Persevering through Failure with Melissa Arnot Reid
Hey every day's going I'm chase welcome, to another episode of the Chase Jarvis live show here on creative life you guys know this show is where I sit down with amazing humans, and today. Is no exception in fact you're. Gonna be very impressed with this guest she is one of the world's top mountain, climbers she. Has summited, Everest more, times than, any other Western woman, and is. The first American woman to summit, and, descend. Everest. Without, supplemental, oxygen my, guest is Melissa. Arnaud, read. I'm. So happy you're here I'm so psyched to be here thank you of. Course this is a long time in the making it was like maybe even here. It is I had, to be with you out in the mountains and dirty and climbing, to the high altitude summit, of something I'd agree to come that's true it's true. So. For. The folks at home I think you. You're familiar to show but. There's a long. Sort, of history and trajectory, for the show around people, who, have done amazing things and a lot of different disciplines, but. Also around. A, theme, of people who've made those living in the life doing what they love and I've. Wanted to have you on the show for many reasons one, of which is obviously. That climbing a mountain is this. Classic metaphor. For, life classic, classic. Metaphor for life but how. How. In the hell we're just gonna orient, yeah, orient the world how in the hell did you decide to walk uphill slowly, mm-hmm. Professional. How. Do you decide mean and it's. Not an exaggeration to say you've dealt with life and death on a regular, basis in that profession, we'll get to that a little bit later but, there's. Folks at home who one who believe, that their dream is. Completely. Unattainable and people would laugh at them but you literally walk uphill slowly for a living so hey, how did you craft that that, dream, and then what are some of the things you did to get there yeah definitely so I grew up in southern Colorado with two, authentically.
Hippie Parents which, I mean, authentically. Hippie and their biggest dreams for me and my sister were that we were gonna live out of the back of our trucks in ski all year that was like their highest aspiration, and hope for us so, I really, had that influence. From an early age but I like all teenagers fully, rebelled and I went to college in, Iowa. And got, it you were clean business degree, yeah I also, got an apartment and a stable just show for Proctor and Gamble and yeah, and I, just totally rebelled against my parents was like this is not the life I want I don't want to be outside and be dirty and all this and at, some point as I was sort of living this life that I had, imagined, somehow was different, from my parents and I don't I'm not going to be like them I came, back to visit them in the, mountains and I saw. The, mountains for the first time and I, had truly never seen them because I was surrounded by them so much growing up yeah and I had that inspiration, that I think so many people have felt when they see nature, in a first, time sort of way whatever that power. That it holds is and I, immediately knew that I needed to get, into the mountains and learn as much as I could and for the first time in. My life I found something, that was. Athletic. But. Non-competitive. It was this like collaborative, activity, and I'm just I'm like the anti competitive person, if you try to race me I'll just stop and watch you and like you have that like it's just not competitive, you know so but I'm super driven, internally. With myself and being better but, I like working together with somebody towards a shared goal yeah and so climbing, offered me that and I started learning how to climb I learned how to rock climb first, and ice climb and then eventually got into glacial mountaineering, and I, live now in Washington, State I started, out working as a guide on Mount Rainier which, is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 and a great place to learn all of the skills for climbing bigger mountains and I grew, up rather poor, and I didn't think I was ever gonna have the opportunity, to travel in the world and get places and I, realized suddenly you, know mountains are this passport, to seeing cultures. And places and people that I don't know anything about and, I fully, went, in all in and I, definitely lived in the back of my truck I definitely like counted, pennies to buy ramen, or like Totino's, pizza from, super Walmart and my, dad was so proud of me like all, of his dreams of sharing shining moment shining moments yeah so that's like the path that ultimately led, me to what now I think is easy is a high accolade, career if you're like wow you're so amazing and I'm like if you, knew the. Number of days that, I have, chosen, to, sleep. In the back of my truck that I have the hotel rooms I've cleaned to you. Know make minimum wage job, that I could work in the early hours and then still be able to go and climb and do the things I wanted to do it's. Not such an obvious path, yeah and it's. Definitely been a passion path though for sure and that's what's kept me on this course well it's. Such an extraordinary to I mean to have you mention accolades to have, achieved. Two things the world, records the firsts the most, that all.
Those Things you will yes. My. Points. Shades. About it right career it's like you have to try not to hit them I'm, trying. But. A little bit to dig. Into the why so, you went, back and you saw the mounds for the first time the folks at home are going like my, goal is totally unreasonable yeah and I, think a big disconnect is some people think that they start. Something and they have to see all the way to the finish line in order to start it or is. It was it for you is it a matter of just seeing, like oh I want to pursue this because I'm having fun like which, of those two or some combination was, it for, you you speak, from, a place of knowing, in just the way that you phrase that question because I know you know, what, the catch of actually. Accomplishing, big things is and the catch is that you, need, to have this long-term focus, with. A really, short term goal, set and you have to have equal parts conviction. In pursuing, what it is and willingness to totally, let it go at any moment and that is like and impossibly. Think. About like developing in a relationship, you, can't be very, successfully, in a relationship where you're like all in but also totally willing to like say goodbye and be cool with either thing and that's what chasing. Big things requires there's, a like mental hiccup, somewhere that has to happen there where you realize. That the small step that you're taking right now again pardon, the cliches cuz it's gonna this is, we're. Gonna it's gonna be a cliche written I'm sorry. But we, are going you know you take this one step you climb this one pitch. This one peak this one small. Summit that, gets you ultimately, to, being able to climb the big mountains and you. Know you're always kind of doing it for this greater goal but, you still are putting in the toil of that, sort, of it's, so literal in climbing, mountains it is and it's so I mean, here's the thing I think about climbing that I the, biggest thing. That it's given me it's. Given me the ability to be totally, a control freak in general life that has completely.
