Finding Peaks

Finding Peaks

GGRIT - Chose To Rise

December 31, 2022

Episode 75
GGRIT – Choose To Rise

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In this episode, we have an extraordinary guest, Meghan Buchanan, an aerospace engineer, adventure athlete, and motivational speaker who vulnerably shares how she has overcome the challenges of being diagnosed with dyslexia. This inspiring conversation helped us remember that life is about the journey, not the destination and that we have the choice every day to dig in, grit it out, and get better at dealing with any challenge. Meghan hopes to inspire and teach others to apply GGRIT to reach their full potential.

Talking Points
  1. Meghan’s story and dealing with dyslexia
  2. Overcoming the shame
  3. The breakdown of GGRIT
  4. The importance of recovery and reflection
  5. What’s next?
  6. How do you find purpose and meaning?


”GGRIT is gratitude, growth, resilience, integrity and tenacity. I have found that those 5 things got me through dyslexia, got me through engineering, got me through being a female in engineering, got me through injuries, got me up a mountain. And I truly believe when I talk to people now is using those 5 components, those tools of GGRIT, they can get through any challenge in their life. ”

– Meghan Buchanan

Episode Resources

Meghan Buchanan’s Website – GGRIT

Episode Transcripts

Episode 75 Transcripts

hello everyone welcome to another episode of Finding Peaks I’m Jason friezma Chief clinical officer of Peaks recovery centers here in Colorado Springs and also location in Denver um joining me is my co-host and CEO of Peaks recovery Brandon Burns and we have a very special guest today who I’m really excited to introduce Megan Buchanan she is an aerospace engineer an adventure athlete and a motivational speaker and but her largest claim to fame is she was the 1992 class or school student body president of Woodland Park High School where I attended so that’s a really big deal go Panthers right I think they won no football games the entire time we were in high school if I remember right but we tried really hard anyway Megan I do want to welcome you uh to finding Peaks and I really want to publicly thank you for taking your time to join us today on this episode to kind of talk about you and your life and and your Many Adventures thank you I so appreciate the opportunity and it’s lovely to see you again and yes we did have the most consecutive losses but I just went to homecoming and apparently the Woodland Park Panthers are winners now so yeah good to see that it’s a it’s a pretty big deal so um you’ve you’ve created kind of a company and a movement or something called grit um and it comes from uh your experiences as uh well just growing up and having to overcome some learning uh disabilities and I was wondering if you’d take a minute and kind of talk about them yeah I mean absolutely I um yeah I actually was diagnosed with dyslexia um luckily when I was seven years old and especially back then there wasn’t a lot known about it and we still have so many people that aren’t diagnosed and and even when you are diagnosed and you know what’s going on with yourself it’s still a very very challenging time as a child a young adult and into adulthood um but I had parents that knew I was smart and there was something wrong I couldn’t quite spell we we went and got me tested and we’re so sorry Miss Buchanan your your daughter’s dyslexic she won’t achieve much academically and my parents are like uh forget that my my father was a Rhodes scholar to MIT my entire family was very cerebral very very smart so they knew that that wasn’t the answer for me and so my mom sat me down and just said you know sweetheart you can be anything you want to be you are just going to have to work harder than everyone else and that starts today in this house so I didn’t know any different I just knew that I had to work hard for what I wanted and my dad was in Aerospace I wanted to be an aerospace engineer I love space um but it was a challenge but I set the goal and um you know Elementary School High School wasn’t as difficult for me because I could just listen and absorb and got great grades when I went to college I was a whole different thing I could not keep up with the reading and it was a struggle um I’d like to talk to and share with people now I mean I did I had to take calculus too like three times and and if you want something you dedicate you get back up and you try it again yeah you fail you get back up you try it again and you don’t give up and to me getting through engineering school becoming an aerospace engineer really came from that drive I learned very very young um from having dyslexia and not and and I felt I didn’t have a choice but of course you have a choice to me I didn’t have a choice but to dig in and keep going and so As I Grew Older um I always found myself in that Outdoors even as a child that was my release that’s where I felt naturally good at something that’s where I could be myself that is where I wasn’t ashamed of myself and so that Outdoors um component really kind of went hand in hand and so as I I started hiking and doing more and getting into these mountains I I was thinking back of where did I get this crazy insatiable drive to keep climbing more and more Mountains and and I trace it all the way back to being that young child um you know diagnosed with a learning disability I called a learning difference and really becoming a part of who I am to take on the next challenge and so I I did find myself um going for the bigger mountains and bigger mountains until you know I just um summited Everest on May 12th and I held a nice little sign at the top that said dyslexia gave me Grit and that Grit is two G’s it’s gratitude growth resilience integrity and tenacity and to me I have found those five things got me through dyslexia got me through engineering got me you know through being a female in engineering got me through injuries got me up a mountain and I I truly believe in what I talk to people now is using those five components those tools of grit to get through any challenge in their life and that would be quite a bit okay
