I had already gone down the path of following some of my dreams. I'd moved to Colorado in 2001 where my passion for climbing could thrive. I'd bought a house, and I started a business. But something was holding me back. I had an addiction to nicotine that was controlling my life.
It started 11 years prior while in Ranger School during my time in the U.S. Army. Ranger School is one of the Army's most difficult combat leadership schools. With distinct phases of training in the mountains of north Georgia, the deserts of Texas and New Mexico, and the swamps of Florida, all 101 days were challenging - physically, mentally, and emotionally. Simulated combat patrols consisted of moving almost all day and all night long, and each 8-10 day field exercise allowed for only a total of 8-10 hours of sleep. And, that was sleep that came in 5 minute increments here and 6 minutes there.
To combat the intense fatigue, I started "dipping" - using smokeless tobacco. I continued dipping on a subsequent tour in Kuwait as we worked 20+ hour days for weeks on end. What started out as a "tool" to stay awake became a habit I thought I could "always quit." Eventually it became an addiction that guided my every action.
Years later after leaving the Army and corporate America, I was sitting in my home office reflecting on my life. With my heart on the table and finally a willingness to be open, vulnerable, and honest with myself, I started crying. I had just written down all of the things I wanted from my life - finances, relationships, health and fitness, and professional work. I realized that none of my dreams were aligned with my nicotine addiction. My first goal that year was to get help.
Today, everything I do is aligned with the vision I have for my life - from where I live, to what I do for work; from my annual climbing expeditions, to the people I spend my time with. I choose to create my life based on my own dreams and aspirations - not based on fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt. In these turbulent times, we all need a vision. We all need a plan. We all need a higher purpose to guide our decisions on how we live our lives.
In January, we will be conducting our 5th consecutive annual goal setting seminar called Create Yourself. Hundreds of people have changed their lives as a result of this program. All through the year I receive emails and phone calls from people who completed their Masters Degree, got married or divorced, changed jobs, started a business, bought a new home, created a new financial plan, and more. They did it themselves. They found the strength in themselves. The seminar was a trigger and a tool for them to get there. I would like to share that experience with you.
Make this the year you create yourself.