Persevering through Failure with Melissa Arnot Reid | Chase Jarvis LIVE

– Hey everybody, how’s it going. I’m Chase. Welcome to another episode
of the Chase Jarvis Live Show here on CreativeLive. You guys know this show. This is where I sit down
with amazing humans, and today is no exception. In fact, you’re going to 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 Arnot Reid. (rock music) (audience cheering) – They love you. I’m so happy you’re here. – I’m so psyched to me here with you. – Thank you so much. – Yeah, of course. – This is a long time in the making. It was like maybe even a year. Is that true? – It is. I had to be with you out in the mountains and dirty and climbing to
the high altitude summit of something before I’d agree to come. – It’s true. So for the folks at home,
I think you’re familiar with the show. But, there’s a long sort of history and trajectory for the show around people who have done amazing things in a lot of different disciplines
but also around a theme of people who’ve made a 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. – Super classic, yeah. – Classic metaphor for
life, but how in the hell, we’re just going to orient the world. How in the hell did you
decide to walk uphill slowly for a living? – That’s my true, proper profession is I walk uphill slowly. – For a living, how did you decide? 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 believe that their dream is
completely unobtainable and people would laugh at them, but you literally walk
uphill slowly for a living. So A, how did you craft 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 going
to live out of the back of our trucks and 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 a business degree.
– You were clean. (Chase laughing) – Yeah, I also got an
apartment and a stable job – And a shower. – working for Proctor
and Gamble, and yeah. And, I just totally
rebelled against my parents. I was like this is not the life I want. I don’t want to be outside
and be dirty and all of this. At some point as I was
sort of living this life that I had imagined somehow
was different from my parents, and I’m not gonna 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. 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 like the anti competitive person. If you try to race me, I’ll
just stop and watch you, and just be like, you have fun with that. Like, I’m just not competitive, you know? But, I’m super driven
internally with myself in being better, but I
like working together with somebody towards a shared goal. 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 – Amazing. – 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 going to 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 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 and like all his dreams were fulfilled. – Just shining moments. – Shinning moments, yeah. So that’s like the path
that ultimately led me to what now, I think, is
a high accolade career where people are 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, 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 climb and do the things I wanted to do. It’s not such an obvious
path, 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 have, you mention accolades, to
have achieved the things, the world records, the firsts,
the mosts all those things. – The summits if you will. – Yeah, the summits. – The high points. (Chase mimicking drum roll) – We just have cliches
abound in my career. It’s like you have to try
not to hit them if you want. – I’m trying, and I’m losing right now. (Melissa laughing) But, a little bit to dig into the why. So you went back and you saw the mountains for the first time. The folks at home are going like my goal is totally unreasonable. And, I think a big disconnect
is some people think that they start something,
and they have to see it all the way to the finish
line in order to start it, or for you was it a matter of just seeing like oh I want to pursue
this ’cause I’m having fun? 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 in any moment. I mean just think about
like we’ve all been 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 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. It’s gonna be cliche ridden, I’m sorry. But, you know you take this one step, you climb this one pitch, this one peak, this one summit that gets
you ultimately to be able to climb the big mountains. 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. I mean here’s the thing
I think about climbing, the biggest thing that it’s given me. It’s given me the ability to
be totally a control freak in general life that is
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 ’cause it’s not like we
don’t really joyfully choose to be humble. It’s not something we pursue. – Yeah, it’s not something we’re running around volunteering for. – 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 you know you’re working towards something so big. And, when people are like,
oh I have this big goal. 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’ve just had a delicious lunch, neither
would I ’cause you don’t go from here to there. In your mind, you’re
going from here to there. And, there’s a lot that
happens in between. – So, 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. Like oh good luck with that,
you’re gonna make hundreds. – Yeah. – Like how did people
respond when you said you know leave this stable job to go you know walk uphill slowly? What did people say? And, did you feel
distracted, or discouraged, or empowered, or both, or neither? How the freak did you
figure out how to make money walking uphill slowly? – I would say I 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 backup plan. I grew up economically
in the tight confines of an authentically hippie
family where we just didn’t have extras. 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 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 bad ass with what you’re doing. And, like living in the back of your truck is just not that sexy, but I guarantee when I like introduce
that people are like, oh I wish I could just. You know this was like
pre hashtag van life and everything. There was no hashtag anything. And, so it wasn’t like,
I mean I’m sleeping in like Motel 8 parking
lots because generally you wouldn’t get harassed for like sleeping in the back of your truck there. And, I had like homemade
curtains so no one would know I was there and 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. You’re core. I’m like if this is core. – Do you really want to see
under the covers of core? – Yeah, ’cause then there’s
this whole other side, 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 we’re
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 of it were 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 later part of my more successful,
externally validated, successful life, I felt as
equally elated and happy as I felt when I was
14 years old waking up at four 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
something that’s really tied it all together for me. – 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 college? Do you feel like was there
a self sustenance thing? Was is a separate thing? Was it sacred, was it fear, or was it joy? – You know not fear, so I will say that. 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 (grumbling) I don’t like this. This is gross. And, I need reroute myself. I think it has to do less with like, well, equal parts with necessity
of what I needed to do, what I knew what was required of me and sort of like this
admiration that I had for how hard my parents
worked just to get by. Because they made a choice. They’re smart, capable
people that could’ve taken high paying corporate jobs and
had a 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, my dad, I remember,
he did construction when I was a 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 daughters “grow up, and if I went
and punched a clock “everyday, I’d miss your whole lives.” Though I didn’t know it, I
was gaining this admiration for hard work. And, I see that in myself, my sister. 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 were born into different circumstances. And, you know pardon the categorization because not everybody fits into it neatly, but like the trust fund set
that is hashtag van life now and is this super sexy
curated side of 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 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. What’s interesting about
that metaphor exactly, so you know, and maybe we
don’t have to 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 willpower I have. I can too 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 100% not an option. And, that was true. It was like there are
some areas where you gotta 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 went there. – Sorry. – No, it’s incredible. So folks are both listening
to this as a podcast, and some folks are watching it
’cause we capture the video. The woman that you see before you here or that you’re listening to. – Might not line up with
what you think I look like. (laughing) – Is a certifiable, like
bone crushing bad ass. And, I’ve had the good
privilege of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with
you under your guidance, how ’bout that. With you, behind you. – I don’t know how much
guidance you needed. I really felt like you
were a co-climber with me. And, trust me I would
tell you if you weren’t. I’m not being nice. I’m not known for my niceness. – I didn’t see you pull many punches. But, the sheer goal, so if
you’re a mountain climber, the goal of climbing the
biggest, most dangerous peak, or one of the most dangerous
peaks in the world, is like an extraordinary goal. And A, to have set that
goal, what made you want to go as big as you
absolutely, possibly could? Because there’s a lot of
people who climb mountains, myself included. I’m really happy just
to climb these volcanoes that are up in the Northwest.
