While my path in life has in no way been linear. All roads have led me to look/experience the lack of equality that exists straight in the face. This is regardless of the industry I have worked, as a solo female founder navigating the capital landscape, as a philanthropist and activist speaking out against gender-based violence, and in every boardroom I have sat in.
It's amazing to look back and remember those moments that set your life in a new direction. I often say Adventure changes lives. I say so because it changed mine over a decade ago when curiosity peaked and I decided to take an indoor rock climbing class in LA. Little did I know, it would set me off to climb some of the world's highest peaks and on a journey of self discovery, growth, and entrepreneurship.
My first stop was a solo attempt of Mt. Blanc. In the end, it was a failed attempt due to altitude sickness in a 24 hour push and I ended up having a massive fall when I was just about to rejoin the lower trail that resulted in surgery in October. YET, the biggest learning was the whole time from the fall to post recovery of the surgery, I was always focused on the RISE!
Adventure has the power to change lives. I know so, because it changed mine. There was a time where I could not run a mile, where I had never spent a night under the stars, where my perception of what was possible was in a sense limited. Luckily, slowly but surely the beauty of nature and adventure made it’s way into my life in my 20s but really in my mid to late 20s when I was overstressed with business school, working full time, and had multi-hour commutes. Adventure became my way to preserve balance, sanity, and creativity.
The journey of a founder is not a linear path by any means, and the juggling act is continuous. So what happens when all lights are green and funding is in and/or traction and revenue high and it’s time to grow and grow fast? One thing is for certain, don’t lose sight of your culture when approaching growth.
Our stories -- layered with meaning and inflection points that have brought us to what we are compelled to do today -- have great power. In our social interactions, stories create opportunities to relate to one another, loyalty, and memorability. The same is true in business, and knowing one's story is vital when setting off on building a startup.
Imagining life as a blank canvas can feel incredibly liberating… “wow you can create ANYTHING you want!”… but also terrifying…“holy cow it’s blank, what should my painting look like?” Lately, I have been reminded to go back to my own blank canvas and encouraged to revisit what type of masterpiece I want to create, not just for this next year, but for my life.
The mountains have become my teacher, my soul quencher, my inspiration to keep exploring and push limits. Yet in climbing, the journey up the mountain is not without its challenges, trials, and doubt as to whether continue onward. Lately the mountains have been the constant reminder as to why we must keep climbing in life, even when the going gets tough, when the storm sets in, and the top of that mountain seems out of reach.
There are two ways of looking at life through a “what if” lens. There is the “what if” the worst possible scenario comes about through every risk I am considering to take lens, or there is the “what if” I just shut off my head for a split second and allow for some awesome things to materialize because I took risks in life lens.
It was indeed the hardest physical challenge I have ever endured. My heart is full with gratitude for being able to experience beauty and wonder in such a pure form. The top of the world was even more spectacular than I could have ever imagined! A cause gave me inspiration and fueled my determination to go for a second attempt of this formidable peak.
I do not belong in a box. I just plainly do not fit in one. I have always known this about myself. There are so many aspects that make up who I am that I would struggle to lose any part of that in my work, my relationships or in my passions. Yet, I have struggled at different times in my life by feeling I was putting myself in one in order to move forward.