The universe is trying to tell me something. I am never drawn to self-help books but for some reason I insisted on Stephen downloading a copy of Jen Sincero’s “You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” for my iPod. I nearly did not make it past the first chapter of platitudes but then it started to resonate with me. I had been letting my awesomeness slide and a pep talk was needed.
I have spent too many years believing myself to be a fraidy cat, teased as a child for being the last to dip toes in the water or not dashing to the toboggan hill for a slide. I give anxiety too much power over myself. Last weekend I woke up in full mental battle mode, wanting to explore the pristine mountains but fretting over unlikely avalanche dangers. It was a classic moment to rally my badass self and stop making issues where they did not belong. It took far too long in a gorgeous San Juan Mountain setting for my grin to emerge and then two days later I was still dealing with the consequences of the anxiety. I’m hereby chucking that image of myself. I am a freight train of heck yeah, I can do this!
The book encourages the old heave ho on the notions that hold us back and warns the reader that not everyone will approve of major life changes. We experienced that when we made a very monumental, and right decision, to walk away from the suburban Oklahoma life. It remains the best decision we ever made. We have an awesome life. But it did cost us a few dings on the self-image. Being a judge was a nice thing. Having respect as a scientist and lawyer didn’t feel bad. There are days I miss the career path I was on, but then I remind myself that the most rewarding days in Oklahoma were the ones I was guiding kids up a granite face in the Wichita Mountains.
If I am honest about what makes me truly passionate and happy it has nothing to do with biotech or lawyering. I love guiding people through experiences outside. I love writing about our experiences outside. I love protecting national parks—the ultimate outside. The book slapped me awake to the fact I am doing those things now and I can do it more. Truly, I had just finished listening to a pep talk on expecting good opportunities to fulfill what makes you happy and was attending a clinic at Telluride Adaptive Sports on transitioning to a lead instructor role when the coordinator walked up and said she needed me as part of her cadre of “badass women skiers” to help out for a day of all-women veteran skiing. Seriously? I’m a badass? Sign me up!
Stephen is one of those individuals that has been smiling everyday of his life. You look at the pictures of his childhood and he always has a goofy grin of utter bliss. I consider him a lucky individual to always see life through the happy glasses. I am wired differently but working to flip my switches. In listening to this book I’ve come to see that life is too short to carry the grudges and doubts any further up my hill. I feel lighter already, like a rock was pulled out of my pack on the ascent of a frozen waterfall. I’ve empowered Stephen to remind me the rock is gone.
The book says to take a leap, expect good things, and build your own happiness. I’m signing up to get certified as a ski instructor for adaptive skiers. We struggled to get enough climbing guide time in Oklahoma to be fulfilled with such, but here we have the luxury of location and time to push ourselves to help others on our beautiful mountains. Before the book I would say I owe it to the universe and my team of guides that have taught me how to play out there. Now I see that I owe it to myself. I’m sure part of it is that I am wired to crave something to study, but truly I want to be the person that gives high fives and dance parties to skiers that otherwise would not get a turn on the hill. That is me.
I’m not sure other books of this genre will make it to my iPod, but this came at exactly the right moment to push me out of a moment of uncertainty. I see a path and have set ambitions. I will write more. I will get my ski instructor certification. I will make the perfect mole. The author suggested that everyone needs to send beams of joy, hope, and fire out of their eyeballs. If you’ve seen my eyes you know they send a definite signal. I hope that the message received is that there is much to be accomplished out there, and a little hug of joy. I think awesomeness is all around us.