– Well there’s some great– – Yeah, there some beautiful things. But, I had zero desire. In fact, I’ve had
opportunities to go to Everest, and I’ve turned 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. – Yeah, I think it’s really
hard for people to understand. At least half of the people
who are watching this or listening to this,
probably had a moment of like eye 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 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
spent a lot of my 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 in your life, and you want to go to
the summit of Everest. By being a human on this planet and also by like whatever economics are afforded to you and
a bunch of other things that have to go into that, you can do it. And, who am I to like
shame you for your reasons. But for me– – You’re so good at framing this. (Melissa laughing) – Yeah, you know the person. You know this person
that we’re all like hate, and we’re like oh isn’t
Everest just filled with people that are
carrying, aren’t Sherpas just carrying everybody on
their backs to the summit. 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 10 years
of my life on Everest, and if I was reasonably intelligent, there has to be something
more there, right? And, also like the ego accolades you get from climbing Everest are
just not sustainable enough to get you through like the negativity 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, partly 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 some deeply
philanthropic reasons for wanting to be there
knowing that Everest was this incredible billboard that catches all of our attention whether
we’re 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 Red and working with Bono and Bobby Shriver. – Of course. – So, I was suddenly
in a position where I’m not being the philanthropic one. 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 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. Porter is the job, Sherpa is the last name in a tribe of people. But, the Sherpa people shared something that I saw as very familiar from watching my parents work hard growing up, you know? It’s something I’d seen
in myself, and it was this like work ethic and
just drive and ability to be okay in nature and not
try to like conform nature to you, but to like work with nature. – So this is what we have today? Right, okay, all right. – So yeah, exactly yeah,
and then so what we’re gonna do with it 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 summited. 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’re constantly told no, no, no, and then all of a sudden
one day, we’re like yes. But, we didn’t have enough
time left in the season to acclimatize, and everybody was climbing on the same day, and
it was just like crazy. 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 the summit or not, I found myself with either more curiosity or a satiated curiosity but
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. – Well, it’s probably
reasonably easy to translate that into a metaphor, but what is, I’m gonna let you do the work here. What is the metaphor that
that provides for others? You’re doing it on a mountain. You continue 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 quest thing? – Yeah, it’s interesting
’cause 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 we
were an expert at something at some point whatever that thing is. 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 if 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. 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 if? – Could we do something better? Is there a better way to
do this or a different way? And, it’s that 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? – Right, make a bigger
one, or a better one, or a faster one. – Yeah like is the wheel
really the best thing here? And, I think that that’s
the point 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’re 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 always is. It’s like this evolutionary
thing of just this constant curiosity of, what? – Well, to me I think
there’s something that is also embedded in there which
is the idea of mastery. You said it really eloquently
with like everybody’s an expert at something. And, did you figure out
that you were an expert at climbing? – I really am super, duper
mediocre at climbing. Just to make that totally clear. I’m still like well in
the throes of trying to work towards expert, but I
am like deeply in it for sure. I have so much I can learn. That’s the best thing ever. – But, that’s a humility
that you as a human being– – But, it’s also the truth. Oh my God, we’re gonna fight about this. – I’ve seen you in action. – You guys, we’re having our third fight, and you guys are witnessing it. I can’t tell you what the first two were. – But, I think there’s something beautiful in that everyone’s an expert,
and if you can actually trust your instincts and do the
thing that you’re supposed to be doing or that you’re an expert in, like there’s this beautiful
thing that if you follow your curiosity, or follow your
interests, or your effort, then that’s a great way
to sort of plug into this. When you feel like you’re doing something that you’re supposed to be
being, there’s this tractor beam, this pull rather than this hard trudge. Again, I can’t keep losing
the climbing metaphor– – I know it’s hard. – I know it’s impossible. But, what about, like
the part where you have to figure out how to make money. To me, that’s fascinating. – Well, there’s two things about that. So the 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 of making your passion make money. Like that’s a whole secondary conundrum. But, I think first is knowing your passion and finding that thing that pulls you. And, I think that we’re
constantly living in a world especially now, and it’s
complicated every day by distracting ourselves
from true feelings. And, we distract ourselves
with so many things and so many stimulations that
greatly enrich our lives, but some are also just preventing
us from truly ever feeling something. And, so we tend, now, 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 public. – Culture yeah, rockstar. – Yeah, where like I
want to be a rockstar. – I can stand onstage and sing. I can sing. – Totally. – Yeah, look at all the
praise here she’s getting. – Yeah, exactly. And, in my microcosm like
climbing especially climbing Everest, it’s an interesting thing. People are like I want to
do that for that accolade. Well, if that’s your
only reason for doing it, I can tell you it’s going
to be 10 times as hard as if you do it because you love it which is true of everything,
right, if you find that thing. So how do you find that
thing that is your passion? People are always asking
me like oh you know 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
’cause they’re the ones that want that sort of
shortcutted like yes/no. If you’re asking that question,
it is not your passion. ‘Cause when you’re in your
passion, it’s almost like you’re so blinded by just
executing it that you don’t even have time to pause
and say is this my thing? And, you know what you could
have about 1,000,000,000 things in your life. 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. Like in 20 more years,
maybe nobody’s going to even mention this because
I found my real passion or whatever. But, this is something that
I’ve pursued fearlessly and completely, and I’ve
committed all the way into. And, so then 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. 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– – I’m good with survival
mode as long as I’m getting that thing. – The nourishment that your
character and your soul receives from doing the thing
that means the most to you is so much more calorically
dense then real food. If you have to starve yourself
to achieve your passion. That’s what I think. You know so I think that
you make sacrifices, and those sacrifices
don’t feel like sacrifices because you are doing this thing. Okay, this goes to another
cliched 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. Or, you’re like this isn’t,
like oh I didn’t even want to do my own thing on Sunday. I wanted to totally,
and you truly feel that. And, so it’s holding
onto that moment forever and then suddenly it becomes quite easy. 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 how to turn it into something. So for me, it was a necessity to be able to pay my bills, right? And, I realized quite
quickly, okay I could be a climber and just be a
total dirt bag climber and probably, quite honestly,
be a way better climber, or I can try to spend as
much time as I can outside and also climb. And, maybe my climbing
skillset will not develop as quickly, but I can
make a living doing this. And, I really spent a lot of time especially in my early days when I was like 19 years old, 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? You know just like high jacking
other people’s blueprint a little bit, and then
tweaking it so that it became my blueprint. And, the thing I’ve created, nobody does the career I do. It’s hard for me to describe what I do. And, it’s such a matrix. And, if you were to look at my schedule of like how I make it
work, it is 100 balls in the air all the time. I spend nearly no time doing nothing. You know I’m always like
hustling or saying yes. 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. (Melissa laughing) So this is my whole conundrum,
like when you’re on a plane, and someone’s like oh
what do you do for work? And, I’m 100% of the
time, I work at Starbucks. (Chase laughing) They’re like oh nice,
like making the coffee? I don’t even get to make, I work in like the corporate
office, and their like hmm. And, they go back to reading their book. And, I’m like this was so
much easier of a conversation than this person who says
like oh what do you do? And, I’m like, well, I
work as a mountain guide. They’re like oh what do mean? I’m like, well, I work
as 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 let me tell you. And, I quickly have to
go like you know I work on Mount Everest as a
professional climbing guide. Oh, to the top? I’m like, well yes, to the top of Everest. This is like the conversation. It’s a really common conversation I have. And, so it’s funny because it’s like hard for people to understand,