Out Of control and I, can't control the things that are happening so it's like welcome, to being humbled just, minute by minute and just, having to accept it and then like joyfully, choose to be humbled, yeah cuz it's not like we, don't really joyfully, choose to be humble. Running. Around volunteering no I mean like people that do I admire, them and I'm also confused by them because it's like real hard to be in that position but you, know you're pursuing that and and, you know you're working towards something so big and when people are like oh I have this big goal I don't know or I people. Say to me all the time oh I would never be able to go climb Everest and I'm like you know what in this, temperature controlled, room where I just had like a delicious lunch neither would I because. You don't go from here to there and you're in your mind you're going from here to there and there's a lot that happens in between so. Did. I know, with myself and, a, handful, of other folks that have, decided, to pursue things that might. Have been perceived. By most as irrational you might know good luck with that you're gonna make hundreds yeah. How. Do you like how did people respond, when you said that you know I want to you, know leave this, stable, job. To. Go you, know walk uphill slowly how does that, what. Did people say and did you feel distracted or discouraged, or, empowered. Or both or neither how the Frick did you figure. Out how to make money. Walking, uphill slowly I would say didn't, really figure it out it, like sort of figured itself out in some way and I do think that like when you're in, you. Know I had no back-up plan I grew. Up economically. You know rather in the tight confines of a CENTAC ly hippie family, where. We just didn't have extra as my sister and I didn't have the support system once we were adults we were like fully on our own and so I knew I could survive financially and, I knew that that might mean different things I wouldn't necessarily be thriving but I would be okay so I could put that aside as a worry and then, the other side of it is that you. Know for every naysayer, that. You can find that says like this isn't gonna work I, accidentally. Found myself. Intentionally. Surrounding, myself but, with people who thought what I was doing was so cool and, for. Every one of the naysayers you can find somebody that thinks oh you're so badass with what you're doing and like living in the back of your truck is just not, that sexy but when I guarantee, when I like introduced that people are like I wish I could just you know I mean this is like pre hashtag, van life and everything's like there was no hashtag, anything, and so it wasn't like I mean, I'm sleeping, in like motel 8 parking, because generally you wouldn't get harassed for like sleeping in the back of your truck there and I had like homemade curtains so like no one would know it was there and I almost got abducted once from the back of my truck and like there's a lot of unsexy.
Moments, In it but. You could always find somebody to be like yeah. Like fist bump your core you know I'm like oh this. Is core like do. You really want to see under the covers of course yeah cuz then there's this whole other side of you. Know. Which I think we're much more exposed to in our current lives where we have exposure, to glossy beautiful highlight. Reels of everybody's life through all of the social, media aspects and things were exposed to where you do. Just see the sexy side of it and it is like people are really curating. That existence, to be this like thing. And I actually, think the most beautiful. Parts that or the non curated, parts the parts that just happened. I mean I can tell you some of my happiest. Moments. In my life have. Similarities. Whether, they were achieving. A big goal that I'd worked really hard towards in this you, know latter part of my more successful, externally. Validated, successful. Life I felt. As equally, as elated and happy as I felt. When. I was. 14. Years old, waking, up at 4:00 a.m. riding. My bike to a hotel where. I opened, the continental breakfast, cleaning hotel rooms and then closing, a health club gym at night to make money to save to move out of my house and be able to be independent, I feel, equally, as happy working hard towards a goal and so that's been like something that's really tied it all together was that a is, that a skill, that you developed, as a young person to cope with the reality, of your parents not providing. Sort of like this on-ramp. To, knowledge. As if like was there a self destined thing weird. Thing or was it was it is it scared, it was a fear or was it joy, yeah. You know not fear so I will say that I have all of the greatest, things, in my life I've not pursued out of fear almost everything I've pursued out of fear of losing something or fear of not achieving something has been vapid, and ultimately. When I get there it's like well I don't, like this this feels gross and you reroute, myself I think, it has to do less. With like well. Equal parts with necessity. Of what I needed to do when I knew was required. Me and, sort of this like admiration. That I had for how hard my parents work just to get by because they made a choice they're smart. Capable people, that could have taken high-paying, corporate jobs and had of super, posh existence, but they, wanted to be in the mountains they wanted to you. Know like maybe, fly under the radar of the government perhaps or whatever so, there was some necessity, maybe of them on that part but, they wanted to be happy, and, they wanted my dad I remember he did construction when I was a little very, little kid and he said I do. This because I, can, go work for a month and I can spend two months watching my daughter's grow up and if I went and punched a clock every day I'd miss all your whole lives and, though. I didn't know it I was gaining this admiration, for hard work and I see that in myself and my sister and it's, something that just was. Obvious, like you have to do it and it comes, actually, at a cost it comes with this like very. Conscientious. Resentment, that I have towards. People. That you, know we're born into different circumstances, and and the, you. Know pardon, the categorization because, not everybody fits into it neatly but like the trust fund set that is hashtag. Man life now and is this super like sexy, curated, side I was living out of the back of your truck because. You also know that like at any moment you could go get an apartment there's a very different reality when you're like it's, all in and, I think that that. Willingness. To be all-in has been the most important. Consistent. Theme in my life it's that, knowledge. That once I go all-in it's. On me, to make this work yeah or to reroute and take, it as it comes it's, like Tony. Robbins talks, about you want to take the island burn the boats yeah, totally. Yeah. You can't well, what's interesting about that metaphor, exactly, is so for, you, know and. Maybe we don't talk about this right now but for, me to be successful, with the biggest sort, of physical, achievement, of my life of trying to climb Everest without using supplemental, oxygen somebody. Had told me early on you cannot have oxygen, with you because you will use it and I was, like you don't know how much more power I have I can to have it with me and it, took me eight years and every single one of those previous tries I had, the option of oxygen and I always used it and when, I was successful, it was absolutely, 109, option. That was true it was like there are some areas, where you got to burn the boats. That's. Incredible. So there's a lot of different ways I want to go right now I want to go straight to that because you win sorry I know no it's, incredible, and I've had like.