did you have any well yeah I was I you know I love the concept of grit and I uh certainly love uh the the energy behind it and where the momentum of this uh podcast is going but I was curious you know kind of going back to you know I I was fortunate enough to be able to complete something like the calculus series I landed on philosophy not aerospace engineering but you know I remember just you know uh my own personal grind and going through calculus as a series and that sort of thing but you know before you knew grit as a philosophy what were some of those more foundational uh building blocks for you before you could you know give grit to the world you know going into that you know uh integral calculus course uh what what kind of sets you up not to be defeated within that moment prior to the recognization that maybe grit is the real thing happening here that’s an excellent question and and I attribute that to my parents um I am so grateful to have had two parents that saw my potential and would not allow me to give up on myself and they were that voice for me and helped me build my confidence but then taught me to be that voice for myself until I could take that on and so you know through school there’s probably a lot of crime and frustration and again you know you think about it too for for anyone with a challenge when they’re really young how lucky I was to have two parents that supported me yet I still felt so much shame and and I felt stupid and I felt hopeless at times so you think about kids who don’t have that support structure how overwhelming that is for them and you do have to learn to be that voice for yourself and a lot of it this term fake it till you make it I think that’s really kind of once I left high school and was on my own I still didn’t fully feel I did not feel um uh super confident but I had this mindset I’m just gonna pretend I do I’m gonna fake it till I make it until that push becomes a pull and then you’re pulling yourself through it and so it is that mindset I think my parents taught me of always looking forward and always taking another step forward if it is something you want and they also taught me to reevaluate just because it’s a goal at some point we change we grow are you doing it just not a stubbornness or ego do you still want it and if you want it then make change to make it happen and keep moving forward get back up and just that enough helped me take it to the next levels and then as an adult the more I started working oh my gosh my first job I was like I will never make it as an engineer I’m still not smart enough I can’t believe I got my degree that’s the mindset you’re thinking of but as the years went on and I worked I was like is it just it’s a lot of imposter syndrome I think we all have two I’m like my I apparently I did good I got I got a really good score this year what’s happening and so I finally realized I’m good at what I do and so and that’s where and then when I I started um you know climbing more and people just started asking more like man you have such grit you really stick to something I did start thinking I’m like what why is it why do I do that and then I traced it back and and a lot of it’s to to luckily the amazing parents that I had yeah I appreciate that and that shared experience and for passing the mic back you know to Jason I I know we’ve talked about it on this episode I think it comes up for a lot of people in this world and I think you’ve brought it Forward beautifully it’s not so much the destination it’s okay to have the destination out there but along the way the journey is the most valuable part and it’s going to have all these ups and downs and components uh with it the the important thing that I take away from what you’re sharing with us is to not get defeated right to pick the you know oneself back up and to experience that pull forward rather and recognize um out of that our own empowerment within this and our capabilities uh that we have to actually nurture something like that and I also love for you know in working in a substance use disorder space in a mental health you know space in that regard the the uh um man I’m trailing off here I’m forgetting where I was going to take this but um overall just I think it’s important for people to hear who feel like I cannot possibly get out of this moment that I’m in uh to hear that uh there are possibilities and that we own that power I think collectively as individuals and that’s where I was going with it appreciate the viewers being patient with me having a family system in the background to support and nurture a child who’s going through these struggles and that’s such a beautiful part of your story to hear the parents really operating in the background you know just being coaches and support systems while you’re going through these challenging times and through that process of discovery oh my gosh and what you’re saying just made me cue in on two uh so much of grit is personal ownership it is it is the biggest part of it to understand how much power and choice you actually have in life and and we all get bogged down with well I can’t it’s not my fault or I have to do that you don’t have to do anything like you have once you take ownership of what is happening even the the challenges the horrendous things I am about turning your narrative around and taking ownership of it this life is hard it is constantly throwing you stuff and so instead of instead of wasting your energy on I can’t believe this happened why did it happen to me I don’t forget it it’s happened it’s in the past this is life it is constantly throwing things at you take your energy into this has happened what am I going to do about it now and and I always tell people even just getting back up you have to sit back down that was a step get back up take one step forward and that only what is happening to you and deciding that you are going to take control of it is so powerful and we’re skipping way ahead here but I have to tell you one of the most amazing moments I had while actually climbing Everest was it was around the the Hillary Step and the sun was just like it was just starting to break and you are literally at the height that planes fly and to the microscopic level of every single second I was making the choice to keep moving forward I like it was this profound moment of at any point I could a hundred percent turn around I have the choice and every movement I made was a choice I was making to move forward and it really I mean I think it relates so well to life of every tiny step you make you do have the power in that and sometimes that power isn’t asking for help sometimes that power is I’m deciding I’m just going to stay right where I am until I catch my breath but it but it is truly an analogy of how we own every second in our life or we could choose to own it yeah Jason that that warms my existential philosophical heart so thank you for that feedback absolutely yeah
