Funny how discomfort is all in the mind.
Hot, cold, crowded, alone, needed or in-need...
The blessing or the burden depending solely on our attitude.
My most recent shoot with Columbia Sports Wear was in the scorching desert of Joshua Tree National Park. With temps at a nearly unbearable 113•F by midday, our crew endured chapping sun, shredding scrambles up and down sandstone boulders, and thrilling exposure on all kinds of bizarre rock formations. Leading from the front, as the super-human mountain goat he is, photographer Tim Kemple scaled unprotected free-climbs at absurd heights to capture some incredible moments in this unique desert. Watching him play so fearlessly was an inspiring reminder that our obstacles are only what we perceive them to be. To step into the challenge, the heat, the difficult climb, with freedom to enjoy and latitude to learn, these obstacles quickly melted into opportunities for creativity and exploration.
Working in the elements is a part of what I do. As a coach, a wilderness guide and a sport & fitness model, how well I do my job is dependent on my having the right mindset. A strong and productive mental game can turn any ridiculous situation into something fun, bringing together the people involve and creating a story worth laughing about. And with this crew I laughed a lot! The most memorable moment for me was caught in this last image. As I enjoyed the final colors of sunset on a 60ft ledge at twilight, with no climbing protection or clue how to get down, I found a sense of calm embracing the unknown, and for the moment, being comfortably uncomfortable.
I am grateful for brief and meaningful encounters with energizing people, like Tim, whom have briefly stepped into my life and fortified my mental game. I want to always remember that what matters, in all facets of life, isn't the hype of looking good at what you do, but rather the spirit of how we approach the process of doing it, and the impression we leave on the people we encounter along the way.