If. So folks, are both listening to this as a podcast and some folks are watching it capture. The video. The. Woman that you see before you here or that you're listening to. Like. Is, certifiable. Like bone-crushing, badass, and, I've. Had the good privilege, of climbing. Mount Kilimanjaro, mm-hmm. With, you i under. Your guidance how about that with you hi I do I. Don't know how much guidance you need it I really felt like you're a co climber, Oh God. But. There we go trust me I would tell you if you okay I'm not being nice I'm not known for my nice nice oh I don't I didn't even see him pull many punches. But. The. The. Shear, goal. So if you're a mountain climber okay the, goal of climbing, the. Biggest most, dangerous be core one of the most weeks, in the world is. Like. An extraordinary, goal mm-hmm and a. To, have, set, that goal like what what made you want, to go as big as you absolutely, possibly because there's a lot of people who climb mountains myself, included I'm really happy just to climb these volcanoes yeah well, there's an arraylist yeah there's a beautiful things that I had zero. Desire. In fact I've had opportunities, to go to Everest and turn them down but. What makes you say yes to that most. Massive, goal that you can say yes to in that, industry first, question second, question is. Go. Back over, and over and over mm-hmm yeah, I think it's really hard for people to understand and at least half, of the people who are watching. This or listening to this, probably. Had a moment of like oh I rolling like huh Everest, you know because we hear about it in a kind of gross way a lot of times in the media where oh you know any rich person can just go pay their way there and I. Think that that is. Maybe true, I don't actually fully subscribe, to that having been a person who's been a lot of life there I would argue with, that but, it's. Also who, are we in. Our infinite, wisdom to look at other people's motivations, and say that they're okay or not and I think one of the beautiful. Parts about climbing, big mountains and big mountains in the world in general is the, world belongs to us all regardless. Of what your motivation, is and regardless if I agree with it or not so if you are just like a super wealthy oil executive, and you've never climbed a single mountain your life and you want to go to some of Everest, by. Being human on this planet and, also by like whatever. Economics, reported, to you and a bunch of other things that have to go into that you can do it and, who might alike shame you for your reasons. Yeah but for me it. Wasn't good you're, so good at framing this. Yeah. Yeah. You know the bird you. Know this person that we're all like hate and where they go is neveress just filled with people that are caring aren't Sherpas just caring everybody on their backs to summit and it's like I mean. Okay. So if you've listened to this, point I hope you think I'm a reasonably, intelligent person I've spent about, ten years of my life on Everest and if I was reasonably intelligent like there has to be something more there right I can't just and also, like the ego accolades you get from climbing yours are just, not sustainable enough, to, get you through like the negativity.
As If that was really what it was like for. Me going there the first time it was about a job you know I work as a professional mountain guide and I had the opportunity to, go and guide a client, in one of the most weird, circumstances. That I ever had been put in my, client, was, a, climber. Who had summited all of the Seven Summits already including, Mount Everest and he, wanted to go back and climb again and he, wanted me to be an assistant guide partly. Because of my guiding, skills that he'd seen on other Peaks probably because of my medical knowledge and I, was, like no I can't do that and he said well what would it take and I said I'd have to work with another guide and he said great then I'll hire two guides and he. Was in the position that he could do that he. Also had like some deeply philanthropic, reasons, for wanting to be there knowing, that Everest was this incredible, billboard that catches all of our attention whether were climbers or not and he, wanted to capitalize on that from a business side, of things and, raise, funds, and awareness for the, global. AIDS crisis, and product read and working with Bono and Bobby driver so. I was suddenly, in a position where I'm not being the philanthropic woman, I'm just a mountain guide like I'm here to make sure that the knots are safe and to, also learn and have this opportunity to climb the biggest mountain in the world and that first time I never I, didn't. Go thinking, this is where my life is gonna be this is gonna define me but, as soon as I was there I realized, that the. People in, the, area surrounding Everest all, of, the different various tribes one, of which is the Sherpa tribe it's a tribe of people it's also we, refer to Sherpa as a job often and that's, a little bit incorrect it's Porter is the job Sherpa, is the last name and a tribe of people but. The Sherpa people shared. Something, that I. Saw. Is very familiar from, watching, my parents work hard growing up you know and, something I'd seen in myself and it was this like work. Ethic and just drive. An ability, to be okay in nature and not try to like conform nature to you but to like work. With nature this is what we have today so yeah, exactly. Yeah and then this is what we're gonna do with it and and figuring it out and, I knew that I wanted to go back to that place so, I was successful. My first time guiding. And climbing, on Everest, i sama did it. Was not, uncomplicated. There was a lot of things going on that year the Olympic torch was being carried to the summit from the Chinese side by. A group. Of climbers from Beijing and they put all these restrictions on the Nepal side and said you can't climb we were constantly told no no no and then all of a sudden one day really yes but, we didn't have enough time left in the season to climate eyes and everybody was climbing on same day and it was just like crazy yeah, and I left with, more questions than answers and that's sort of my barometer, of how. I put myself in new experiences, is curiosity. Is my biggest driver and so if I can learn something I'm, gonna go and learn something and I have to tell you the dead truth of Everest for me every. Year that I went back and had a different experience whether it involved summit or not I found. Myself with either more curiosity, or a satiated. Curiosity, but a whole new type, of curiosity, and that's what kept bringing me back is just trying to see. There's all these questions I want answers to and I believe I can get them but I must be persistent, yeah is that is that well. It's probably reasonably, easy to translate, that into a metaphor, but what is a. Let you do the work here okay what, is the metaphor that that provides. For others like you're doing it on a mountain you need to go back everything you do you learn a little bit more and some provide answers and closure other provide more questions is, there some sort of a quest thing or like what's yeah it's interesting because I don't know if this is specific, enough in, terms of a metaphor to understand but you can tell me I think, it's like all, of, us humans, have felt, we were starting to excel and maybe not to the point of being a true expert we've probably all felt that we were an expert at something at some point whatever that thing is yeah if, everybody.