I mean I Megan I’m already feeling motivated uh just sitting here uh a little bit in we didn’t get a chance to talk before the show but my wife is actually a teacher for kids with dyslexia like she’s a master’s degree to teach specifically kids with dyslexia and uh both my kids have struggled with it as well and um and then sitting in this field uh you know we we kind of are going through a transformation as well as kind of a company and I think as a whole um industry and looking at addiction as just a broader piece of the or as a part of the wider envelope of all mental health and it’s all just kind of suffering and you know when you’re talking about uh in second grade being diagnosed with dyslexia um there’s a lot that’s a hard thing for a little kid this tall to kind of walk through and experience and and the shame um I I I’ve sat with so many clients who call themselves stupid still or call themselves you know much worse things than that and really become defeated and have trouble kind of showing up for themselves like that and I and I do Wonder um if you can maybe share a little bit of like before your diagnosis that seems like it was freeing even though for a second grader that’s probably difficult to understand but how did how did you like I I want you to talk specifically about overcoming those that shame those those really negatives that negative self-talk that came with that yeah actually um the story of how we found out is actually I think back about it as an adult and I’m like man that was messed up but but it didn’t for some reason it was just something that happened but you know in second grades when we really start spelling and and that’s when you go through an elementary school and the teachers have you stand up and spell and I actually started reading at age three with my family I have an older brother and a younger sister but they are not affected by dyslexia and so one of us was the the odd one out and um I would I remember I would try my mom would work with me to spell and I I we’d work on it and work on it and the teacher would ask me to stand up and spell and I’d get it wrong unfortunately the teacher I had his name was Mr Wolf I kid you not um he was not a good man and he did not like me because I would I would not sit on his lap to go over grades and it was very very quiet but my mom always taught me this is not a good man I agree oh he wasn’t enough he did not like me and he actually started beratin
verbally abusing me he would call me idiot stupid [ __ ] he would sit me in the corner right messed up I had so I stopped reading I refused to read and then my mom was like what is going on and so she took me to the specialist and when I was tested and that’s where they they figured it out uh later that bad man was arrested for other charges um but luckily I mean I was verbally abused only uh but that is how we discovered and so you I was absolutely verbally abused for quite a while by him and those voices are very hard to get out of your head I will always have that in the back of my head just talking about it like my heart literally hurts right now because the pain is real like it will never go away it’s who we are but you learn to be your voice back and the minute you know and it takes time over the years but I’m so quick anytime those negative voices come in my grip voice yells back like nope sorry we’re doing it anyway you know you you have to practice throughout your life to quiet those negative voices and you think about how you talk to yourself would you talk to someone you love like that no so why are you talking to yourself like that and that’s part of that awareness you need to have to start stopping yourself and replacing those words with the words of encouragement and you’ve got to do that for yourself hmm yeah I’m you know for me I just want to honor I just want to honor you know that those statements that um there’s just so much power on that side of empowerment and also as well too you know what we’re constantly sharing with individuals that come into our Treatment Center the family systems and so forth is that um that there is a path foreign in healing is possible and uh I just think it’s courageous to have another voice out there in the world who’s stating that these things are going to be difficult and that these things are going to be problematic and we’re going to run into issues all along the way and fear and all these things will arise but you know at the end of the day we have the internal personal power and it’s not a straightforward linear path in that regard that it has these Peaks and valleys to be consistent with the mountain themes of today as well too along the way and to expect those things as well too and to know that life is hard today and it might be great for the next seven days but on day eight something’s going to be thrown at us and how we uh are positioned in receiving that is just as important as you know the end goal right in that regard yeah like this this life is a this life is a long duration Expedition it is and you’re right there there’s amazing highs and lows and I think but and we kind of you know especially for young people now we live in a world where everything’s at our fingertips and and so easy to access and you get frustrated if things don’t happen quickly I think it’s important to set expectations with yourself from the beginning and again just like you said you need to understand that this is a life practice it is a commitment um you know climbing an 8 000 meter peak of Everest you know it takes six to eight weeks to climb because you’re going through rotations you’re conditioning yourself if you think you’re going to climb it in two weeks of course you’re going to disappoint yourself but you need like all the work that you’ve you’ve taken to build up your skills and build up your resistance so that you are in a place that you can can endure that long duration Challenge and I kind of see our life leading up to where we are is all that conditioning it is a journey and and you know I I thought too I I work a full-time job but then there’s all the training for Everest and I’m trying to do grit and help others realize this on the side so I’m I’m so busy all the time and I thought once I submit Everest oh my gosh I’m gonna feel so much more relaxed I’m gonna have a little more free time I got back and it didn’t happen I I felt no relief I and then I got a little depressed over it I was like oh my God like if I’m not happy that I did that like what am I doing and I had to do a lot of soul searching but the thing that I really realized going back to what you were saying earlier because I’m not about the summit I’m about the journey because I figured out yeah yeah like like I love the growth and learning about myself and challenging myself so just hitting that one high that that isn’t enough like I love the journey and where it takes me and once I realize that then I felt more relaxed I’m like okay I get it I get where I’m at and I’ll keep moving forward yeah at Mount Everest in that regard right it’s just a peak along a journey of many Peaks right yeah it is so that’s I mean that was beautiful yeah I’m asking questions