and I don’t know what to say. – Oh for sure, yeah. – I’m a guide, athlete. I’m a speaker. I like sharing my story. I’m a teacher, I’m a mentor. I do some philanthropic work. Like, it’s just a matrix. Sometimes, I’m like a house cleaner. – But, to me, going back to the thing you said earlier about being willing to do whatever it takes, the fact that you do just figure out when you’re sort of all in or when you’re committed to the thing, or where you’re feeling the flow state. I think that’s the thing
that so many people today in our culture but just,
I say today in our culture, especially because we
have the other side of us that’s rather disconnected
or that’s looking at what everybody else’s
highlight reel is. Did you feel like you were
able to go straight there, or was there any sort of
like, did you screw up and get off track, and
if so, help us see you as human as opposed to Wonder Woman. – Yeah, well it’s a very human experience that I’m in. It’s constant. I mean I screw up like
all the time everyday, 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. It would look like something crazy, and it doesn’t make any sense. So I think that– – Relative to what you have been doing in order to get here,
it’s balanced, right? – Totally. It’s sustainable, I guess is
a better word than balanced. – Yeah, we were talking about that before. – I strive 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 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 the accolades
of people thinking what you’re doing is great ’cause 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 a normal, insecure human who cares deeply what people think of me of
course in a really small net little circle of
the you know 18 friends that I might have had when
I was 20 and learning this to 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, I don’t know, like,
this is where I say I don’t have the answer
to it, but it’s the thing 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 we do. – Yeah, whatever the measure. – Yeah, it’s just so
easy to get mired deeply into what other people think of your path. And, the truth is, at the end of the day, like you’re with you. And, if you’re not cool with your path– – How many people told you couldn’t do it? – Told me, or gave me
the vibes that they knew I couldn’t do it? Like so many. Yeah, so many. I mean especially climbing
Everest without using supplemental oxygen. I actually in 2010, I was
climbing Mount Everest with Dave Morton who you met. – Yeah, love Dave. – Yeah, and it was my mentor and taught me a lot about climbing in the
Himalayas and big mountains. And, I remember sitting in
our base camp tent together like I’m not an 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 base camp and other professional
climbers and other guides and members of this
Everest climbing community that had written me off in away. They were like, oh, Melissa
like conned her sponsors somehow into paying for
her to come back here and try this thing ’cause
it was the second time I was there trying it. – Got it. – And, little did we know
it would take five times for me to be successful. Yeah, attempting to climb without using supplemental oxygen on trips
that I was subsequently, like I was mentioning
before, did use the oxygen. And, I just remember thinking, and I wrote something about it too. I could dig it up and find it. I think I wrote about how more people didn’t believe in me than did. And, if you step away now
’cause we’re in the future, and I’ve achieved this thing. 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 I’m not going to Everest this season. 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 some people knew I was coming. But, I kept my motivations really private. And, I had to go and just
like do this thing on my own. At the end of it, it was
like all these people that were so shocked and surprised, and I couldn’t tell are
you shocked and surprised ’cause I didn’t tell you I was doing this or ’cause you didn’t think I ever could? 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. If you tell me I can’t, like watch me. But, I don’t have enough
like deep seeded anger to go that route yet. I mean I have other kinds
of deep seeded anger, but not in that way. And, so I feel like I had to like get through what do I believe is possible? And, the truth is I don’t know. And, so why am I taking it so personally? This was what I wrote. Now, I’m remembering
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, 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 in the startup
world the parallel is Bezos saying you need to be willing to be misunderstood for
long periods of time. – Almost forever. And, you know what’s crazy though. It’s a slightly embarrassing
human trait for us, I feel like, ’cause once
you achieve a success, I mean I definitely share
handshakes and hugs. 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– – She flew to 23,000 feet. – 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 Everest 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. You can say what you
want about anything else, but I also put in 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 if feels even better when I see
the people that I know naysayed me. (Chase laughing) But, also it feels good to
know that I didn’t suddenly see myself as like an elite mountain climber when that achievement happened because I knew the toil that went into it, and I know like you know 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 to what’s going on. I still have to train,
make sure my skillset 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 1,000,000,000 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 in, I think, what is– – Do you want to talk
about your experience of being female? – No, I’m fascinated by, and I’m trying to honestly shed a light in there are very few women in tech. And, it’s just, I would
say a cultural crisis. I think we’re waking up. Like the distance between waking up and us being balanced
gender whatever oriented, it’s 1,000 miles, and
there’s 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. – Very much. – And, so like what is it
like operating as a woman? That’s thing one. And, thing two would be the
fear point you made earlier. But, let’s focus on. – I’m super impressed that you can keep up with like my ADD just
shooting around all these different topics. It’s very impressive. – It’s only matched with my own. – Great. It’s like remember to
come back to this point. Being a woman in a super
male dominated atmosphere professionally and passion
wise has been interesting. I don’t know what the
alternative is, right, ’cause 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 not 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’s experiencing the same thing whether you have one
set of organs or other. Basically, there’s not difference. And, so there’s something
that I personally just from, I don’t know that
other people see it this way, but from a just confidence
standpoint, I know that I’m having the same
experience as my male climbing partner. 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 it’s more to do with cultural reasons than to do with like physical capability reasons. ‘Cause climbing, this big endurance stuff, it’s just not suited well,
better to bigger people or more muscular people or
any just genetic set that way. I think it has a lot
to do with the cultural representation of women. So big mountain climbing in the Himalayas, it 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 have some life under me. Well, for a lot women,
that’s when they have young kids, or their have 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 in it because of that. That’s changing I hope, and I
hope it continues to change. I sort of set out like
in my earliest days, like my very first summit of
Everest, I remember coming back and the newspaper wanting
to do an interview with me of like this female mountain
guide summited Everest. I was like so did like
about 200 other male mountain guides, and I just happened to be the only woman there. But, like it’s just uninteresting other than my ovaries which
is not how you’re going to lead any headline in a paper. – Ovaries make it to the summit. – Ovaries made it to the summit, shocking. You know 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 ’cause 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 proved that to you, right? Like I wasn’t trying to prove that to you. But, now you know it’s
possible for you too. And, I’m not an oil executive from Texas. You know I came by this
as honestly as I could in the process of being myself. And, I just brought to
the table my best version of myself everyday, and that
is good enough in climbing. But, it’s a battle. And, I will say this too. I am certainly no martyr as
being one of the only women. I know it is an absolute
double-edged sword. And, I like both edges of it to be honest. Like you get opportunities and attention for being an 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 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. So for me, and I think in tech this speaks truly to how do we fix
it as a group of women? How do you create better gender balance? How do we encourage that? The only thing we can do as the population of the women who are this
minority in 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 ’cause 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? ‘Cause 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, and I think
that’s one of the reasons I’m trying to call attention to it. Just to like give space to remark on it and to say damn. – And, know that there’s
hard days and easy days, like for all of us. And, I think we tend to
live in these echo chambers, like, we’re becoming
a little more aware of in this current time in life
and like surround ourselves with people that look like us. 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 going
to 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 hearkens back to
part of my authentically hippie family was that my sister
and I went to school on 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, I didn’t notice until we left that we were treated any differently. It just felt like the norm. And, I think that there’s
a lot to be learned from sitting in a space
where you don’t look like all the people around
you, and to own yourself. I think that’s what it
gives us ’cause I think so much of what 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 is the gift of travel I think. – Yeah, there’s a lot of perspective that comes with travel. Then let’s shift to fear.