Who Became an expert, at. Any given thing turned. Around and walked away from it at that point, nothing. Would evolve, nothing, would become bigger and better you, know and it's like I think about like if, you. Are. You're. Good at. Like. Sales or something and you're, figuring out like oh you know we're doing this credit card sales okay, so yeah we have a credit card company and we're like making great credit cards and credit card processing and everything's, great let's, do more, credit card processing, but. The pivot, point is where you get curious and you say what, is could we do something better yeah, is there a better way to do this like we're a different way and it's not reinventing, the wheel it's the two genres, of people that say like why. Reinvent the wheel and it's like why not reinvent the wheel like. A Berliner yeah yeah like it's really, the best thing here and I think, that that's the point of where. Innovation, actually occurs and I think innovation can occur creatively. It can occur. Physically. It can occur personally. On like the little micro evolutions, that we are all going through as humans right now while we're all doing whatever we're doing and then it can occur like on this big macro level and so for, me that was a huge, part of what it all is this is like evolutionary. Thing of just. This constant, curiosity yeah. Is. What well to, me I think there's something that is also embedded in there which is the idea of mastery, and you said it really eloquently, it was like everybody's, an expert at something mm-hmm, and did. You figure out that you were an expert at, climbing. I really. Am SuperDuper, mediocre, climbing just to make that like totally clear I'm still like well in the throes of trying, to work towards expert, but, I'm like deeply in it for sure I have so much I can and I'm constantly that's, the best thing that's, a humility, that you as a human the. Truth. We're. We're. But. I think there's something beautiful in there that that everyone's an expert and if you actually can trust your. Instincts. And you. Know do, the thing that you're supposed to be doing or that you're an expert in like there's this beautiful thing, that you, follow your curiosity or, follow your interests, or your effort then, that's a great way to sort of plug in to this yeah, when you feel like you're doing something that you're supposed to be doing there's just tractor, meme let's pull rather, than this like hard, trudge, again. I can't keep losing, them climbing metaphor, alright, and that's impossible but what about if. Did. You like the part where you have to figure out how to make money to. Me well okay so two things okay about, that so first thing is finding your passion and I actually think that like probably more people in the world are struggling to find their passion than to find a way to make money and. Then you have the whole problem with making your passion make money like that's the whole secondary, conundrum, but I think first is knowing your passion and finding. That thing that pulls you and I think that we we constantly, are living in a world especially, now and it's complicated, everyday, by. Distracting. Ourselves from true feelings, and, we distract, ourselves with so many things and so many stimulations. That some are greatly enrich our lives but some are also just preventing us from truly ever feeling something, and so, we tend, now just. Let me let me take a moment and psychoanalyze, the entire world we all tend to. Glom. Quite easily onto other people's, passions. When we see something that's beautiful or especially when we see something that's very validated. By the publisher, yeah yep and they say yeah, well like I want to be a rock star I kind, of stayed in saying I can sing totally, yeah look at all the praise here yeah exactly and, in my own micro, little cause I'm like climbing, especially, climbing Everest is it's. An interesting thanks before like I want to do that for though that accolade well if that's your only reason for doing it I can tell you it's gonna be 10 times as hard as if you do it because you love it which is true of everything right if you're trying that thing so, how, do you find that thing that is your passion people. Are always asking me like heeey how, did you know and my only, answer I can give you is if you're, doing something and you're like is this my passion especially for young people because they're the ones that want that sort of shortcutted, like yes, no if. You're asking that question it, is not your passion because, you when you're in your passion it's almost like you don't you're, so.
Blinded. By just executing. It that you don't even have time to pause and say like is this my thing and you know what you can have about a billion things in your life like that's the gift of being human right like I don't know that being like a climber a high-altitude climber is totally gonna be what defines me in, 20 more years maybe. I'm nobody's. Can even mention this because like I found my deeper my real passion whatever, you know but this is something that I've pursued. Fearlessly. And completely, and I've committed all the way into and so, I had that how do you sort of morph that into something, where you can make a living out of it and I think that that is really really really hard yes and I referenced, it a little bit earlier I think, you have to be totally willing to. Be. In survival mode and to know that the. Good with survival, mode as long as I'm getting that thing the nourishment, that. You your, character. And your soul receives from doing the thing that means the most to you is so. Much more. Calorically, dense than real food if, you have to like starve, yourself to achieve your passion that's what I think you know so I think that like you make sacrifices. And those, sacrifices, don't feel like sacrifices. Because, you are doing, this thing and this, is okay this goes to another cliche, a metaphor thing it's like we've all been in a relationship right it's. Like, you're, in the, beginning stages, of a relationship where sacrifices, just feel like sweet things yeah well you're like this isn't a site like I didn't even want to do my own thing on something anyway I wanted to totally and you truly feel that yeah, and so it's holding on to that moment forever and, then suddenly. It becomes quite easy to like fight you it's like it opens up the cleverness, part, of your brain and you're like suddenly. Quite clever about how to capitalize, that, and turn it into something so, for me I it, was a necessity bill to pay my bills right and I realized quite quickly okay, I could. Be. A climber and just be a total, dirtbag climber, and probably, quite honestly be a way better climber. Or I can, try to. But as much time as I want as, I can outside, and, also, climb and maybe, at my climbing skill set will not develop as quickly but I can make. A living doing this, yeah and I, really. Spent a lot of time especially in my early days when, I was like 19 years old and 20 years old just. Really. Studying. The, people that I thought were cool and figuring, out like what. Do we have in common and how. Are you making it work and could. I see that working for me too and you know just like hijacking, other people's blueprint, a little bit and have been tweaking. It so that it became my blueprint and the, thing I've created nobody, does the career I do you, know it's hard for me to describe what I do yeah and it's. Such, a matrix and, if you were to. Look. At my schedule, of. Like how I make it work it is a hundred. Balls in the air all the time I spend, I spend nearly, no time doing nothing you, know I'm always like hustling. Or saying, yes or I mean I just flew, here from Texas, where I was speaking yesterday and you, know I'm going then to Colorado to teach at a retreat for next week and it's just like constant, movement and a matrix of all sorts of different things that. Ultimately come. Together and make this, thing but it's not you. Know. It's. How do you like what are you so this is my whole conundrum Mike when you're on a plane someone's like oh what do you do for work and I'm a hundred, percent of time I work at Starbucks and they're. Like oh nice like making the coffee I'm like I don't even get to make I work in like the corporate office and they're like and, then they go back to the meeting their book and I'm like this, was so much easier of a conversation. Then. This. Person who says like oh do you do it I'm like well I work. As a mountain guide they're, like oh what do you mean I'm like well I work. Is like a high-altitude, climbing. Guide helping, clients, experience. The mountain safely Oh like. You drive, the bus around like Mount Rainier I'm like okay so, like, I. And. I quickly, have to go to like you know I work on Mount Everest as a professional, climbing guide Oh to the top I'm, like well yes, this. Is like the conversation, is a really, common conversation I have and so, it's funny cuz it's like hard fulfilled understand and I don't know.
