April 20th, 2016
[WOMEN: I’m recruiting for Epic Women program. This is a life-changing program that bundles life coaching and a 5-day guided Epic backpacking adventure in my backyard, Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Adventure arrives/departs Jackson Hole, July 24-30. Email me if you’re interested. Time’s running out!]
Lately I’ve been traveling a fair amount to deliver my keynote presentation, “Epic Lessons Learned in the Field.” Most recently, I presented to leaders in the SapientNitro offices in Atlanta and Miami and to tourism leaders in Colorado’s Park County. Next week I’ll present in Casper, WY, before traveling to Denver, and then to Charlottesville, VA.
I love presenting because I get to share some of the most important things I’ve learned. I have coached 115 individual leaders from throughout the U.S. during the last 5 years. I’ve learned so much from these amazing people, and my work with them, and my presentation is an effort to share some of what I’ve learned.
From this work and these amazing leaders, I’ve gleaned 20+ lessons. In a 1-hour keynote, I have enough time to cover only 5-7 of the lessons. Once hired to be a keynote presenter, I talk with promoters of the event, or leaders in the organization, to learn more about what their current challenges are, and from there, I select which lessons to include in the presentation.
One that makes the cut, no matter what, is “Our People Make Us Better.”
Hopefully all of us know that the people in our life, and the quality of our relationships, impact our health and well being. It is worthwhile, then, for us to make sure we have great people, and meaningful relationships, in our life.
What I’ve learned in addition, though, is that when we do something Epic – something that isn’t easy, and that at times is so challenging the outcome is uncertain – the experience causes us to become more than we were before. But as importantly, perhaps more importantly, the people we share that experience with cause us to become better. I know this is the truth! I have experienced this personally, and I have witnessed it with others countless times.
Jim Rohn used to say we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. This is also true. Because the 5 people or groups of people we spend the most time with influence us and our life so much, we ought to pay a lot of attention to who these people are. I encourage leaders all of the time to take stock of their 5, and to consider “breaking up” with any whose values are not in alignment with their own, or with those who are sucking the energy and life out of them. These 5 can help make our life wonderful or terrible.
With a lot of support and help from my husband, and my parents, I started my first company, Yellowstone Journal and YellowstonePark.com in 1994. Over the course of 15 years, our fantastic team and I grew the business, and in 2008, we sold it to Active Interest Media (the owner of Backpacker, Yoga Journal, Climbing, etc.). When we sold the company, by all indications, things for me were great. After all, I had a loving husband, three healthy and wonderful sons, and we had just sold the business we started and built to a company I respected.
But things weren’t all great. Not with me, anyway. I was about 30 pounds overweight, and quite sedentary. I could go on a hike but I was out of shape and paid a big price for it when I did. I was addicted to my gadgets and “always on.” I wasn’t present… I know that sounds cliché, but the truth is I wasn’t present. I was preoccupied and distracted. I was drinking wine on too many week nights. This wasn’t a problem, but I knew it could become one if it continued. And, I was depressed. I actually went to the doctor for depression.
After no fewer than two years of some serious self loathing (usually late at night after Jerry and the boys were fast asleep), and most notably, feeling regret for letting yet another day pass without my taking a step to improve my health, I burned the ships. In early 2009, I hired a personal trainer, and soon after, I gave up all complex carbohydrates (before it was called “paleo”). I made other important changes to my life too. I restricted some of my use of technology (didn’t “let” my phone into the kitchen, dining room or bedroom, etc.) It took a while, but soon, everything got better. I lost 30 pounds in a year, and had more energy and vigor than I had ever had in my life, and That was six years ago when I was a 41-year-old! Everything – and I do mean everything – was better. Is better.
I share this story not to brag, but to illustrate the fact that there is NO WAY I would have been able to transform my life in the way that I did without having the right 5 people in my life.
These people we surround ourself with are that critical. I will always be grateful to my family and my friends, and to the mentors/coaches I had in place at the time.
So, who are your 5? And do you need to make some changes? I challenge you to do this work. It’s for your life, after all.
WOMEN: I’m recruiting for Epic Women program. This is a life-changing program that bundles life coaching, wellness and a 5-day guided Epic backpacking adventure in my backyard, Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Adventure arrives/departs Jackson Hole, July 24-30. Email me if you’re interested. Time’s running out to be a part of this program!