on my lesson so that you don’t actually have to climb Everest you got to figure out what you’re everyone’s got to figure out what their own Everest is mine was a bit extreme yes
so I I did I did I did want you to kind of break down just quickly kind of each of the elements of grit um and and what really stands out to me um is the Gratitude one if I like they all are really important but um at Peaks we start a lot of our meetings with people going around and sharing their gratitudes um and and really having gratitude is the solution for a lot of different things it can help stop rumination uh if you can’t get these negative thoughts that you’re talking about out of your head um if you can take a moment and find some things you’re grateful for or if you’re laying in bed at night and you can’t fall asleep it’s great to sit and think of things you’re grateful for until you fall asleep it it’s pretty remarkable uh as a tool but I I would love for you to kind of break down uh kind of your five elements of grid and and how you came to those and I love what you said because it’s exactly right there’s a reason gratitude is first and grit and it’s my base camp because just like you said you you can be in the most dire of situations and if you can find one thing you’re grateful for that sets your intention and your spiral up and when you can hold on when you have nothing else to hold on to if you can hold on for what you are grateful for at that very very moment that really gets you through the night and and that has been oh my gosh she I tear up again ah I mean that that has been my Foundation is those moments where you know any of the the as being a kid trying to get through or engineering school when I was on academic probation for just thinking like I’m I’m such an idiot why am I doing this you know I I’ll never make it and then focusing myself back on I am grateful to be loved I’m grateful to be smart I can do another I can do this you know and you just hold on to where you’re at and for anyone the negativity if you start to think of the great the things you’re grateful for it helps spin your thoughts into positivity so the next step then is growth and for us for us to change we have to be willing to grow um for us to find our full potential we need to change and grow growth hurts you have to be willing to be vulnerable you have to be willing to maybe feel like an idiot sometimes when you’re doing something new and that’s that pain of growth but I guarantee when you put in the work you come out of it a different person than when you started there is one day you wake up and whatever you’re trying doesn’t hurt anymore because you’ve gotten better you have to be willing to grow and and withstand the pain of growth to take yourself to the next level or reach your full potential so then resilience is the next one and in order for you to be able to get through growth or struggle you need to build up your resilience and and be willing to keep marching forward and I’ll talk about tenacity in a minute but they are different resilience is that ability to withstand what hurts what challenges you and keep going and I think that’s you need to you need to build up that that resilience and that resistance within yourself and that is a practice over time and you get better and better and stronger and stronger and every time I see a new challenge now my first thoughts are like all right this is gonna hurt but I can’t wait to meet me on the other side of it because you do get better and you actually look for challenge so resilience of being able to withstand that struggle is very important and you can get better and better at it out of all of this I put Integrity in there because that’s something I was raised on and that’s really important to me you think of Integrity as like oh being honest with others you need to be honest with yourself and I I think that fine taking that ownership and accountability is extremely important to take yourself to the next level and where you want to be in life um and I think holding others accountable um standing up for others and being impeccable with your word and again that’s to others and being true to yourself um really has held myself my feet to the fire I find myself many times especially with a learning disability maybe wanting to make excuses um and when you hold yourself accountable it allows you to focus your energy on actually Solutions and not the problem and then the last one to wrap it up is tenacity where all of this cannot be done if you don’t have that fire in your belly and that willingness and that drive to take yourself through all of this and so being tenacious having positivity also that you can fake it till you make it if you have to sometimes to get you through but you find that when you share your tenacity and energy with others they give it right back and every time I talk to a group they literally end up inspiring me right back and it feels I mean I get I get two times back what I gave and those to me are the tools to really I mean bring you to that next level and reach your full potential as a human being
yeah absolutely I I really appreciate it it’s interesting you know when I was going through your grit Concepts um uh in preparation for this uh the Integrity one um it was the one that I’m like okay that’s a curious one for that because it but I think it’s such a powerful thing and I think it’s I think there’s an engineering component to Integrity too because it means wholeness right or Oneness like there’s not like it’s they’re under crack there isn’t a there isn’t a hole anywhere because that if the if a piece or a part lacks integrity the Integrity of the whole structure or whatever is is in Jeopardy and I I think that’s a powerful piece of that uh great concept actually and it’s a good vowel to put into uh you know something I needed a valve for sure yeah yeah