– Fear. Yeah, let’s talk about fear. – So I opened with mentioning
sort of life and death. 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 real, like,
you hike past people who have died on your way to the summit. And, you don’t help
them out of the ability to stay alive yourself. I have an experience of
that, and it’s a crazy responsibility to both have and not have. And, it has to be a piece
of the psyche, fear, like everyday. You are in arguably
one of the most dynamic weather environments – Just so dynamic, right. – that you can possibly
be in on this planet. And, you’re doing all those
things simultaneously. How in the hell do you not
get paralyzed with fear? – So I think that, for
me, which I can only speak to this experience of myself. – You’re so good at that. – For me, 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. To clarify, when 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’ve actually like turned around on the way to the summit
of Everest to help a climber descend in that exact scenario. And, that felt right to me. It doesn’t always work that way. Like, it’s not always that obvious. – Black and white, yeah. – Yeah, so 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 this 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 that fear that comes with risk. But, when you’re confronted with, I mean 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 where they can be cremated 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 know that that’s
what you’re going into. And, climbing big
mountains, you don’t think that’s ever what you’re going to go into. And, so there’s this side
of it that could rise up that is this fear is
paralyzing because you know (fingers snapping) millisecond. There’s zero reason why
that person was there instead of me. 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 ’cause 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
really deep, I think, human and innate fears
of death and unknowns around death. And, we do all sorts of
things to prevent our deaths, you know presumably everyday. 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 I think I live
a hyper alert existence in all areas of my life. I definitely walk into
a room and look up first and make sure there’s no overhead hazards before I like enter. – You’re trained to pay attention. – Yeah, it’s like sensitized me in ways that like probably normal
people don’t look at, you know like aren’t quite as cued up to. – So the scaffolding that’s hanging. – Yeah actually was like I don’t know if, no, ’cause there’s no person operating it. So it took out the objective hazard. It’s just like a static hazard. But, then I think it’s
like a good thing in a way because it sort of
reassures me that it’s okay to have fear and to be
confronted with the reality of death and sudden death
and accidental death ’cause I think death, being
like I’m cool with death, a lot of us can probably get there. I’m cool with accidental
death, kind of a harder thing to get cool with, you know? It kind of probably makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable to
think about that right now, but I also think it sort of puts in check that normal fear that we all have, unless, I have to tell you the
truth of it, it’s less in regards to myself
’cause if I die, I die. Like, I’m done. I don’t care really how I die. I’m not there to grieve my death. It’s like thinking about
people I love dying. That’s where the fear for me comes in. And, I say this, you
know I had an accident happen climbing with a climbing partner, and my climbing partner died. I did not obviously, and I,
in the end of that experience, I said so many times, and
I still hold to this day, the easier thing would’ve
been if I would’ve died. You know because dealing with
people close to you dying is so hard. And, that’s where the fear lives for me. It’s like I fear another
accident like that. I fear that happening. But, then being constantly communicating and like existing as a
guest on nature’s terms makes me feel better
about it ’cause 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 be in the flow with knowing
that it could stop. – Snap. – Yeah, exactly. – Advice to other folks. There’s a fear that keeps
people from doing things. It’s maybe a little less
prescient than death in the Khumbu ice fall. But, advice? – I think fear to fail
is the biggest thing. And, I have always sort
of mentally put failure as like fail and live are
the same word sort of. So if I take an action as a fear to fail, I’m taking it as a fear to
live ’cause failure is– – Wait, say that one more
time, that was so fast. – (laughing) Work with me here. Yeah, so like I replace the word fail. ‘Cause I think it’s easy to
be like I’m afraid of failing with the word live. – I’m afraid of living. – And, so I’m afraid of
living because, in a way, living is failing. Like we’re just gonna repetitively fail, 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 start failing at
everything else again. And, to be not afraid of living ’cause 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 take your ego out
of it and don’t make it so personal when you fail. ‘Cause 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. There’s very few things you’re just gonna blatantly succeed at. And, what a snooze, right? Like honestly, you’re
probably not gonna keep pursuing those things. You know it’s a process. The good stuff comes from failing. So that’s where, to me, I just
mentally shift it to living. So that’s like the advice
especially to young people. ‘Cause I feel like, again,
the gifts of my parents and sort of being untethered
in the way that they were, 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. Like, you’re not dead. It’s okay. You’re gonna then just do something else. And, of course there’s
tangible, and I get this all the time. You don’t understand. Wait till you have a
mortgage, wait till you have like a family, wait
till you have all this, and then you’ll understand. And, 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
you kind of just gotta be okay with taking that
little feeling of falling and knowing that it’s
gonna stop eventually and try to make that a
soft landing if you can. But, know that it’s cool if it’s not. – So much wisdom baked into there. – There you go. That’s all the answers. – I’m gonna shift gears now, and I’m go to a little bit more about you personally. – Yes, I’m Sagittarius which
if that wasn’t clear already. (Melissa and Chase laughing) – So that’s a December birthday. – Wow, so good. – I only know like five. – That’s like what a sister or something. Yeah, like the people
in your immediate life that you know. You’re like, oh you must be an Ares. – So, and we’ve talked about this. We’ve talked about it off camera. We’ve been friends for a long time. Do you see yourself doing this forever? What do you translate this into? Do you have an idea of what
you’re pulling on right now? Where is it going? ‘Cause do you keep walking uphill slowly? Or, do you go to other mountains? I’m answering the question
that I’m going to ask a little bit. But, I know that you want to get back and part of your connection to Everest has been the Juniper Fund. So maybe talk a little bit
about where your sort of mastery of this universe, 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. When I’m on a mountain climbing actively, and people say oh what
are you gonna do next, or what peak are you gonna climb? I always say that’s like
calling out somebody else’s name when you’re like with your boyfriend. You can’t do that. Like I can’t cheat on this mountain. 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 master plan that’s written out in my
life that’s like 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 too much rigidity in where I think I’m going. And, so I’m 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 founded a
nonprofit which supports 39 families, and I do this out
of the goodness of my heart. It’s like I don’t have time to do this. I don’t have any skillset to do this. I’m not good at doing this. But, I saw that passion
that was necessary, 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, that
accident I was alluding to was with a climbing partner of mine who was a Nepali Sherpa
and a close friend. He worked in the United States. We’d formed a close relationship over the preceding couple
years climbing together. And, on a climb we were doing