I Would, guide athlete. I have a speaker, I like sharing my story I'm a teacher I'm. A mentor I do. Some philanthropic work like, it's just matrix. Sometimes I'm like house cleaner but, I think how but to me go, back to the P said earlier about. Being. Willing to do whatever it takes the. Fact that you you, do just, figure, out when you're when you're sort of all in or you're committed to the thing or where you're feeling that flow State I think that's the thing it's so many people today. In our culture but just a spry, I say it today in our culture especially because we have that other side of us that's rather disconnected, or looking, at what everybody else does highlight reel is did. You feel like you you, were. Able to go straight there or was, there any sort, of like did you, did. You just screw up and get off track and and if, so like, help, us see. You as human as opposed, to a Wonder Woman yeah, well, it's. A very human experience, that I am and it's like constant, I mean I screw up like all the time every day still, today figuring it out you know like I don't think I've cracked the code quite honestly like I think I have a code, I do feel, quite centered. In what I've got going for me now and I feel like I have a sustainable. Balance, but if I showed it to you it wouldn't look anything like balance, to anybody else probably yeah look like something crazy and it doesn't make any sense so I think that relative. To what you haven't been doing in order to get here yeah. Totally. Yeah there it's it's sustainable. I guess is a better word than our type of derive for. Balance but I ultimately, want, sustainability. I want something that I can keep doing and, that makes sense and is possible, but, I think one of the biggest hiccups, that is really, that. I've struggled with and it's you. Know my highly, centered self right now I would, tell you if you're, gonna pursue whatever your thing is and to be able to do it I think, one thing you have to do is be willing to abandon what others think of that path, to. Do that you have to be also willing to give up accolades, of people thinking what you're doing is great because you have to give up the good with the bad you can't just ignore the bad feedback and listen to the glossy stuff one. Of my biggest challenges is, that, I'm normal. Insecure, human, who cares. Deeply what people think of me of course, in a really like small. Net little, circle of the you know 18 friends that I might have had when I was 20. And learning this too like now the public, audience that knows about me I care just as much what everybody thinks about me, and so that. Has been such a challenge, I think to. Keep. Your motivations. Authentic. And so, and, they don't know like this is where I say I don't I don't have the answer to it but it's, the thing that I constantly, if there's, one thing that I am truly messing, up it's, that it's that, making. Sure. That. I'm making decisions that, are. Like. Values, based decisions. And not validation, based decisions, and I, think actually in some ways the more successful, you become the, bigger of a trap it is though it's a trap we all feel no matter how, much quote-unquote, success, we feel like yeah whatever the measure mm-hmm, it's, just so easy to get mired so deeply, into like what other people think of your path and the truth is at the end of the day like. You're, with. You like if you're not cool with your path how, many people told you because we do how, many people told. Me or gave me the vibes that they knew I couldn't do it like so. Many yeah yeah so many I mean especially climbing, Everest without using supplemental, oxygen I actually in 2010. I was climbing on Everest with Dave Morton who you met yeah. And it was my my. Mentor really and like taught me a lot about climbing, in the Himalayas in big mountains and I, remember. Sitting in our Basecamp, tent, together like, I'm not a overly, emotive, person, I don't like cry, often but. I remember like feeling near tears at this. General. Sort. Of sarcastic. Vibe that I had passed through, Basecamp, and other professional, climbers and other guides and members, of this Everest climbing community that. Had, written, me off in, a way they were like oh yeah. I'm Alyssa like Condor, sponsors somehow into paying for her to come back here and try this thing, again because. It was the second time I was there trying it okay Little Debbie would take five times for me to be successful yeah attempting. To climb without using supplemental, oxygen on, trips, that I subsequently, like I was mentioning before did. Use the oxygen, and I just remember being like. Thinking. And I, wrote something about it too I could dig it up and find it and I. Think I wrote about how, more. People.
Didn't. Believe in me than did and. If. You step away now cuz we're the future great, so now that we've I've achieved this thing right and I did it really quietly like I didn't tell anybody I was going to do it and that was part of me sifting through my motivations, and making sure I wasn't looking for validation in, having a big goal and I just sort of quietly, I actually lied a lot and I said oh I'm not going to Everest this season I said I explicitly. Said, that and then I silently. Sort of went to the. Quieter side of the mountain avoided all the climbing community showed up and by that time my tent had been up there so like some, people knew I was coming but, I kept my motivations, really private and I had. To go and like just, do this thing on my own and and I at. The end of it it was like all, these people that were so shocked, and surprised and I I couldn't tell like are you shocked and surprised because I didn't tell you was doing this or because, you didn't think I ever could, and, I'm. Not moat that's sort of that non-competitive, side of me I'm not motivated, by people saying you can't do this that doesn't like drive me in that classic, I know a lot of especially women are super, motivated, that way to tell you me I can't like watch me but, I'm just not I, don't have enough like, deep-seated. Anger to go that route yeah I mean have other kinds of deep-seated anger but I'm, that way and so. I feel like you. Know I had to like. Get. Through like what I believe yeah it's possible and the truth is I don't. Know, and so why am I taking it so personally, and then this was this was what I wrote and I remember exactly was that how dare I give. These people who. Don't know me as well as I know me a right to tell me what they think I can do versus what I think I can do and I. Had to like become really clear with, that and to, just when. You're trying something that's bold and especially, something that nobody else has done before. Or. That very few people have done before I think. You really have to be. Willing to trust your own instinct, of you know you best and what. Am i pursuing, I'm not pursuing achieving this I'm pursuing the curiosity, of can, I achieve this and I'm cool with the answer I just want the answer it, can be yes and it can be no I'm, not trying to prove something. I think that in the startup world that the. Parallel. Is. Bezos. Saying you. Need to be willing to be misunderstood, for long periods of time almost. Forever until, and, you know it's crazy though it's a it's a slightly embarrassing, human trait for us I feel like because once you achieve a success. I mean, I definitely share. Handshakes, and hugs with all those just. I have a special, term I'm using in my mind right now for them those people I know behind, my back were always saying I couldn't do it and there's something really beautiful about achieving something like what I did under, my own power and, like nobody. Can take that away from me you know nobody can say oh like she. You, know fluid at 23,000. Yeah she paid people to carry her to the top it's like I toiled I did all the hard work myself. My husband we did that trip together just, the two of us we hired no staff we, used the fixed lines that are present on eros which is really, complicated not to use them and so it, would be silly, not to and I. Did it and it can never be taken away from me and you can say what. You want about. Anything. Else but I also put in you know eight previous, years, of work on Everest to get to know that mountain to, the point where I felt like I knew it well enough to be, that. Naked in front of it I guess I would say you know to be truly that vulnerable, and so. It feels good to know and it feels even better when I see the people that I know and they say man I'm like. But. Also it feels good to know that like I didn't, suddenly, see, myself it's like an elite mountain climber when that achievement, happened because I knew the toil that went into it and I know like you, know I can't, it doesn't mean that I'm immune, from all of the responsibilities. Of learning how to be a better climber in certain disciplines it doesn't mean that I suddenly am safe, climbing Mount Rainier which is you know more of a beginner glaciated peak I still, have to be heads-up I still have to pay attention what's going on I still have to train make, sure my skill set is as good as it can be and if I want to continue, to advance in other ways like I, didn't get a pass card at all I just got one moment in time that was awesome, and I, achieved something that was really hard and you.
