and scholars. I can’t always relate to nor understand their vision for choosing the challenges they have decided to claim. I can confirm that choosing a challenge that people don’t understand can be a catalyst to the greatest adventures of one’s life.

Share your why with others, and enlighten them on your vision. If they doubt you or don’t understand that is okay. They might catch a vision similar to yours one day, and take off on their own journey fueled by nothing more than why.

Speak up.

Speaking up can be a challenge no matter who you are in a uncomfortable situation. The ability to say what you need to when it’s needed to be said is a tactful gift that few have. A few thoughts on sharing the hard truth.

First off, use your words wisely. Say what needs to be said, don’t beat around the bush when delivering the message but be tactful with the way you say it. People may not appreciate you speaking up and saying what needs to be said at first but will respect you for having the gumption to say it.

Second, keep your message simple and filled with the truth. Allowing the discussion to be built around fluff and misinformation can deteriorate the trust you share with the person you are conversing with. Keep the message as lengthy as it needs to be but not too long. Use clear words that communicate the message effectively without question, use strong statements that effectively relay your message without belittling the person you are talking to

Thirdly, be mindful not to back your communication partner into a corner. When giving a hard message it’s essential to deliver a clean message with the intent to help not harm the other person. Giving others clear options will be a safe bet to avoid emotional defense and rebuttal from another. Although you clearly know where you want or need the conversation to go have options for another than can effectively lead them through the desert to the oasis that is your desired resolution.

Is this an easy skill to learn? Not really. Is it a good way to become a better communicator? Yes, say it as it needs to be said, use your words wisely, share the simple truth of your message, and keep the trail ahead open with options that lead your communication partner to a clear understanding of your desired outcome. You’ll fumble a few times until you get the hang of delivering the hard message, but once the message is delivered and you can breathe a sigh of relief it’ll be easier to relay the next time around.

Acknowledgment.

Have you ever sat down to rest after completing a hard task at work or around the house and breathed a relaxing sigh of relief that the task was complete? Then looked back on your work and hoped that someone would see the good work that you have done? Have you ever hoped that someone will ask how the project went or how you are feeling now that you’ve completed the task? Are you looking for someone to acknowledge you for your efforts to provide that refreshing phrase we all need from time to time when we’ve poured our energies into a seemingly impossible project?

If you said yes to any of the above then you are not alone. These moments can define how we see our work and the progress we are making as an individual or professional. Acknowledgment is extremely satisfying feedback when it is given with praise and rewarded with non-verbal confirmation. Each human seeks this reassurance to know where they stand in the eyes of others, as individuals it’s good to know our efforts in friendship are paying off and trust is being built. In day to day, professional work feedback and acknowledgment are essential in finding your footing with where you were, where you are now, and what direction to continue going to make the biggest impact in your field.

Feedback can be rough to receive at times because much of feedback is either watered down and fluffed to not hurt your feelings or overly blunt and tactless upon delivery. There is a fine balance between what we want to hear and what we need to hear to allow for the best opportunities for growth. Acknowledgment throughout the process allows us to see the good in our efforts and allows us to have real-time feedback as we go.

I’m not saying that you should hold someone’s hand each step of the way. What I am encouraging you to try during a larger task is to have scheduled check in’s every few days or once a week to follow up on the progress of a task at hand, offer praise where it is due then offer constructive feedback that allows for reflection and direction towards the desired end goal. Having these quick pow-wows should allow for a trusting relationship between two people who might be family, friends, or manager and employee.

These sessions of acknowledgment and direction can be used for personal evaluation too. Following up with yourself creates personal accountability that will help you see your strengths and weaknesses and help you realign your goals to your desired destination. Is it easy to hold yourself accountable with challenging goals? Nope, but you’ll be happier because of your perseverance to the finish line.

Take a moment today, write down 5 things you are good at, that makes you a good person, and that encourages you to keep doing you. Acknowledge yourself for the good you bring into the world and know that you’re great. See where you might need to tweak your behavior to make life a happier place for you and see where you go from there.

Legacy.

What do you want to be remembered for? Your ability to smile through challenges, kindness towards others when it is needed most, your zest for life? or your work ethic? There are countless things to be known for and remembered by. Each day we are forging experiences that will be used by others to remember us by when they think back on us.

Each of us can look back and remember someone who was a light in the darkness, or a stain on the situation. There are also those who we have forgotten entirely due to the fact that they weren’t key players in the experiences we think back on. These are facts of life we will be remembered for the things we have done, or forgotten entirely by some.