no but no no you’re right you’re right and it does um you know and again I think a big part of it is for how we hold ourselves accountable and and you know and especially with recovery too if you you can’t really be honest with yourself and call yourself out you know you’re you’re gonna slip into excuses you’re gonna you’re gonna slip into shortcuts and in the long run that doesn’t get you there you have to put in the work and you have to be honest with yourself and when you’re honest with yourself then you actually start to learn to accept yourself and then you’re honest with others because you aren’t ashamed anymore um you aren’t embarrassed you aren’t trying to embellish um you know I think from having learning disability I was always a Storyteller I probably embellish things a little bit growing up and maybe instead of three or four there are five or six or whatever it was because I I never felt good enough and as I got older and older it’s been a work in progress and I’ve I’ve got really The Four Agreements be impeccable with your word that was really important to me and so it was a daily practice of like don’t exaggerate let’s just call it how it is and you get better and better but you still work on it as an adult and it was on I I finished Everest this year but I was on it last year for seven weeks we’re about to go for Summit bid and all of our Sherpa got covered so after a year two years of training on the mountain seven weeks all the money all the time Expedition done we had to go back home so I had to come back and train again and go but when I was there I remember I was so exhausted my body was just uh like just deteriorating from being at that high altitude for so long I couldn’t keep weight on I was so weak and I was considering doing Everest and lotsy which is right next to it it’s gonna be more money but other people were doing it and well I should do that because if I don’t it wouldn’t be this good and it was that moment I caught myself and I was like what is wrong with you and I’m like so seriously Megan and and I yeah I was having this talk out loud with myself I’m like seriously climbing Everest is that’s not good enough you’re not good enough and I’m like you need to get your crap together you are not climbing moti you’re good enough and and I at that moment I’m 48 now at 47. I was finally the last piece in my life fully good enough for myself and and I’ve been living this amazing journey and working on this for so long but that was the final piece at 47. so everything I’m sharing it doesn’t happen overnight and everyone’s journey and experience is different but those all those scars as a little kid with dyslexia I I mean it is an amazing moment I finally I’m finally free to fully love myself which is an amazing feeling but it’s been a lot of work and I’m grateful for every moment of it to get to this point
a completely beautiful tangent and it reminds me of of our race this week and Jason uh I’m doing the marathon Jason’s doing the half marathon both uh equally challenging events here yeah and Breckenridge Colorado and you know the thing that comes up for me and just hearing that story I was getting a little Misty in my own eyes here as well too because it’s so inspiring to think like what has held this together for me so as I get closer to the marathon as you know you know in these tougher races you taper down at the end and that’s like the hardest thing to do and then when you’re in that taper mode and reflection period for me I’m just watching all these fascinating you know Marathon athletes in the world do all these incredible things and I’m thinking I’m going to do this in three hours and 30 minutes and I watch all these videos I’m like how do I break three hours I can’t I’m in this taper mode right and and out of that it it forms like a defeatedness attitude I want to be somewhere else than where I’m currently at and what’s been beautiful in the taper process is you know just taking a light two mile run for nine and a half minute miles you know something that would have been painful to even think about doing in the actual running parts of it but it it your journey and what you’ve stated here recently is helping me see that the thing I was actually falling back on was gratitude how nice is it to reflect on a two-mile run where I was doing 15 18 Mile runs you know a couple weeks prior to think for the first time as I was training so hard I wasn’t fully present I recognized in those moments like the resilience I’ve gained and the growth that I’ve gained that I can now go up this hill that three months ago would have just kicked my butt and here I’m in In This Moment not not breathing hard my heart rate’s lowered and it’s actually really nice and what a joy and what a blessing to be in a moment like that where the foundation of all of this the thing that I can fall back on that you’ve found filed back on that our viewers can fall back on and hold to is that strong Foundation are those moments of gratitude and then out of that I get this beautiful experience of this whole race is just about Joy it’s just about being out there and having a good time and committing to it as a project certainly but in the same way moving through it not as an end goal to what’s next but for me it’s like what’s on the other side of that and where can I keep going so I just wanted to share that sort of you know pre-marathon story with you because it it is generating you know some some mistiness on my part within my tears but I think you know out of that the symbolism of grit and what you’ve brought forward is extraordinarily powerful and such a a beautiful way to see one’s journey in life like you that’s the thing that I you know especially when you’re I think uh recovery um learning disabilities anything we’re going through we we do tend to also I I’m driven but a lot of times I used I used to bowl those too like I’m like I will make this happen and you’re almost in this fight mode for so long and the thing that I had to realize to to now you know getting older and really all this coming together for me is how important it is for our actual recovery when you’re training for something your recovery I never