Know Now I have about a billion other hard things to try to achieve so it's just a process so, two. Things I want to touch on one is. Being. Female. And I, think what if you want to talk about your experience of being females really, no, I'm fascinated, by, and. I'm trying, to honestly, shed a light in there, are very few women. In tech and that's just a silly but. It's just I, would say a cultural crisis, and I, think, we're waking up but it's like the distance. Between waking up and being a, balanced gender. Whatever. Oriented. It's. It's a thousand, miles a lot, of work to do and I think one, of the things that I would love to hear from you is I think. It's, thought, of as generally, a male-dominated, industry, and, so, what is it like operating, as, a woman that's thing 1 and thing 2 would be the fear point you made earlier but let's focus on yeah I'm, super impressed that you can keep up with like my a DD, just. Shooting around all this different topics oh. Great. That's. Like I were to come back to this play. Being. A woman in a, super male-dominated. Sort. Of atmosphere, professionally. And passion, wise has. Been interesting, I don't know what the alternative is right because I've only ever been a woman so I can only have my own experience, but one of the things that I think is the greatest blessing of being in the big mountains is that there is no gate you pass through going, to climb Everest where the. Mountain Everest is like you, know what's your economic background what's your racial background what's your cultural belief system oh and what's your gender okay now you can go it, doesn't matter right you show up with what you have and you put yourself to. Test, essentially, in this. Static. Super. Dynamic but like same atmosphere everyone is experiencing the same thing whether. You, have one set of organs or other at least there's no difference, yeah and so there's something that I personally, just from it I don't know that other. People. See it this way but from a just confident, standpoint, I know that like I'm, having the same experience as my male climbing partner and almost all my climbing partners are men, it's densely, saturated, with super. Talented men, and you, know it's starting, to become spottily. Populated. With women and I think that that's partly, I think. It's more to do with cultural, reasons than to do with like physical, capability, reasons because, climbing, in this big endurance stuff it's just not suited, well better too big, or people or more muscular people or any just, genetic, set that way I think it's like has, a lot to do with the cultural representation, of women especially like women. What, was so big mountain climbing in the Himalayas we can be expensive it's time-consuming. Those. Things typically, start to come together for people in a middle-age. Zone. Usually it's not super young people it's like you have some life under me well for a lot of women that's when, they have young kids or, their have the notions. Of starting a family and that sort. Of tethers, them more to that side of life so I think you see less of a population of women yeah in it because of that that's. Changing, I hope, and I hope it continues to, change I, sort. Of set out in the, earliest. Days my like my very first time ative Everest I remember coming back and like, the newspaper, wanting, to do an interview with me it was like oh you know this female. Mountain guide summit of Everest and I was like it was but so did like about 200. Other male. Mountain, guides and I just happen to be the only woman there but like it's, just uninteresting. Other than my like, ovaries which not. How you're gonna leave any headline, in a paper I mean the ovaries make it to this hour he's made it to the summit shocking. You. Know like it's just not so interesting, and so I really shied away from that kind of media because.
I Wanted to have something to stand on that would stand up to that neutrality. Of, like it shouldn't matter if I'm a woman or a man and there is something that I think is really cool and powerful about, being. In this like unique set, as like one of the only women because it, means that I was, as good as the men but I had to do something that, women. Also hadn't done and now every, woman who wants to do it after me like it's possible, I could just I prove that to you right like I wasn't trying to prevent you but now, you know it's possible for you to and I'm. Not a all executive from Texas you know like I came, by this as as honestly as I could in the process, of being myself and I. Just brought to the table my best version of myself every day and, that. Is, good enough and climbing but it's it's a battle, you know I mean I I will, say this too I am, certainly, no martyr as being one. Of the only women I know it, is a absolute, double-edged sword and I like both edges of it to be honest like you get opportunities. And attention for being a minority and especially. Being like a young small, blonde, haired girl there's opportunities, that presented themselves to me that probably didn't get presented to my equally, skilled melt male counterparts. But. As soon as I had that opportunity then I had to like fight for my life to prove that not only did I get this because I was. This minority that you thought was interesting but. Because I also have the skills and so. For me and I think in tech this speaks truly to like how do you how do we fix it as a group of women how do we create better gender balance how do we encourage that the. Only thing we, can do as the population, of the women who are is this minority and male dominated things is be. The very best you can be at what you do and you don't have to worry about if you were hired to fill a quota because, who cares as long as you're doing the best job you can. Then. It doesn't matter you don't have to wonder why you were there and if you were there for the wrong reasons who cares because you're still doing the best job you can and if that's good enough that's. Good enough and it starts to just equalize and sort of blend the lines of why, and how we have people in places, so. Beautiful, yeah, I remember, talking to you about that briefly easy to say so hard to do yeah yeah and I think that's one reasons I'm trying to you. Know call, attention to yeah just to like, give space to remark, on it and to say damn. Yeah and know that there's hard days and easy days right like for all of us and I think we tend, to live in these echo chambers like we're becoming a little bit more aware of in this current time in life and like surround ourselves with people that look like us and that happens gender-wise that happens racially that happens culturally, and the, more that you can sort of thrust yourself into uncomfortable, situations, and try to excel, like the, more you're gonna learn about the world I think and the more just. Generally nice I think all people are gonna be and that's, I mean I'll tell you what being a female, minority, in, my, work it, sort of harkens back to part, of my authentically, hippie family was that my sister and I went to school in an Indian Reservation as, some of the only white kids and all, Native, Americans, at our school and so we were the minority just.
