What does it mean to give’r? To give it your all and go for it? You have to first be willing to give up and let go of all the BS that holds you back… the fears, the insecurities, all the reasons NOT to do what you most want to be doing. It’s easy to figure out what you want to do. The hard part is seeing all of the things that stand in your way. It’s a simple thing to do, but its the furthest thing from easy. What are you really willing to give up to chase a dream (or three)?
Five years ago, my life was drastically different from what it is now. I was eight years deep in a career that never fulfilled me. Don’t get me wrong, life was good. It was easy. I was mostly happy. Something was missing though. I knew there was so much more I wanted to be doing. I wanted adventure. I wanted to live every day in a way that didn’t leave me wishing I had the opportunity to be doing something else with my time.
Growing up, music was always my passion. As I got older and tried to be more of a ‘grown up’, I lost touch with that passion. My guitar was never far from reach, but it didn’t get much attention. Then I discovered climbing. Climbing was the outlet for me, it become my focus. I passed days at my desk, mindlessly manipulating spreadsheets and thinking about the next climbing adventure, or that crux move on my local project. Every now and then, I’d get inspired and write some music. When I wasn’t thinking about climbing, or the rare moments when I was actually engaged with my work, I would simply write. Sometimes songs, sometimes poetry, sometimes just streams of thoughts. I never had a shortage of hobbies and I had more than enough time to pursue those hobbies. Yet, spending five days a week stuck behind a desk left me yearning for something more. I was happy, but not fulfilled.
At some point I decided I could use my free time to turn some of my hobbies into more meaningful work. I thought about becoming a climbing instructor on weekends. I just wanted to be more involved and give back to the community that I got so much from. I signed up for an AMGA Single Pitch Instructor course. I was immediately hooked. I took my exam later that season. Then I signed up for a Rock Guide Course. After taking my first real guide training, I knew that this was what I needed to be doing. Three years later I am making my living as a full-time, professional mountain guide. I live mostly on the road and now work around the world. From alpine guiding in the Tetons and Cascades, to backcountry ski guiding in Japan. I have three final exams to go and I will be a fully-licensed IFMGA mountain guide. Five years ago, it was all just a distant dream. Yet, I took the first step. And then the next. And many more since. It has cost me more than I ever thought it would. Time, money, relationships, an old way of life are all things I have had to give up again and again. It has been the hardest I have ever had to work for anything, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Now that I have seen what it takes to achieve one goal, I can’t help but go after the even bigger one. Music. It’s no longer about ‘making it’, but rather, about pouring everything I have into developing my craft as an artist and performer. It’s about doing it because you don’t know how not to do it. And learning to love the process and journey of getting there, wherever there is.
Two separate dreams, both of which once seemed unattainable on their own, let alone together. Some days I think I’m absolutely insane for trying, but then I remind myself of how far I’ve come. And I know what I’m willing to give up to do what I love most. And that’s what it means to give’r. Find your vision, and go after it, with everything you got. The rest will fall into place. I hope. Either way, I know I don’t want to end up on my way to the grave wishing I had tried. I want to know I did, regardless of how it ended up.