Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A New Look at 'Refuse to Quit'

I've stood on a soapbox for ages on this site and preached my philosophy of Refuse to Quit, that it is a motto I live by, and that it's something that has driven me to accomplish things most people wouldn't consider possible. But ultimately I'm a bit of a liar because while I've made it the foundation of my recreational life I haven't applied it to my entire life, across the board.

When it comes to running I feel like I have no limits. After winning the Laramie 100 I was asked by someone how I could run 100 miles without stopping. After some careful consideration my response was simple, I said "I just never told myself I couldn't". That pretty much sums up my whole running career, as short as it has been. When I decide I want to do something I just do it . . . because I know I can . . . and because I know when I get there that I won't allow anything to stop me (except injury). Well, that's all said and good for running and climbing and peak-bagging, but it doesn't mean much if I don't apply it to my personal and professional life.

Let me preface by saying that I love my job. I do. More important than what I do I appreciate who I work for; not the company, but I have an incredible boss who sincerely cares for my professional career and personal well-being. In that light I'm certain that I'm one of the very rare few who get to work under such amazing management. But I don't find my job duties satisfying enough. I've felt for years that there was something lacking. Until about two years ago I didn't know what that was, however, after considerable mediation it occurred to me that the reason I felt so unfulfilled was because I knew deep at heart that what I do doesn't make a difference. While it helps the company I'm not directly impacting any individual for the better. I've always felt a desire to motivate and inspire others. To a small extent I've seen the fruits of that through my running, this blog, and my relationships with others. But my professional career is such a huge part of my life it has simply become too difficult to sit idly by and watch my professional life go by because I was too scared to do something about it.

A couple of months ago I made a commitment to take my own advice and apply it to my professional career. I began to send out feelers to people I knew about finding opportunities to speak publicly. I am willing to speak to youth groups, adult groups, runners and non-runners alike. My presentation, while steeped in running, has a specific message that applies to everyone. The governing principles behind my lectures are as follows:

  • We don't have to be victims of our circumstances
  • We have to take responsibility for our own lives
  • "I never told myself I couldn't"
  • "Refuse to quit"
I gave my first lecture this morning to a group of high school seniors and several teachers. I was warned in advance that because these kids were part of the special ed program that they would likely be disruptive, sleep, or just not pay attention. I didn't care as I was using this opportunity to polish my presentation. However, what I experienced was slightly surprising to me, but outright shocking to the teachers. For a full hour I spoke to these kids about running, canyoneering, and life. And for that full hour I had every single kids' attention. They responded to my jokes, my stories, and asked some impressive questions. I had a couple approach me after to discuss different aspects of the presentation and both expressed their gratitude for being able to attend. I walked away hooked.

It is now my goal to turn this into a career. I'm going to live my philosophy. I know it will take a while, most likely years to build and that's ok. I've got a good partner to work with, some brilliant ideas, and a dedication to achieve this new goal. I know I can do it because now I'm finally not telling myself I can't. I do have something to offer and am working on an avenue to share it. While I won't be quitting my current job any time soon, hopefully someday this new chapter in my life will be my primary source of livelihood. Only time will tell.

If you are interested in having me come speak to a group of your students, athletes, adult groups, etc, please email me at Thanks so much.


Scott Lynch said...

Wow! Great stuff! Best of luck in chasing your dreams.

Unknown said...

I'm so proud of you to go after what you want. Go get 'em!