For years, I’ve written the following personal vision on top of my resume:
Live an adventurous life that is meaningful for society, inspirational for those around me, and true to my heart. Share my love for the mountains and the outdoor environment. Help others discover health and happiness, and ways to live better. Be engaged in work that stimulates my skills and strengths, and fulfills my desire to learn, to lead, and to do what’s right.
Yesterday, I spent my last day on a job that was supposed to be in fulfillment of this vision: director of a mountain sports school. Perfect, right? But I found myself behind the computer running the business operations of a $5+ million revenue center. In the past 14 months, I was outside participating and leading adventurous activities less than I had in my previous 40 years in the business of ski and snowboard coaching and outdoor leadership. I was impacting culture and helping others discover health and happiness, yes, but the job took away the best of me for whatever reason, I lost my stimulation and inspiration, and I decided it was time to move on.
In my mind, I was going to give the job two years, enough time to develop new programs, facilitate changes, train and inspire replacements, and re-evaluate. When I stood up to speak at the returning staff orientation meeting last week, I realized I was a shell of who I am. I remembered that life is precious and too important to waste time not feeling “like me” (especially after enduring family struggles and losses in previous months and years). Because I didn’t make it through my personal goal of two years, and because I have let down those who believed in me, I have been dealing with feelings of remorse, second-guessing, and self-doubt.
But today, like other days in my past when my mind doubted my purpose and my capability to succeed, I took to physical challenge. I said to myself, “I am a person who has competed in triathlons; rode my bicycle over 200 miles in a day, twice; rode on a mountain-bike tandem with my wife about 500 miles in a week and over the continental divide twice; received advanced degrees from prestigious institutions, in engineering nonetheless, and built successful businesses; and I have endured the heartbreak of tragic events and the struggles of people close to me. I can get through this! I am a warrior!”
So, I got up this morning and in the space of one hour, I did 100 pull-ups, 100 weighted barbell squats with 225 pounds, 100 push-ups, and 50 dips. Now, this might not sound that great for some of you. But, I am almost 56 years old and I have spent the last 14 months behind a desk or traveling in a car, my body fat percentage has doubled, my weight has increased, my stress-level was off-the-charts, and my cardio conditioning is the worst its ever been!
But today, I am back in the game! Looking for my next work, my next ways to fulfill my personal vision, yes, but realizing again that I can do anything I decide, anything that I want to do! For me, there is something in my sense of integrity that requires me to be my authentic me, inspiring others through real-life, walk-the-walk, personal inspiration and self-discovery, global impact through local action, and role-modeling positivity.
Thanks to the people in my life who continue to inspire me!