This is a rouge post. An unplanned one. One that I feel tremendous inspiration to write. It’s a long one, but so necessary to write before I leave on my Kilimanjaro adventure.
This journey has been so freeing. So challenging. So over the top at times I have trouble keeping up. When I started sharing my life I never thought anyone would care. I did it anyways. It was never for anyone else- it was for me. A genuine true account of what I feel. How I have gotten to the place in life I am at. Why I am doing it. Much of this was to create a journal, a diary of sorts so that in those weak moments I can remind myself why I do all that I do- and why it is so important for me to follow my dreams no matter WHO tries to tear me down. This story has been shared tens of thousands of times now- it completely blows me away. It has attracted some of the most amazing people.
Unfortunately it also brings along the opposite end of the spectrum. People who choose to judge, make assumptions, who choose to continue with their excuses and negativity no matter how inspirational the story they are tearing apart is. How I choose to deal with these negative people is a recent challenge that I have been struggling with.
I had an epiphany during my ascent and descent of Mount Humphrey’s in Flagstaff on Friday. The people that have become a part of my life and have been a part of my life due to the energy I have been putting out there are all insanely tremendous.
One of the most ridiculous things I have caught myself saying and hearing other say. MUST BE NICE. You know what – it IS nice. It is nice to work so hard at something no matter what or who is against your cause and overcoming all the negativity, self doubt, pain, struggles, and failures yet still succeeding.
I have said it before and will say it again. I don’t care if you are a vegan, vegetarian, eat roadkill, or bugs. I don’t care if you are into bodybuilding, basketball, basketweaving or backgammon. If you are doing something positive and are passionate about your cause I am there in a heartbeat to support and learn.
For every person with a sorry and weak excuse as to why they aren’t doing what they want to in life, I PERSONALLY know someone who has completely made that person look like a fool. I have created this life full of these INCREDIBLE people. They surround me everywhere I look. I have brought this energy into my life. This IS my life. These are the people that make my life what it is, and it IS NICE!!
For this post that is who I am going to focus on. The people who inspire me. The people who have gone after their dreams regardless of the risk, hard work and toil involved. The people who have MADE IT HAPPEN in life regardless of their circumstances.
I will start with the epiphany I had on Friday.
I was working in Northern Arizona. Some may not know I am a traveling Dental Sales Consultant. YES I have a full time career in addition to what I do on the side. Many people ask this question. It is mindboggling for people to understand how one could manage both and excel at both.
I don’t even think twice about it because I am surrounded by people who do the same if not MORE than I do. Just in the couple of days I was in Flagstaff I met 2 amazing doctors who not only have families but successful dental practices along with a life full of adventure and activity.
One of them is a body fitness competitor along with being a mother, a wife and running a successful practice. The doctor on the bike also has a family, a busy practice, and is an incredible athlete. We ran into him on Friday morning at the trailhead for our Humphrey’s ascent. How on earth were all of us able to take a Friday to go out and do something like this? Some people golf, some shop, some go to happy hour. We climb mountains. We all have the ability to do what we want- you must set yourself up and work smarter. Do more. Be more.
We set out on the trail about 7:30am. I was joined by 2 other extraordinary people who also venomously follow their passions.
The tall trail blazing beastly 48 year old man in the middle is Mike Guernsey. Mike is a colleague of mine. Mike and I recently did the Grand Canyon together. We have a very similar hiking style and pace. We can thank him for these incredible images of our day on Mount Humphrey’s.
Mike has a passion for photography- specifically the kind that captures the nude body from the rear angle. He receives a TON of backlash from pursuing something many think of as taboo. He still does it- regardless of judgement from others. It is something he loves and lives for. Staying true to himself- regardless of what others beliefs are- there is some serious respect to be had for someone who has the guts to pursue his passion. Feel free to inspect Mike’s other work by clicking here. Be aware he uses nudity. To each their own.
My other hiking partner was Marc Sweet from Sly Fox Nutrition. Marc left a successful engineering career to pursue his dream of starting a company that supplies adventurer’s with real, nutritious, grain, dairy and gluten free fuel.
I met Marc at a local farmers market. I too as you all know follow a nutrition plan eliminating all of these things including only using real forms of sugar like honey for my trail fueling needs. Marc suffers from ulcerative colitis. He is an adventure racer. His condition was keeping him from his passions so he began to tinker with snacks of his own while working his full time career.