Racially. And culturally and, it. Didn't. I didn't notice until we left that, that we were treated any differently you know it just felt like the norm and I, think there's a lot to be learned from sitting, in a space where, you don't look like all, the people around you and too, own, yourself, I think that's what it gives us because I think so much of is, the harmful, things that happen in the world happen from insecurity and not really being cool with who we all are inside. And so figuring out how to do that it's. A gift of travel I think yeah there's a lot of perspective, that comes with travel mm-hmm. Then. Let's shift here fears about, fear so. I. Opened. With mentioning, sort, of life and death mm-hmm and that. I'll. Say unfortunately, I'm using, my own words here you should feel free to use your own but it's a it's a real, like. You hike past people who have died and who on your way to the summit mm-hmm. And you don't help them out of the, ability, to stay. Alive yourself, yep. You. Know create I, haven't. Experienced that and I think, it's crazy, responsibility. To both have and to not have yeah, and. It. Has to be a piece of the psyche. Fear. Like, every day you are in the, arguably. One of the most dynamic weather. Dynamic, right possibly. Being on this planet and. You're. Doing all those things simultaneously. Mm-hmm. How. In the hell do, you not get paralyzed, with. Fear. So. I think that it, for, me which, I can only speak to this. For. Me it has been the. Reverse. Has happened I guess instead of becoming paralyzed, by this like really tangible, fear, of like yes, people have died around me I've seen, people die you know I, to, clarify. Like when you know I'm climbing to the summit of any peak if I see somebody in distress and I can safely help, them without. Putting my clients. Or myself at, risk I absolutely will and I have actually like turned around on the way to the summit of Everest to, help a climber descend. In that exact scenario and. Not felt right to me it doesn't always work that way right like it's not always obvious, yeah so see, being confronted with the very real reality of death and, you. Know on Everest, I think. Probably the most confronted, I ever have, been with it was in.
2014. There, was a single, ice fall avalanche, that happened inside this really dangerous section of the climb and 16. Local. And nepali workers were killed in one accident, and five, of them were friends. Of mine that I'd worked with closely over, the previous six, years and. It's. Easy to talk about risk in theory, and and that fear that comes with risk but, when it's you're, confronted, with I mean and this is quite graphic but like when you're literally confronted, with a stack of bodies, and helping, to load them into a helicopter to get them to their families you. Know where they can be cremated and and said, goodbye to it's. Just a different, kind of thing and that's like warfare, like no human, should have to see that without knowing. That that's what you're going into and climbing, boom mounds you don't think that's ever what you're gonna go into and so there's. The side of it that could rise up that is this. Fear is paralyzing because, you, know, millisecond. There's zero, reason why that person was there instead of me you. Know and and. You. Could just be totally paralyzed, by that and for some reason in my brain. And in my experience it, does the opposite, which it does this thing where it makes me feel, super. Like. Comfy, in my daily life because. We're all confronted. By the fact that like the only certainty, of this existence, is that living, is fatal, we, are going to die and. We. All have, some like really deep I think human innate fears of death and unknowns around death and we do all sorts of things to prevent our deaths, you know presumably every, day and, we. Don't just like embrace that and I don't embrace it but I don't, live. A very fearful existence. In the rest of my life you, know like I think I live a hyper-alert, existence. In all areas of my life like I'm I definitely. Walk into a room and look up first make sure there's no overhead hazards before I like enter, you're. Trained to pay attention yeah it's like sensitize, me in ways that like probably normal people don't look at you know like aren't quite as cute up to so the scaffolding, that's hanging I actually was like I don't know no.
Because There's no person, operating it so it took out the objective hazard right it's just like a static hazard, but. Then I think like it's a good thing in a way because, it's sort, of. Reassures. Me that it's. Okay, to, have fear, and to, be confronted, with the reality of death and sudden, death an accidental, death because I think death being like I'm cool with death a lot of us can probably get there I'm co-op accidental, death the harder thing to get cool with like yeah you, know just like. It kinda probably makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable to think about that right now but. I also think like it just makes me it. Sort of puts. In check that. Normal fear that we all have and unless. I have to tell you the truth of it it's less in regards to myself because if. I die I die like, I'm, done I don't care really how I die I'm not like there to grieve my death it's, like, thinking about the people I love dying yeah that's where the fear for me comes in it's like I don't, and I would I say this you know I had an accident happen climbing, with, a climbing partner my climbing partner died and I did. Not obviously, and I. In. The end of that experience I said so many times I still hold to this day the easier, thing would have been if I would have died you. Know because dealing with. People. Close to you dying is so, hard and that's where the fear lives for me yeah it's like I fear another accident, like that I fear that happening, but, then being. You. Know constantly, communicating. And like, existing. As a guest on nature's. Terms. Makes. Me feel, better about it cuz I'm like you know what. Whether. You believe there's a design to it or not like we're all at the mercy of it in some way and so I kind of have to find a way to to. Be. In the flow with knowing that it's. You, know it's good start yeah exactly, advice, to other folks I think there's, a fear. That keeps, people from doing things well it may be a little less prescient, right. Yeah. In the commbuys fall mm-hmm, but, what. Like advice. I think fear to fail right is the biggest thing and I have, always. Sort. Of mentally, put failure, as like fail. And live are the same word sort, of like so if I have if I take, inaction as a fear to fail I'm taking it as inaction as a fair to live and because. Failure is no more time that was so fast. Yeah. So like I replaced, the word fail because I think it's easy to be like I'm afraid of failing yeah, with the word live and so, I'm afraid of living because in a way living. Is failing like we're just gonna repetitively, fail through lot fail our way through all sorts of experiences, until like we have a little modicum of success and then we're like gonna get, good at that and then start failing at everything else again and to, be not, afraid of living because it's easier to think of it in those terms you know like I'm not gonna live. A life, that. I am afraid. Of living a life and I'm, gonna sort of like embrace that failure and I don't. Know this is probably pretty complicated but like take, your ego out of it and don't make it so personal when you feel like, because, that's what paralyzes, us in big and little decisions, is the fear, of I'm. Going not, to succeed with this and it's like well of course you're. Not gonna succeed, probably, at most things you do like there's very few things you're just gonna blatantly, succeed at and what, a snooze right like honestly, probably, not gonna keep pursuing those things because you know you know it's a process and like the good stuff comes from, failing. And so that's where to me I just like mentally shift it to living and so that's like the advice that I especially the young people who are like because.