did that when I was young there’s no recovery there’s no time for Recovery as I get older literally my body needs recovery you like life and any challenge you have you need to take those moments to look back at how far you’ve come and love yourself appreciate yourself um going back to the analogy of like now I have to stretch more and more physical therapy to keep my body in tune to recover after a climb so I can go do my next thing but really for our life and our emotional health we need to appreciate and understand how far we’ve come because when it’s just one step at a time you just look back the last step that’s all you see but when you’re standing on top of a mountain and you can see the Earth Bend then you’re like holy crap I have come a long way so I just think for everyone you need to give yourself those moments too to Pat yourself on the back appreciate how much work you’ve done and how far you’ve gone before you go back into driven mode and get to it yeah yeah absolutely I Megan I I your story on Everest too of when you’ve made the determination that you’re enough like to me like Everest feels like a side part of the conversation like it’s awesome you made it I love your sign on the top it’s so cool um but to have that moment probably not at this Summit where you’re like I don’t have to do lotsy to be enough um that feels uh it feels very powerful to me so okay no please please respond I was just gonna say no it was it was um oh man and I have this great picture I shared a friend what’s coming into the tent and I was literally like this down in the tent like crying I’ve got a picture of it was this moment where yeah I just had this emotional break and it was actually a day later when everything was canceled I was about to go up for Summit and when they told me that our Expeditions canceled everyone’s ordered off the mountain you’re dumb this year I instantly just pivoted to like well that sucks I just need to come climb it next year because honestly the the Breakthrough I had had for myself the day before it was worth every dollar every moment on that Hill it was a cathartic beautiful moment for myself and it meant so much and so when I trained a whole another year and I just went back it was a whole different experience and I was lighter and I was ready and it was almost like that mountain the the weather was amazing that mountain was like no this is your year you’re ready and so yeah it was it was a wonderful amazing moment and that inspired me even more to be able to share my experiences with people um again that you know to realize that about themselves and and understand how it is how important it is to truly accept and love yourself and it takes work
yeah loving yourself or others it’s a verb it’s like a you have to kind of do it it’s not just a feeling like it takes action it’s a verb um so if we could kind of pivot in our in our remaining time a little bit like he so now you Adventure you you are climbing the Seven Summits the tallest point in every continent and going to the polls North and South I think skiing the last degree which to my understanding is the last degree of longitude latitude right longitude latitude yeah okay so um honestly I kind of like I’m kind of skipping maybe to my next question but like what comes after this and that skips to my like your purpose and meaning in in all that like I but like you have you’ve been so driven and you have this goal and you’ve overcome so much um to get to this goal how what comes next like it’s the end is within sight um again so and then what this circle’s back to is me realizing that it isn’t about that Summit it’s about the journey for me so there’s always something next there will always be something next and that’s kind of comforting as well so um I am I will finish the seventh Summit um early December and then I will go and complete the Explorers Grand Slam with the North Pole which only 12 women have ever done I think there’s a whole bunch of us ladies getting queued up to the North Pole this year because they’ve been closed they’ll be in the spring and the beautiful thing out of all of this is I have grit now and I’m working really hard to as a dyslexic write a book that is scarier than Everest to me but really start um I do a lot of lecturing and helping to share these tools with every one you know Elementary all the way to companies and helping them find purpose and finding that grit in career or life and so grit I hope to actually become an amazing Next Step but I’ll tell you um and and this year too it was funny I was just talking with a friend I’m like yeah we should probably we should go to we should do K2 and a year ago I would no I will never do K2 now I’m like we should go do K2 but again I’m like make it what is wrong with you you don’t you’re it’s enough you know and that’s the one my mom said please yeah please don’t do K2 um but our counselor won’t do it but you know so I I am looking there’s plenty of fun stuff to go climb like how about go to Europe how about a little more in South America I don’t need to do 8 000 meters so it is a Pat about part of that that ramp down period right I need to be making smart decisions for me and where I want my life to go not driven by ego which is very hard I think when you are in this world and it is always what’s the next thing and what’s what’s the bigger thing you’ve also got to be really smart I mean the world just lost Hillary Nelson um yeah last week which was devastating and she’s amazing such an icon such an inspiration to so many women and so I think also we we need to think about what is the end game and then plan according to that so I definitely have several things on my list as far as adventuring that I would like to go do and I think I’m going to focus on those and and around grit I actually think about taking certain like grit tours and taking people to Trek to Everest Base Camp and learn a lot of these tools and actually just get to base camp which is 17 500 feet or doing Akin cogwa base camp but doing more Outdoor Adventures to help other people unlock you know that passion that drive from within themselves and teach them how to use Grit