together, he was killed. And, he has 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’ve
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’ve brought
because I felt responsible. He was with me, you know? I felt like that was
the right thing to do. I quickly realized the
impact that that small thing had in their lives was
massive because it allowed them to sort of 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 this is a need that many families have. And, they aren’t, I don’t
think that family’s 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
here take this money, I feel so bad. But, like how can we make
this situation better. – Yeah, and recurring and sustainable. – Yes, sustainable. Yeah and so, so many families, especially of the Nepali
workers, the economics in Nepal are crazy. It’s like the third
poorest non African country in the world. You know their main export is tourism, and then they have like power
that they sell to India. The economics are really volatile. They don’t have a constitution. There’s just a lot of things
going on in the country that are challenging. So the local workers that
work in the mountains, they expose themselves
to incredible risks, sometimes that result in
death, and they don’t have a support structure from the government, from individuals unless
they’re just 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 and mentor who you know we climbed Kilimanjaro with, yes. Way more stylish than I am honestly, also. I’m glad you didn’t have us on together ’cause I would feel like way
out styled by the two of you. We both had been working in
Nepal at that point for awhile, and we both recognized this
need to do something bigger. And, I said this model of what I’ve done with Chuwong’s family seems
like it’s working really well. And, so we started the
Juniper Fund in 2012. And, what we do is we pay the
families of local mountain workers who are killed in
the mountains while working. We pay them a cost of
living grant for five years. So it’s a temporary grant,
so they don’t become financially dependent on us. And, it’s about equal to
what a year’s salary would be for an average worker. It’s $3,000 a year every
year at the same time. It’s nondiscretionary. We don’t tell them this has
to be used for education, or this has to be used for something else. We let them choose what
they want, give them that freedom back, that
power back that they once had when their primary breadwinner
was bringing home a paycheck. And, we also create
opportunities for those families to become fully financially independent. So we provide vocational training, classes for widows, brother,
whomever is the family member that’s benefiting, and mothers. And, then we provide small business grants so that they can open
their own businesses. And, I think right now I
have to totally like do the counting. I think we have somewhere
between five to seven businesses. – Well we have Christina, right here. – How many total businesses? I mean she’d probably have
to do the counting too because we were just over in Nepal, and we just started a
couple more right now. – We have a chicken farm
and five restaurants. – Yeah, a chicken farm and
five restaurants at this time. – That’s wonderful. – That came from you
know training these women in restaurant management. And, then we’re putting you
know another handful of women and men through language
classes, a variety of language classes too. One guy’s taking Korean classes,
a lot of English classes, and so that they can
better their own situation. So at the end of the
five years, they can be through that primary grieving period and have some sort of ability
to be financially stable and empowered. And, I did not ever foresee
how big it would become. That accident I mentioned where 16 workers were killed in on
accident changed the face of the Juniper Fund ’cause suddenly we had 16 families we anticipated
about two or three a year. And, we had 16 in one year. And, then the following
year, the earthquake happened in Nepal, and we added
another 14 families. So as of today, we have 39 families. And, we’re committed to
supporting all of them for five years, and then
continuing to be supportive of them through the rest of
their lives or our lives. And, that to me is the
most meaningful work of my life honestly. If you’re going to
write something about me on, you know my obituary, it’s
like I hope that that leads. I’d rather be known as
somebody who had a positive social impact in a country
that’s so important to me and has given me so much and has given me that sort of accolade
and propelled my career. I would love to be know for having done something positive to help
contribute back to that country. And, I’m not doing it. You know like you’re all doing it. You can donate to the
Juniper Fund yourselves. It’s not me paying my money. You know I’m spending my time,
and I am paying my money, but it’s just generous donors. I mean really most of our
donations come from private donors who have either been impacted by an experience in Nepal or
who just like the mountains and say, yeah giving a
couple hundred dollars to this cause is truly meaningful. And, our monies are going
to support these families in a really cool way. – Yeah, I think there’s
something about being a part of a thing that has so much impact where you can actually feel– – Oh, it’s like real tangible. – Yeah, it’s very, very
tangible, and some money goes a long way. You know the families and the families are verifiably under duress. – Well, and I go and seen them early on in the process after
an accident’s happened, and then continue to visit with them again and again over the years. And, it is like meeting
different people every time because the process of
grief and the process, because they’re in two
types of grief, right? Like the loss of somebody you love and also the fear of how
am I going to survive now, just eating. And, that is something
that like we just don’t experience very much in the West. It’s not something we have
a lot of like government welfare programs that
prevent that from being a real reality for a lot of people. And, it’s not to say it doesn’t exist, but it’s less common. So to see people more from
this totally griped with fear, to, I mean, women who by no
measure of their imaginations do they ever think they
would own their own business and be making enough money
to put their kids in school and be like fully
flourishing and sustainable. It’s just the most beautiful
and wonderful thing. And, I think a real testament
for me to how passion can be successful to
kind of like turn it back to what we were talking
about at the beginning. Is that if you want to
see a business fail, like just fail, no parachute type failing, ask two mountain guides
to like run a nonprofit. Like, that’s a great
way to watch something just like tank. But, this is so meaningful,
and like these highly unprepared two mountain
guides, Dave Morton and myself, who are like
also working full time are trying to like scrape
together like A, the paperwork to get like an approved
nonprofit, and then like be responsible with the money
that we’re trying to raise and get it to the families
and get this all going into this now highly
functioning system that we have that’s like a really
functional, low overhead, high impact nonprofit
that I am embarrassed and proud to be attached to. I’m embarrassed ’cause
I’m like I have no right to be doing something
that’s this successful ’cause I know nothing
about this, like zero. – But, there’s a
beautiful lesson in there, is there not? – There is such a beautiful lesson ’cause I think when you
think again about bringing it into the middle section
of like fear n’stuff, I don’t fear walking under
big seracs that could kill me. I fear like sitting at a desk and having to fill out forms to make
sure that our nonprofit is properly registered. Like terrifying, I just can’t possibly. It makes me feel short of
breath even thinking about that. So I did it, and then I got smart, and I hired somebody, thanks Christine, who’s much better at doing it than me and can help us be more effective. And yeah, it’s a total lesson in the fact that like I think no matter what it is, and I always say this is true too, intention is worth two-thirds of action. Like when your intentions are really good even when your actions
are kind of mediocre ’cause you don’t know what you’re doing, it kind of fixes itself
in a way and that’s kind of nice. – People will be more likely to listen and forgiving and help.