When I think about the legacy others are leaving for me to remember I think warmly of the experiences I’ve had at wrestling tournaments watching my father coach others through successful defeats of their opponents or comfort and coach them through defeats they suffer themselves. My father as a wrestling coach taught me how important it is to show up ready for anything, to be prepared for any outcome, and to recognize the opportunities for growth in any situation.

Being taught how to look at opportunities doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard losses that take some time to work out. However, during these times you can stand tall, recognize the struggle will pass, and you can still look your opponent in the eye and shake their hand knowing that the next match there might be a different outcome.

One thing to remember is these challenges aren’t always against other people, we can agree that some of the hardest matches we will face against are the battles fought within, against ourselves. We are our own challengers more often than most will want to admit. However, there are many who are the strongest, kindest, happiest people we know who’s championships are won without anyone seeing the event happen.

Your legacy can be a variety of many things. Successful businesses, holding public offices, works of art, tales of travel, or being known as a mentally strong person who has balanced many things and smiled through the hardest days. Be confident and know that you are great, you can always do better but today, you’re great as you are your legacy is still being written.

Relax.

The ocean air blew through my hair that afternoon while I watched the birds fly above me and the waves crash on the cliffside below. I closed my eyes and relied on my senses of hearing, smell, and touch to fully experience that moment just off highway 101 near Aberdeen, WA in 2016. Those moments of simply being in the most relaxed state I had been in months. Simply taking that time to relax and be in that moment healed me for a time.

This was a segway into me being able to recognize that I needed to find a better life balance. Being able to take time to relax was one thing I needed to do. If you are like me you can be a very on the go type of person trying to juggle work, social life, personal life goals and relationships, and so much more.

While we spend so much time juggling these different pieces of us we often fail to take the time to relax, recharge and reset. I’ve mentioned this previously in other posts but I feel that getting time to relax is honestly something more people need to do so they can avoid burnout.

As referenced earlier I have found that taking a few minutes in nature helps me to reset and reassess life. I’ve fallen in love with the outdoors and the open space that is often free of unneeded clutter and seems to have a way to untangle the conflicts of my busy life. I am fortunate to live within minutes of open spaces and the ability to get out and wander my way to physical exercise and mental relaxation. Getting outdoors is a simple way to relax and breathe a bit easier.

There are endless ways to relax, getting outdoors is just my favorite way to do so. Other ways I have found to relax include, reading a book, playing games with friends, cooking dinner, eating dinner, walking around the office at work on a break, and many more. These are my ways to relax, not a comprehensive list, but one I hope makes you look into what is relaxing for you.


If you’re not sure how to relax, just take some time and sit on a park bench and look at your surroundings, focus on experiencing the moment with your basic senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. See where you go from there.

Fear.

When you ask my wife what she is most afraid of you’ll hear a number of assorted fears, with a strong emphasis in mice. She hates them enough that I haven’t the words to describe her hate and fear of them. She fears them enough the basic instincts of fight or flight kick in, and she usually aims for the latter. In fact, we are not sleeping at home tonight because of said fear, after seeing a mouse in the house earlier.

I believe there are many out there who can relate to my wife. We all fear one thing or another, at times our fears can cripple us, at other times they can strengthen us and aide us in doing what needs to be done at that time. Please note that I believe that it is okay to be afraid, fear is something I’ve worked through on a very personal level and I recognize that we all view the world from different views.

Many of us can agree that fear is good in a healthy dose, fear of getting a ticket while speeding, or fear of falling while climbing a tree isn’t a bad thing. Finding a balance between adrenaline and fear is a smart balance to find. Not letting fear run your life is the best way to live in peace with what can / could happen any given day. We live a life filled with unknowns, the best thing we can decide is that we will not be afraid of what is coming only to embrace it as it arrives.

I recently read a book by Alex Honold called “Alone on the wall.” where he talks about his mental preparation for some of his larger climbs that have made him famous for being a rock climber who free solos large pitches or climbs on some of the most challenging climbs in the world. He mentions that he can practice the moves needed(while roped in) hundreds of times before the actual climb(without a rope) but still is aware that things might not always go as planned, he has to be mentally ready to shake off the fear and climb onward without fearing what could go wrong. He is well aware of what could go wrong but chooses to focus his energy on what he can do to prepare for things to go the way he needs them to.

This should be a general rule of thumb for everyday life, learning from our experiences and letting them strengthen us for the unknown days ahead instead of spending our days fearing what could go wrong. Be aware that your options are many the outcomes are endless. So find a healthy balance and don’t be afraid to live your very best life.