I think you know it’s interesting we kind of as a as a recovery program as a behavioral health company um as we help people kind of overcome addiction depression uh manage their symptoms of bipolar whatever it is we’re trying to do always kind of on the back end of that we we are talking as an organization and we are always looking for ways to help provide our clients with that purpose and meaning like early in my career I remember I was doing a group and I I was talking about how like okay with the removal of your addiction like your life is this beautiful Blank Slate now you can paint on it whatever you would like and honestly that that created more fear like I was excited I thought hey you have this opportunity for all this meaning and actually it was the scariest part of of a recovery journey is like okay so if I don’t have my favorite coping mechanisms or if I now have the energy to get out of bed in the morning what do I do how do I find purpose and meaning and how do I make this um how do I scribe meaning to my life I guess how do I author meaning and I think it’s what I love about you and your story too of like it you’re doing this amazing thing um and it’s of your own creation it’s your own concept and it’s your own you’ve kind of reflected on how you overcame a lot of your early uh obstacles and you’ve said uh here’s how I’ve done it the this grit model and this is where I’m going to point it and I and I wonder if you can share anything about how how you found this purpose and meaning in your life because because really being a rocket scientist is rad but like you it seems like you you have so much more meaning and drive and purpose from your adventure athlete uh process so from anywhere in there feel free to respond to anything no absolutely and and again it it’s about that journey and understanding that this is a lifelong practice and and to expect that and so everything that I pushed myself through younger finally led to then you know uh actually working in engineering or taking on these mountains to finally you practice it enough and you get to a point where you feel Unstoppable in the fact of I’m gonna I will try I will try everything I will whatever I want to do I will try it and if I don’t make it that’s okay and I’ll either reevaluate and get going again or whatever it is and be and you get better and better at that and to the point that I don’t feel I ever fail I never fail because to me failing is doing something you knowingly goes against your gut that’s the only failure to me if you’re trying that is not failing you’re just learning you’re getting better and so when you can get you push yourself out of your comfort zone in the beginning and practice one step out every time it gets easier and easier until literally to the point I’m like I’ll go try whatever people are like oh my gosh what if you don’t know how to do it I’m like I don’t care and it it becomes that easy you you become comfortable with being uncomfortable it is a natural feeling you think about climbing a mountain for the the first time and I just took a person who had never been on a 14er and for everyone in Colorado knows we you know we’ve got 58 Peaks over 14 000 feet the whole way up she’s like well my my heart is racing or I’m breathing a little I’m like I’m telling you right now you aren’t normal we take our pulse I’m like you’re gonna do this when you come back down the next time you go to do it you’re going to understand this is what your body feels like and you’re going to be easier with it and then the next time and the next time and you need to be aware having the awareness of that and witnessing what is happening with yourself and pushing through it anyway to a safe amount of course but then knowing that next time I’m going to be stronger with this and it’s funny you I mean you’re talking about um you know recovery from addiction and my sister said I could share with everyone that you know she has been in recovery for 17 years and I remember when she got clean it was the same thing she had no idea what to do with herself she started knitting I swear to God she was knitting a scarf every day for like two months straight what to do then she went into she actually started running like 5K so she was obsessing with that and then she obsessed with Diet Coke and then she obsessed and it was her like she’s like where’s my rock I can’t hide under my rock anymore and and you know watching her be comfortable with who she is now tear up
she is my biggest inspiration that girl is so amazing to me and she put in the work and she works every day to remain in recovery and she is and she’ll always you know it’s got to be kind of hard to be my sister probably because I have so much yeah and she’ll be like she’ll just be like I don’t really do anything and I’m like are you kidding me I’m like you stay clean every day dude she blows my mind away she put her strength and she doesn’t give herself credit and and I have to I mean I tell her all the time what an inspiration she is to me but even those small tiny steps that is her Everest and she needs to be so proud of herself and I’m so proud of her and it’s it’s making that choice every day to push yourself one more step out of your comfort zone until again you have such ease with being vulnerable and being uncomfortable I thrive in it yeah absolutely well I I I feel like I would be remissed in this moment not to share with you you know directly Megan a hiking story that uh between Jason and I so we were doing outside Telluride of course the El diente Mount Wilson Traverse uh one of the uh you know higher ranking traverses in the state of Colorado the great traverses as they call it and the the climb up till diente across the Traverse all those things were beautiful and spiritual we’re coming down Mount Wilson we put on crampons we’re on a pretty steep slope and um you know my friend here Jason a little bit more uh abled in that moment to navigate you know the the snow sliding because it’s melting and all that sort of stuff I step out and it starts sliding Jason’s probably you know 150 yards below me now at this point and I’m scared and uh I don’t know what to do and I’m trying not to panic and I’m getting mad in my head because these guys are moving ahead of me and ultimately I I say you know what Brandon you got to do this I step out onto the snow with my crampons it slides I get scared again I lift up my other leg and I Jam the cramp on right into my calf in that moment and my and so I fall to the side of the mountain I’m holding on to a rock and I can feel the crampon stuck in my calf I’m like dude you just did this hard mountain and now you’re gonna die over this stupid thing I pull it out of my leg I can feel it leave my leg you know Blood starts oozing out I’m like oh my god