This past year has been a bit of a whirlwind for me! I’ve experienced successes and failures, joy and pain, growth in my brand, and moments of being stagnant. I also had the opportunity to visit some new places and do some cool shit. Two that I can think of right off hand are flying in a helicopter over Big Cypress National Preserve and looking for archaeological sites, and enduring a brutal Spartan race in the mountains near Lake Tahoe.
This past year has also been a great opportunity for learning. The amazing experiences that I’ve had, as well as the incredible guests that I’ve been able to connect with, have brought forth many life lessons that have really struck a chord with me. And these are lessons that I will take with me. Not just into this coming year, but for the rest of my life as well.
So for this post, I’m going to talk about three key takeaways from some of my experiences during 2019. And these are in no particular order:
1. Using fear to my advantage
This comes from my conversation with Patrick Sweeney. He talked about different scenarios of times when people have crumbled in the face of fear, and times when they used fear as fuel to propel them towards what they want to achieve. It was during my visit to Lake Tahoe when I had the opportunity to sit down with him. I was there for the Spartan Media Fest, which was a gathering of other podcasters and content creators who talk about physical and mental resiliency. The festival was held two days prior to the Spartan Race World Championship.
Though prior to going out to Tahoe, I was feeling some fear myself, and that fear was imposter syndrome. When I saw the list of attendees, I felt as though I would be a bit out of my depth. Most of those attending were much farther along in their content-creating journey than I was, and some of their feats were absolutely amazing!
Some of them have set world records, done TED talks, had followings that were literally thousands of times larger than mine, and they were highly sought after. And when I would reach out to them to see if they’d be interested in joining me on my podcast. It was usually their assistant, or some other member of their team, who would reply back to me. Whereas I’m an independent podcaster, who plays the role of writer, host, assistant, editor, publisher, and marketing manager for The All-Around Adventure Podcast.
So admittedly there were times when I thought to myself. Should I even go to Tahoe? Do I even rate to be among this group of heavy hitters? And the reality was, that I was afraid. So to counter this, before I let these moments of self-doubt go too far. I hopped on my laptop, RSVP’d saying that I was attending the festival, and booked my plane ticket. Now I had no choice, I had to follow through.
And I was glad that I went! Not only did I get to visit beautiful Lake Tahoe, a place that I’ve never been to before. But I also had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and have some great conversations. I’ve mentioned Patrick Sweeney, who almost lost his life to leukemia. Only to go on to become a full-time adventurer. I also talked to Joel Runyon, who ran an ultramarathon on all seven continents. There was also Chris Waddell, who went to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, despite being paralyzed from the waist down.
Sometimes we have a tendency to let fears build up in our minds, and we make them appear far more formidable than what they actually are. But when we foster courage and take on those fears, we realize that they aren’t that big of a deal. And we wonder why we were even afraid in the first place!
2. Seek out challenges
This is another takeaway that I got from my time in Lake Tahoe. As part of the Spartan Media Fest, I was also invited to participate in a Spartan Super race that was set up just for the attendees. The Super race is 8 miles long and has 25 obstacles, making it a pretty formidable endeavor. The physical training regimen that I was doing prior to being invited, consisted mostly of weight training with a focus on hypertrophy. And I did very little in the way of cardio training. Also, I received my invite to the festival and the race just about one month prior!
Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. Not only had I done very little running lately, but the environment was going to be completely different. Lake Tahoe sits at over 6,000 feet in elevation. Whereas where I live in Florida, I’m at sea level! Regardless, once again before letting too many thoughts of self-doubt run through my mind, I signed up for the race. Now I was locked in, and it was time to get to work.
I put together a running plan that gradually increased to further distance runs as I went. And about a week before my flight to Tahoe, I completed a nine-mile run! Not too shabby for someone who hasn’t run in a long time, if I do say so! Still though, what awaited me was going to kick my ass nonetheless.
Not only was I at a much higher elevation during the race, but I also had to contend with a drastic change in temperature. Three days before the race, I was at home in Florida with a temperature of about 90 degrees. But up on top of that mountain in California… it was 40 degrees with a wind chill below freezing! Needless to say… I felt it!
The race was definitely tough, and I was hurting by the time I crossed the finish line. And I certainly didn’t finish in a very graceful fashion, but I finished. Once again, not bad for someone who hasn’t run in a while, if I do say so. Despite the pain and the ungraceful run, I felt good for having finished it. And that’s the value of seeking out challenges, we’re reminded of what it is that we’re capable of.
Not only that but we also set ourselves up to better face the inevitable challenges that life throws at us. In this day and age, we have the luxury to avoid challenges and be comfortable if we want. Instead of having to hunt and forage for our own food, we can push a few buttons and someone will bring a ready-to-eat meal to our door. We can also take elevators and escalators so we don’t have to walk as much. However, I feel that when we seek comfort, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. Because when life decides to send challenges our way, we won’t have the tools necessary to react accordingly.
But when we seek out challenges ourselves, we build up both mental and physical strength to counteract life’s challenges. That’s what I believe draws many people to do things like Spartan Races, at least it was for me. Because I know that tough times are ahead of me, whether I like it or not. Therefore, I intend to be ready!
3. Help others win
Whenever I invite a guest to join me on the podcast, there’s one important thing that I tell them. Obviously, when inviting them to come on my show I’m looking to create content in order to grow my brand. Which is very beneficial to me. However, it’s not just about what my guests can do for me. I also must consider what I can do for them. Therefore, I let them know that I’ll leave a segment towards the end of the episode for them to talk about their blogs, books, products, etc. So they can have the means to promote their own content.
Once again, many of the guests that I’ve had on my podcast have much larger followings than I do. But my podcast is still unique, and it gives them an opportunity to tell their story in a way that they may have not been able to before. It also allows them to share their insights and their expertise on various matters. Which they, in turn, can share with their own audience to benefit them. So I aim to make it a win-win situation.
Sometimes I notice a negative view of people who’ve gained success. Some people seem to think that they must’ve walked over other people in order to get to where they are. But based on what I’ve observed, that just isn’t the case. They form symbiotic relationships with others, and they help each other to grow and become better. And I’ve also found that they’re very willing to help others, especially those who are starting out because they’ve been there.
They were once beginners too. So they understand what it’s like to be starting out and having to struggle to gain momentum. Sometimes the path to achieving what you want in life can be treacherous. And you don’t get further down that path by pushing other people back. You get further by banding together, charging forward, and crushing obstacles that are in the way.
So ultimately, don’t be afraid to ask for help, but also make yourself open to being helpful. I will also say this… don’t keep score. Don’t go help someone and then use that as leverage to get them to help you in return. That is not a sustainable way to form symbiotic relationships. So keeps these things in mind as you continue down the path to achieving what you want. Because I can guarantee that you will need some help along the way.
To wrap it up
There were certainly many life lessons and takeaways from this year. But when I decided to write about this topic, these were the ones that came to mind. I’d say 2019 was definitely an interesting year for me. But I’m certainly looking forward to kicking ass and continuing to bring great things forth in 2020!
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And until next time; be safe, happy travels, and always move forward!