It got him to the point where he was able to leave the corporate world to take a huge leap into starting his own company. He always has this written on his wrist. DO MORE. Once again, another inspiring story of someone refusing to allow circumstances in life limit their dreams.
One by one we each summited Mount Humphrey’s. Each of us shared our journey as we arrived. We all passed a 77 year old woman about a half mile below the summit that we all gushed about the amazing feat she was attempting to do at her age.
After we took our photos a 60 year old woman summited. She said she does it all the time. Mike spent a little time talking to her while making a tribute to yet another inspirational person who lived life to the fullest:
Dr. Sid Davis. Dr. Davis was in a motorcycle accident about a year ago and lost his life. The bottom right photo shows the 60 year old woman descending with Dr. Davis’ hat in the foreground. Mike brought the hat up to remember Dr. Davis and the life he lived. Word’s can’t describe the feelings we experienced up there. This is why you have to go out and experience life. You never know when it can be taken from you. While these incredible photos and the words I use to try and recreate the experience are vivid- nothing can mimic the real thing.
We began our descent together. The entire way down we each shared our stories of the roadblocks and backlash we experienced while pursing our passions. We all had very different goals in our passions yet shared such a similar mindset since we have all faced and still do face these obstacles on a daily basis. It was one of the most memorable and inspiring descents I have done.
After our hike I had a tour scheduled with the owner of Kahtoola. I needed to get Microspikes for my upcoming Kilimanjaro ascent. I wanted to tour Danny’s facility not only because I heard incredible things about him, his products, and the Kahtoola story but also because he made the gear that Kyle Maynard used to climb Kilimanjaro last year.
Kyle has the most amazing story. He is a quadruple congenital amputee. That has not stopped him from pursing things way beyond what anyone ever said or expected that he could do. If you want to learn about Kyle, you can visit his site here. Kyle climbed Kili with the same company I am going with in 2 weeks.
While touring Danny’s facility I asked him about his story. Why he ended up where he is in life. He told us about a rock climbing trip he took with this brother that led to an accident that could have easily killed him. His family and life flashed before his eyes on that fall. From there he started creating gear that would insure safety on these outdoor expeditions. He started using his parents place and eventually after many years of hard work expanded to the space he now uses and supports his family along with several employees.
On my drive home I reflected not only on the achievement of what we had done but also how it had changed me. Every time I tackle something of this nature it changes me. It makes me a better person- expands my feeling of gratitude. It allows me to leave the negative people in the dust. It also makes me realize all the incredible people that are surrounding me and the amazing stories they have to share.
Ready for more inspiration? Yea… me too.
The bearded man getting felt up on the ice is my husband Chad. We have been together for 15 years. It has been up, down, and all around. We are survivors. We have had so many reasons over the years to give up not only on ourselves but each other. We are a team. The support this man has given me is beyond words. He encourages me to live a life of my own, to go for the things that I am passionate about. I do the same for him.
Chad is also outside of being my husband another amazing example of a person who has lived life going after what he wants. The man at 42 years old still plays hockey 3-4 times a week. He owns his own successful business that he built from scratch called Hey Bartender! This genre is something he is passionate about and has spent most of his life doing. How do you go from being a bartender, to bar manager and eking a career out of that? You take it one step further and start your own company doing what you love.
While building this business for the first few years it was a day to day struggle. There were SO MANY times he thought about letting it go and getting a ‘real’ job. Chad not only ran this business but for the first 4 years he worked several other time consuming job’s just to keep income coming in.
It wasn’t until last year, 2012 after being in business for 6 years he was able to work full time running Hey Bartender. The tenacity it takes to keep that going for 6 years is so admirable. The man works nonstop, but he does so on his terms. He does so with the realization that he has earned this place in life.
I remember along the way many people making comments if this business this was ever going to amount to anything. I have believed in this man more than he has himself most days. There was never a doubt in my mind that he had everything it takes to make it happen. He did, and does on a daily basis.
There are many other things I could gush over with him, but I am biased. Keeping it real with the facts, even if he was not my husband this is a story worth sharing on a inspirational post of this nature. I just totally lucked out that I am married to the man too.
Say hello to my Mom and Dad. This is from my wedding day in San Sebastian Spain almost 8 years ago.
Talk about some ups and downs! They had this free spirited adventurous kid who scares the bejeesus out of them constantly. Never a dull moment! If I am not asking to get my pilot’s license for high school graduation, I am riding a live bull. If I am not riding a live bull, I am taking off up some unknown mountain alone.