did I hit an artery I’m panicking well I notice you know it’s not too much blood probably not an artery in that regard I’m yelling down I’m like Jason I’m bleeding it hurts man like I can’t do anything and he used way more colorful words at the time but even in so many words he was like Brandon Nobody’s Gonna Save you up there you got to come down now and it just clicked in me in that moment and what I think is important to recognize is like those words not being as great of a climber to that point and moment as Jason provided safety it was encouragement and allowed me to get down with some sense of confidence in a way that I had completely depleted all confidence in that moment and I bring that story to you you know want to share about our own you know kind of hiking Journeys with somebody who’s a profound you know hiker and experiencer of the outdoors but it it reminds me and you’ve shared so much of it already with your mom and your dad and your sister’s story as well too I’m just curious if you can be more you know direct with the audience about who nurtures around you what is grit right who’s in the background that you go to certainly the the family experiences are powerful but who else would you add to that and um what else would you share about the importance of those support structures around a powerful philosophy like Grit I think that’s such a great question because it’s you know it grit is definitely twofold one of it is honing in the ownership and the accountability within yourself and being that voice of inspiration for yourself and doing all these things for yourself but nothing is done by yourself you know I think about even training for something like Everest and all of the help that I get from the boot shop here who had to help like custom you know do my liners so that my orthotics would fit correctly and so that I could wear these too all my orthopedic doctors all the things I’ve broken and any strains or recovery I need to get me to a place where I can be there any friends friends who will understand that Megan can’t come to this thing today because she’s training on the mountain and them understanding I need to do that that has such value and weight of them understanding what I need to do to get to the place and not punishing me as a friend for that that love and support um again you know it’s really amazing social media I think in a lot of ways can be horrible for some people but it’s also this beautiful thing if you look for the positivity and being able to share my Journeys and then people sharing stories back like with their little kids that suffer from learning disabilities and they’re following my journey what it means to them that that keeps my fire burning like like I that kind of support is absolutely amazing people just reaching out to each other and offering a word of kindness that goes so far and so much of of grit is toughing through you know hard things but I think it goes back maybe into that maybe a little tenacy a little Integrity but it’s also appreciating every you know every tiny little bit that someone has to give in getting back and I I think I’m totally going on a tangent with that but but yeah and when you’re thinking of um saying about stabbing your leg on the mountain I mean that that’s an important thing too I love that saying is I’m like uh no one’s coming to save you you got to get yourself
yeah I love it was all out of love
really young too too sweetie I hope that on the day you’ve got to count on yourself and you’ve got to be able to get up and get yourself out of here but don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it and take help when it’s offered and man this journey is so amazing but how much better it is with others that we can connect with and you know it us just having this discussion even though we might be talking about you know addiction recovery or learning disabilities we have so many parallels and all of us as human beings we want the same things and and you know we want we want to reach our full potentials we want to love and we want to be loved and these are things amazing discussions like we’re having right now that we can all connect on and I think having the awareness of that and appreciating that also allows a lot more happiness into your life to recognizing how many people are are I mean just want the same thing you do and how you can connect with them
yeah it was beautiful and I Megan I’m going to be really respectful of your time and I think we’re coming up on here so I want you to take a minute and um Talk specifically about your uh website and how to kind of support you and your movement and all that I’d love to hear that and I’m sure we’ll post links when we do this as well so oh that’d be amazing so yeah so I have a website and it’s g-g-r-i-t uh you can also follow me on Instagram same thing at ggrit uh on Facebook but the great thing is I will share um my training I share a lot this is actually October is dyslexia awareness month so I’m sharing a lot on that right now and I will share just the struggles I go through every day and how with grit I take myself the next step forward um there’s a lot of fun videos for hiking but then when I actually go on my Journeys around the world to do these Expeditions I take you with me and I love you know send me comments whatever you’re thinking um love love to respond whenever I can and I do of course have some GoFundMe that you can get to I raise money for for my Expeditions but the net proceeds go to learning disabilities associations because I really am trying to give back to what gave me my superpower and help people get diagnosed early with learning disabilities so that then they can work on you know taking their next steps and and embracing everything they are
and please do follow I I have I followed you for a couple years now I watched the Everest uh Everest I didn’t exactly know why you turned around uh it makes sense uh with the covet and um I just really uh your whole story and and where this is all going I think it’s really exciting and and um for those watching please follow Megan on on Instagram and and please contribute to the GoFundMe as well um so with that we will end this episode of Finding Peaks you can also follow Peaks uh on Instagram we have a tick tock account as well um other things uh please find us on Apple as well if you want to uh just listen to the audio and with that uh Brandon thanks for joining us as well and with that we will sign off