I Feel like again. The, gifts of my parents, and sort, of being untethered in the way that they were they. Didn't I don't have a fear and I got this from them I just don't have a fear of trying something realizing. It's not working and changing, my mind and doing something different and so, often we put these like parameters, up like if I quit my job and go do this thing like what if it doesn't work out it's like what if it doesn't. Like. And then what like you don't die right, like you're not dead it's okay like you're gonna then just do something else like and of course there's tangible, weed, like oh and I get this all the time like but you don't understand like you know you wait till you have like a you, know a mortgage, which you have like a family which you have all this and then you'll understand, I'm like I don't know that the wait until I think you either choose. To understand it or you don't you. Know I think it's like he. Kind of just got to be okay with taking that little feeling, of falling and knowing that it's gonna stop eventually and try to make that a soft link an. But, know that it's cool if it's not. So. Much wisdom baked into there right, I'm all dementia I'm gonna shift gears now and. I'm gonna get a little bit more about you personally yeah so I'm, a Sagittarius which. If that wasn't clear already. So. That's a December, birthday oh so. Good. Like. A sister's okay I like the people in your immediate life that you know you're like oh you must be in Aries now so. And. We've talked about this we talked about off-camera we talked we've been friends for a long time when. Do. You see yourself doing this, forever, what, do you translate, this into do, you have an idea of where. This is like, what you're pulling on right now where is it going because you keep walking uphill slowly mm-hmm. Or, do you try and you know do you go to. Two. Other mountains, yeah I know part. Of what, I know this is a I'm. Answering. The question yeah a little, bit but like I know that you want to give, back and part of your connection, to to. Everest, has. Been the juniper fund and so. Maybe talk a little bit about where, you, were sort of your mastery, of this. Universe. Yeah, where. Is it taking you next, yes. Definitely, so I think the. Same way that I choose a climbing, objective, is sort of how I choose a life objective, which is to say. It's. Complicated and. You. Know I don't when I'm on a mountain climbing actively, and people say like oh what are you gonna do next like or you what peak are you gonna climb and I always say like this that's like calling, out somebody else's name when you're like with your boyfriend you can't do that like I'm not I can't cheat on this mountain like I'm here doing this now but I definitely. Wait. Until I'm inside, of that discomfort, to find the inspiration for, the next thing and so I don't have this like master. Plan, that's written out of my life for it cycle this is where I want to be and this is what I'm working towards at the moment I really take the inspiration of each experience, because I'm learning something and it's altering, who I am and the things that I can bring to the next experience so I don't want to have like too. Much, rigidity and where I think I'm going yeah so I really am like always trying to sort of feel that out and one thing that has happened super. Organically. Like that has been my, philanthropic, work, and I would love to sit here a little bit taller perhaps, and be like I, you know run and on I founded a non-profit which, supports, 39 families, and I do this kind of the goodness my heart it's like I, don't. Have time to do this I don't have any skill set to do this I'm not good at doing this but. I saw. That passion, that was necessary, that that, necessity. And I, knew that no, one else was doing it and I had to do it and so, in, 2010. When, I was climbing on a peak near Everest in Nepal the, accident, I was alluding to it was with a climbing, partner of mine who was a Nepali Sherpa and a close friend he worked, in the United States we formed.
A Close relationship over the preceding couple years climbing together and on, a climb we were doing together he, was killed and he, had two young sons and a. Wife and, I had. To go back to their home without. Him when, we left together and. It. Changed my life you know, it. Totally changed everything for me and on. A sort of big picture level I committed. To his family that I wanted. To pay. Them, what, his salary would have been as long as I had work if I had work and I was capable of doing it I wanted to put back into their family what he would have brought because I felt, responsible. He was with me you know and I felt I felt like that was the right thing to do I quickly, realized that the impact that that small thing had, in their lives was massive, because it allowed them to sort of serve to. Do the grieving that they needed to do without worrying about how to feed themselves, and, how to pay for education and, I. Really. Realized that like this is a need that many families have and and they aren't I don't think that families lucky they lost their husband, and father it's not lucky but it. Was lucky that they had, somebody, like. Me who was there who was willing to sort of look at a solution for how to help not, just guilt, money of like here take this money I feel so bad but like how can we make this situation better, yeah and recurring. And, yes, animal, sustainable, yeah and so so many families especially if the nepali workers the economics, in nepal are crazy it's a it's like the third poorest, non African country. In the world and it, has you, know their main export is tourism and then they have like power that they sell India and the economics, are really followed all they don't. Have a constitution, it's just a lot of things going on in the three that. Are challenging, and so, the local workers that work in the mountains expose themselves to incredible risks sometimes that results in death and they, don't have a support structure from the government from individuals, unless they're just lucky lucky, enough to have been working for somebody who feels, bad enough to give a little cash and usually it's a one-time thing and it doesn't support a family so Dave, Morton who I was mentioning was my climbing.
Partner Mentor who you know we climbed Kilimanjaro. Yes way, more stylish, than I am honestly like also so I'm, glad you didn't have us on together because I would feel like way out styled by the two o