– And help you, yeah. I’m not doing this so
anybody knows I did it. I’m doing this ’cause
it’s a total necessity, and I am not good asking people for money, but I am much less good
at sitting at a table with a widow who’s crying and telling her I can’t help her. You know so you prioritize which thing is less uncomfortable. Asking people for money
is way less uncomfortable than like sitting with grieving widows, for sure, hands down. Like definitely. – That’s compare perspective. There’s so many things that you said in that last moment
whether it’s referencing Christine, Christina, or Christine? – Christine. – Christine, whether it’s
referencing Christine and the team that you guys have– – Christine, and Dave,
and I who run the show. – Have like born, or your relationship with the climbing partner
with whom your life is literally, not even figuratively– – Tied to. – Literally tied to and
tied to success together and failure together. Talk to me a little bit
about sort of teamwork in your career on the
mountain, and your nonprofit. It’s obviously a theme. – I have some awesome
metaphor cliches for you here. – Okay. – So something that
Dave Morton, this mentor who is the cofounder of
the Juniper Fund with me, we talk a lot about this, and
he calls it the brotherhood of the rope. And, what it is when
you’re attached together by a climbing rope is
that you stop using words because your communication
comes from your movements, and you can feel each other’s movements. And, you always know that
you’re moving towards the same objective, and
if one person’s moving at a quicker speed than the
other, you have to figure out how to fix that ’cause you can’t move at two different speeds,
and you can’t move in two different directions. And, so there’s this real
reality of just like projecting in life that you’re kind of
always in the brotherhood of the rope with somebody whether that’s like a personal
relationship that you’re in, whether that’s your friendships, whether that’s your professional growth. You’re in these sort
of roped relationships where you’re communication with words kind of ceases ’cause
it’s not easy to hear, not easy to understand, and you instead are in this like intuitive
line of this is a thing between us that allows us,
as long as we’re moving towards the same objective,
figure out how to move at the same pace and
figure out how we assess hazards together. And, you become like this
single little amoebic thing rather than this individual. You’re a new kind of
individual that includes somebody else. And, I honestly thing that
like being a self-centered person is probably more
challenging in some ways than caring about somebody else ’cause it’s easy for me to
care more for somebody else’s health, happiness, wellbeing, and comfort than maybe my own sometimes. And, so you suddenly
are attached to somebody who you’re so concerned with their health, happiness, wellbeing, and forward motion, that you disregard the
discomforts that you’re feeling ’cause you’re moving for
the unit not for yourself. So I don’t know if that little metaphor– – That’s amazing. – That was hard to make up all on the spot right there. All I had was brotherhood of the rope. I had no idea where it was gonna go. – But, clearly you know it intuitively because you’ve lived it
– I lived it, yeah. – for you entire career, right? – Yeah, and I do think that it’s like, yeah, you team takes on a whole new thing. ‘Cause I do think that so
often what we’re striving for is individual success, but
it’s born through, I mean there’s no such thing
honestly to be totally clear. Even the most single
individual, successful person that we can think of
who we say that person is successful, their
success is born from tons of brotherhoods of ropes. I mean there’s so many
ropes they’re attached to that have gotten them to this point. And, that is most definitely true for me. I thought that, you know I really wanted to like climb Everest
without the assistance of anything including supplemental oxygen. It’s like a very childish
defiance that I’ve maintained since I was like about three. I can do it myself, like
that’s basically what I said. – I could never think
of you in those terms. So surprising.
– Are you shocked? So shocking. – We’ve spent a lot of time together. (Chris laughing) – I need to everything myself. Like don’t help me put
on my backpack, go away. Yeah, and so this was in my
mind like this grand display of like I can do it myself. I don’t need your help
oxygen, necessary element for all of our survival. I don’t need you. Like, I got this. But, at the same time,
this is interesting. When I was on the final push for 14 hours to the summit of Everest without oxygen moving just death crawl slowly. I had a lot of time to
think, not a lot of oxygen to think, but I do remember thinking about the fact that I
was being moved along by all of the people
who had taught me things and believed in me and
even the ones that hadn’t. It was this incredibly solo experience that was so super collaborative. Like, it took all of
that to allow me to have that one success of my own. And, you kind of realize
like embarrassingly I didn’t do this alone. Nothing really is done alone. You know it’s all done with teams. And, I think even when
you’re on these solo sort of journeys internally or externally or whatever, you’re really doing it with the help of a team. And, I think that’s part of cracking code. And, I’m still working deeply on this, but like to be a good team
member and also to be a leader and like know how to be both. Like, that’s the secret
maybe, I don’t know. – Well, let’s go to
leadership for a second because I have had a
very firsthand account of your leadership skills. And, just a quick little context. So Melissa and myself, and
probably, I don’t know, 15 other people, 10 or 15? – Yeah, I think about 15, yeah. – Went to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro which is the tallest peak
in Africa in an effort– – 19,340 feet, pretty high. – Let’s just round up can call it 20. – Yeah, about 20,000 feet. Very high. – I guess you don’t round off in climbing. – It’s a real specific and like nuanced. It’s annoyingly that way. – Fair enough. And, it was to raise awareness for access to clean drinking water. And, it was fun. There was a handful of us,
and we’re sending messages back, and we had folks on the ground. And, there was a bunch
of fancy folks involved. It went all the way to
the Obama White House and to Bono. I think it was reasonably successful. But, the core to anything
that could be called, to use your words, a modicum of success was being on the mountain, being safe, putting one foot in front of another over, and over, and over with a
bunch of well trained people, yourself, Dave. And, it was extraordinary
to watch you lead a group of largely incapable people. (Melissa laughing) – Somewhere in all of
you there was capability, and that is what led to
the success of coming home. – I mean there was literally
there was rockstars, people who were smoking a
pack of cigarettes a day like at base camp before we left. – Like who quit smoking
like to just do this trip, and then pretty much started
smoking like the seventh day when the trip was done. – So I’ve had the good
fortune of seeing you lead. Is that innate in you? Is that something that you have crafted over time being a guide? And, what are the core
characteristics, you feel like? – I think both. I mean I’ve definitely
crafted it being a guide. I’ve sort of like exercised
my leadership muscle all the time. But, like just also I’m a control freak as I mentioned plus like super type A and like leadership suits
me well ’cause I like to be in control of things. But, I also think it
comes partially from being a little bit of a
challenged learner myself. I’m not like your typical learner. I really am super tactile. I have to touch things and see things the exact way you are to truly learn them. So if you teach me something sitting here, I would love to be standing
behind you to learn it ’cause I’d love to see
it from your perspective. And, that has given me, I think what is my greatest asset of
leadership which is empathy. And, I can really see people
in a variety of different, like say you know this
wide range of people who are trying to climb this mountain. Again, we’re all like aligned
towards the same goal, and I can just see,
like rather than feeling judgemental of like what
you are or are not expert at in this realm, I can be really empathetic of who you are as a person and
what you’re bringing to this and how hard it must be to be this far out of your element ’cause
I like being in control, and I like being the expert. I do not do well when
I’m not, and pretty much all of my clients are always that person. Like they’re usually
pretty successful and used to being good at something. And, I have like genuinely
all the admiration in the world for my
clients for being willing to be that vulnerable in
front of me or anybody. And, so I try to, in my leadership, I try to approach it with a type
of empathy and kindness and also just like astute observations of your most fundamental things. And, I think there’s something about being in the mountains when it gets really hard that we like revert
back to being children. So I can kind of pretty quickly see like how you probably responded best to discipline as a child,
and I can figure out if yelling at you is
better than cuddling you, or if cuddling you is
going to work better. We just become very child
like when we’re cold and hungry and like walking up hill and physically exerting ourselves. So I am like basically
always just channeling the inner children out
of people and then like trying to reassure that
inner child in whichever way is possible to let the external adult know it’s cool, like
we got this, you know? And, I also I’m a real optimist
when it comes to people. Like I deeply believe in what, because, and this isn’t trying to
be humble, but like I know where my own mediocrity is, and I know what I’ve been capable of achieving. So I know when somebody
is like putting themselves in front of me, and they’re
like perfectly average, I know what they’re capable of too. Like, I’ve see the inside of me. I know what’s in there. It’s not like something
super exceptional or elite. It’s just pretty normal. And, so I have this deep
belief in other people, of what they’re capable of,
and I’m just always trying to puzzle and crack the
code of how do I help them achieve that too. – We had such a range of
physical ability and talent. – And emotional
preparedness and everything. – To say herding cats