There are times that I am sure they wished I would just settle down and be safe- but that is what parents do, worry. Lucky for me the majority of what I choose to endeavor upon they support me with open arms. Sometimes it takes a little more selling on my part than others…
These two have a story of their own that is really inspiring. My Mom was only 17 when she had me. Her and my Dad came from large families with very little. They were living in a small mining town called Bagdad Arizona when I was born. They promised to do whatever it took to move out of the small town into the big city of Phoenix to give me opportunities I would otherwise not have. They did it when I was 7. What they had to do to make that happen is a story all on it’s own.
I watched them both work hard at full time job’s my entire life. My Dad has been at the same job for 30 years. He still get’s up every morning at 4:30am for work. My Mom too has always had a full time job and still does.
They created a life for me and allowed me to go after all the things I wanted and was passionate about. That lead me to becoming the first person in either side of my family to graduate from college. I kept that work ethic that I saw day after day, year after year in both of them.
I have them to thank for instilling work ethic and discipline in me. They lead by example. I followed. They can live the remainder of their lives doing as they please. They earned it. They went for it. They made it happen. I pay them back by living my life to the fullest and taking advantage of every opportunity they worked hard to create for me.
This Motley Crew is me with my in-laws! Each one of them are all inspiring people who have gone after what they want in life.
My mother and father in law Vicki and Harpo have succeeded in being entrepreneurs their whole lives. Chad’s father Harpo owned bowling alleys, nightclubs, bars, and even a charter boat off Marco Island for many years where he met my Mother in law Vicki. They have built a life that they desired off of hard work and never giving up. They are adventurers too! They are always up for any traveling across the world. They are so incredibly supportive of all the things Chad and I do to create the life we want to live. They are solid examples of making your dreams come to fruition.
My sister in law has taken her law career to fighting for conservation efforts across Florida while her boyfriend works in the field on protecting the land as well. They are amazing individuals going for what they are passionate about- the great outdoors!!!
My brother and other sister in law pictured with my adorable nieces also have a story of their own. Mike put himself through college and law school while my sister in law manages her own business in real estate while raising my nieces. They make it happen, on their terms, while also raising two lovely girls.
Those two Labradors pictures are spoiled rotten and any of us would trade spots with them in a heartbeat!
These are even more inspiring people in my daily life.
Top Left: My best friend Angela. I have watched her work so hard at her career and now she is working with Wellthsmart Corporate Wellness getting this company off the ground to help make corporations realize the importance of employee wellness. She is also due to have her first baby girl ANY DAY!!!!
Bottom Left: My friend Terah who is an self made entrepreneur, has a beautiful daughter, is going after her passion of photography. She is also departing to Peru to hike Machu Picchu in 2 days!
Top Middle: My friend Jason who is a champion rower and just started a career working at the Virgina Piper Center for Persons with Disabilities. Jason is one of my most favorite people!!
Bottom Middle: My friend Abel who is a champion heavyweight bodybuilder and a full time Chandler Police Officer. He has spent many of his years in law enforcement protecting our communities with his GUNS!
Top Right: My fellow superwoman and all around extraordinary Celebrity Fitness Chef Jen Arricale! She also manages a career she has built for years while now transitioning into pursuing her dream of being a celebrity chef! She also is a champion figure competitor along with marathoner, hiker and all around fitness BUFF!
Middle Right: My friend Emma who has a full time pharmaceutical sales job but also is an adventurer, vegan chef and writes a blog with her recipes along with getting further education at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She does all this in addition to a successful career!
Bottom Right: My Aunt Brenda! She has been a huge part of my life since the day I was born. She has maintained a successful career as a single mother and has now begun to pursue her passion of starting a business selling her crafts!
I could easily add another dozen people to this post.
This epiphany I had, this realization that I have created a life full of incredible people doing incredible things to surround me with positive, uplifting, encouraging and never ending support has left me with this need to share them with you.
We all have the capacity to do anything we want in life. It takes some serious GUTS to go for what you want. I have a life full of people around me who have shown me, shared with me, and given me everything I need to keep on keeping on.
This post is a tribute to you all- a goodbye before I leave on this journey I am about to depart on and it will surely change me yet again forever. I am more motivated than ever. More gracious than ever. More thankful than ever. I will come back a better person for all of you. THANK YOU!!!
Next stop… Kilimanjaro.