is like the most largest understatement. We’re on the side of a 20,000 foot peak, and there’s no, like– – No, there’s people who
were sleeping outside for the first time in their entire life. And, not just sleeping outside but maybe walking outside
for more than like on a city park for the first time ever. And, then there’s people who
are like really connected to the earth but have
no physical abilities or like desire necessarily
to even be doing this. And, you’re like trying
to figure it all out. It’s really hard. I think the good thing for me
is that I mostly spend time with people who want
to be doing this thing, and they’re like really invested in it for whatever reason. And, if I can try to find that motivation, I can kind of like continuously. I mean I think the best
training for being a leader probably is like a
psychology degree honestly. You know ’cause it’s kind of that. You’re constantly balancing
the psychology of others with yours and how that works together. And, I just want to say not
everybody loves my leadership like shocking as that
may be to you, I know. Not everybody thrives with
my type of leadership. And, I am now at a point in my life where I’m okay with that. Like again, I just know
there’s good fits and bad fits. And, I don’t love everybody
who I interact with, and so why would everybody love me? But, I also feel like I
have spent a lot of time trying to figure out
who does seem to get it, and I constantly find
myself, much like you, randomly mingling back with those people. You know ’cause it’s like,
hey we kind of get each other. This works. And, you weren’t one of
the people that needed a lot of guidance on that trip thankfully ’cause my skills were pretty
maxed out at that point. – Yeah, you were say
herding cats was a massive understatement. It was super, super impressive. When you talk about, I
think there’s an interesting reflection you’re making
about being mediocre at a handful of things. And, you know to what degree
does sort of self eval and honesty, how does that
play into how you approach not just climbing but life? – Yeah, I think everything,
and I think that’s the struggle with our own egos, right? You know, and I don’t
claim to have any sort of expertise in this. I’m just figuring it out. It’s an experiment like
it is for all of us. But, I think that,
somebody said this to me, somebody who I really deeply respect, and he said the only face
I have to look at when I’m shaving in the morning is mine. And, that meant something
to me in a way of like it’s true, but you also have
to look truly all the way in. And, so if I buy the hype
of all the good things people think about me,
I’m not gonna be very nice to be around. I’m gonna annoy you rather quickly. And, if I am mired in
insecurity, same problem. Like it’s hard to be
around me for other people, but it’s also hard to be
around yourself in that way. And, so I think just being willing to remove the distractions
that we constantly shroud ourselves with that prevent us from seeing who we really are and
like actually being honest about your evaluation. I don’t know if buy the
hype is the right way to say it, but I think that’s
probably the most useful skill for all of us whether
there’s external media hype that are writing things
about you, or it’s just your friends around you. You have to be able to
separate what other people think of you, and what you’re
doing, and you’re skillset, and how they believe in
you with what the truth of the situation is. And, it’s not always nice to confront, but it’s important to confront
’cause how can you move if you’re not moving
from a place of honest. It’s like I totally can fly. It’s like no, you can’t. And, belief is not going to get you there. You know it’s just not going to. And, it’s like, okay
maybe creativity can say I can create a way to fly. Well, that’s a more honest sentiment. So trying to constantly,
always figure out that is what I’m always doing. – And, it was fun to watch you in action. – Problem solve? ‘Cause literally I’m problem
solving 15 different people’s complex, dynamic psychology,
plus like weather, plus like anxiety about summiting, plus like production around. So there’s like camera
courage or camera fear going on in a lot of cases. And, just to like keep,
and everybody needed a different kind of either cuddling– – Kicking. – Yeah, kicking or cuddling basically. That’s like my general spectrum. Where do you fit on this spectrum? I’m gonna kick you or cuddle you. And, it’s hard. Yeah, it’s real hard. And, helping people become
honest with themselves. You know the interesting thing
is especially in climbing, my general job as a guide, I always think, is to be a liaison between
you and the mountain and to not otherwise
impact your experience. I’m there to help you differentiate between discomfort and danger. And, if it moves to the realm of danger, I’m gonna do everything I can to keep you and us as a team safe. If it’s in the realm of
discomfort, I’m gonna do everything I can to
encourage you through that with the tools you already
have of how to be okay being uncomfortable. And, people come to me with
a lot of different tools and different developed
skillsets of being uncomfortable. And, some people are just
not good at it at all. So it’s a lot of work. – And, you can’t go with
like I have a blister. You’re like wow. – Or, I’m cold. I’m a little bit cold, like I’m colder than I would be if I was in a temperature controlled room. And, they’re like it’s
an emergency for them ’cause it truly feels like an emergency. It’s like how do I help you know this is not an emergency and feel
safe enough to continue? So the thing I struggle
with more often than not isn’t people’s overconfidence,
it’s their under confidence. It’s that lack of believing in themselves and forming a relationship
that is honest enough. From my side like I
said, I wouldn’t tell you you weren’t a handful if
you were ’cause one thing is if I tell you that,
and you were a handful, our trust is immediately
broken ’cause you know how to be honest with you. You have to look at your
own face in the mirror when you shave. You know you were a handful,
and so you know I’m lying to you. And, so you maybe even
subliminally you don’t trust me anymore. And, so now when I try to
dig deep and pull that thing out of you, you won’t let
me because I’ve broken your trust. So sometimes my clients feel
like I can be hard on them, but it’s for the greater good of me having a really honest relationship with them. So when I say, you have
this, you’ve got this. I know you can do it. This is what we’re gonna
do to get you there. They know I’m not just
like fluffing them along. You know it’s real. – So, God, so much. When you climb a mountain
with someone, like there’s this metaphor we’ve been talking about the whole time. I observed, and I have, you know climbed not that much relative to
someone who’s a professional. Just enough to be dangerous to make films in these environments. – Yeah, be able to keep yourself safe. – Exactly. But, I’ve observed in my own experience and especially on that
trip the mental game. And, like you said it
several times, both sort of cognizantly and in passing. Like, oh yeah, you go into your own head. To what degree do you
think success is mental? – To the degree with
which you think it is. You know so there’s that trap of the mind. So I think that you can
absolutely, 100% talk yourself into or out of anything. So in that way, success is
exactly what you believe it is. More readily, you can talk
yourself out of something. And, especially when you’re uncomfortable and our of your element. So I think about the most common time that it happens where I
see people in their heads where they feel that they’re in danger is about between three
and five in the morning, so just before the sun comes up. It’s the coldest,
darkest hours of the day. You feel like you are out at sea, and there is no islands in view at all. Like you’re just out in the middle of it. The summit seems impossibly far away, and the camp from which you came seems even further away. And, that’s where
people’s mental motivation and their thoughts really
dictate their experience. And, they can stop themselves
or propel themselves either way. So I always find that’s
where my work has to kick in. THat’s where I’ve gotta be
your biggest cheerleader to let you know like this
isn’t awesome for anybody including me. Like, I’m not having fun right now. This is not the fun part. No one’s having fun right now. You know like eat a
cookie, eat a candy bar at three in the morning, and
you’re not drunk in college. And, like that’s winning, right? (Chris laughing) Just let’s find small joys
and then continue moving forward. And, the sun is coming
to come up and as soon as it does, it’s like the world is reborn. – It’s crazy. – It’s crazy what happens
’cause then suddenly you can see where you are. – The lights turn on, for
those of you who don’t know– – The lights quite literally turn on. – When you’re climbing one of these, it’s a multi day, sleep in
the mud, sleep at altitude, altitude sickness
headache, a lot of people not feeling well. It’s very uncomfortable. On the summit day, you are in the dark. You get up about 12:30
or one in the morning. – Yeah, you life is the
sphere of your headlamp. – Yeah, and it’s very cold. You’re in Africa. You don’t think it’s supposed to be cold, but you’re like looking at
snowfields ahead of you. And, you don’t get, like, your world is literally the radius of your headlamp. And, you’re on a rope, or you’re– – In a line with a couple of people. – And, just putting one
foot in front of another and taking a full inhale and exhale every single step because it’s hard work. That is a small, narrow,
scary, often bored. – Yeah, bored, sleepy. I always call it the sleepy time ’cause it’s like the time no
matter how psyched you were when you started at midnight. It’s like three in the
morning, and you’re like– – Okay, how many more– – Shouldn’t I be sleeping right now? – Oh, there’s 12 more hours of walking. – Yeah, and it’s interesting
because, so two things that I do. Every time I have like a
slight inkling of desire inside of me to do something
big, like a big goal that I want to pursue
that has anything to do with climbing or physical
aspect, I reconsider it at that moment. And, I think that that’s
like one of the best barometers I personally have for like is this a good choice for me or not? ‘Cause especially if
there’s cocktails involved, but any time you’re in a
temperature controlled room, big ideas seem always good. Let’s go climb Kilimanjaro. Let’s do it!
– That would be awesome. Here we are. – Everybody decided to
do it in a temperature controlled room. Nobody was like at altitude at three a.m. in the dark deciding to
do it ’cause it’s hard to decide to do it. But, if you can be onboard then, like that’s where I feel like you’re good. Like, you know it’s gonna be hard ’cause at that time the other thing that’s in my mind is like this is so dumb. Like I should’ve learned how to surf. Like there’s so many
better things that I could be doing with my life. Like this is embarrassing that I’m wearing literally all my clothes
right now, freezing. Like, these people are walking quite slow. – We’re all not talking,
just breathing heavy in the dark.
– No one’s talking. This is not fun. I’m hungry, but not really. I’m a little nauseous too. What have I done with my life? Like I had a potential. That’s like going to
the dark place, me too. And, I love this. I’ve made my life about
this because I know that it’s temporary, and I can somehow like mentally get through it. But, it’s my job then to like help you remember that it’s temporary. And often, that involves
like not talking to you. – Just smiling. – ‘Cause that’s like the no coffee, don’t talk to me zone
where you’re just like don’t try to fix it right now. Just know that time is
ticking, and it will get fixed. Like the sun will come
and do magical things to all of us. – That’s very sort of team oriented, and you’re guiding folks
like me and others up a peak. And, then there’s you 250 vertical feet below the summit of Everest,
and you don’t have oxygen. – By the way, 250 vertical feet below the summit of
Everest is about 2 hours of climbing still. Just think about that. With oxygen, it’s about 15 minutes. So there’s like a real
matrix you’ve entered where time and distance no longer apply to each other in the same
ways that they used to. So that’s the first thing that is insane is it’s so slow. – What’s the cognition like? – So I’ve only done it once. I’m not going to try and do it again. So I can only say what was happening really in my mind then. When things are really,
really hard for me, and that was a time
when it was really hard, but also it was easier ’cause
I say how close it was. But, I knew that you
know it’s only halfway ’cause I still have to descend safely. So like getting there,
by no means do I feel this sense of relief,
but I know I’m that close to halfway which feels good weirdly. – Do the math there. – Yeah, do the math,
figure out you’re only in the middle of it. I, when things are really hard, try to go to this mental place, and this is a tool I used
when I started training for these big climbs
by running long races, marathons, ultra marathons, or whatever ’cause I deeply dislike
running, and so I used it as a mental training to say
if I can run a marathon, if I can run for like three or four hours at a time, I definitely can
like climb for you know 15 hours ’cause I like climbing. I don’t like running. But, when it got really hard,
I would go to this place of like dedicating a mile of gratitude towards some person,
place, thing, whatever that had helped me get to where I was. And, I found myself just
really naturally doing that near the summit of Everest. And, it was like this
trudge through the trenches of gratitude of my life, of
all of the people particularly that had offered me any small thing and the smallest of things. And, I literally was in my mind thinking about my first year
working as a mountain guide when that lead guide who
I just totally respected but was super stoic but barely
ever complimented anybody said like, yeah I like
working with Melissa. She’s a hard worker. And, I was thinking about
that, and how that sentence had buoyed me through that
whole first season really. You know and it’s inconsequential. They don’t remember saying it. And, then going deeper into
like the more meaningful relationships in my life with people who had put in the work to believe in me even when I was, you
know waffling or going through massive transitions. I mean that’s how it
felt was like trudging through all of the
wonderful things in my life that had brought me to that moment, and how it was such a shared experience. Like, it was so non solitary. For how alone it really
was, it was so non solitary. It was so built on the
backs of everybody else who had helped me get there. And, I also had this
really intense feeling that it wasn’t the pinnacle
of what my life would be. You know, like I kind of knew. It was like yeah, you know
I’m in the middle of the climb ’cause I still have to descend,
but I’m like in the middle of this life. And, the thing that’s gonna be the thing. Like, I feel immensely proud of myself for sticking with something that’s so hard over eight years. Not like eight minutes or
eight hours, or eight months, like eight years, and
then seeing it through. Like, this has just
now given me a tool set that I can use to do something else. It’s not gonna be the
pinnacle of what I’m gonna do. And, that’s truly what I was thinking. – Wow. – Yeah, I know. And, then I cried. Like I said, I’m not like a crier. I called Christine on the sat phone to tell her that I was there. I was sort of checking in
periodically to let her know in the US and Seattle. So I mean it was the
middle of night I guess ’cause it was the middle of the day there. – Yeah, like up waiting
for the phone call. – Newborn baby, like couple
week old new born baby. – She’s awake. – Up anyway, right. And, I was so super
emotional because there was disbelief really. Disbelief, but also like deep knowledge that I could do it. You know, like it was just
so cool to be at that point of like here I am. I’ve literally worked towards something. It’s hard to work towards something and fail at it so many
times and keep going back and trying again. And, I think that’s what
people could ridicule. It’s like why go back? Why go back? And, all I can say is I
needed that 250 vertical feet of gratitude to sort of like re-anchor me into not thinking I am
just some amazing person. Like I needed to re-root
myself to the fact that those first steps I
took, my very first peak I ever climbed to the summit
of when I was 19 years old and like seeing the
mountains for the first time are what got me to the summit of Everest. It wasn’t those steps actually walking to the summit of Everest. It was every single thing
that happened along the way. – Wow. – Yeah. – I could talk to you forever. – Let’s do. – Let’s do. – We won’t keep any more of your time. – Yeah, we should probably
turn the cameras off. We’ll keep talking. What’s the best way for people
to pay attention to you? Are you just Melissa Arnot? – Yep. Yeah, so Melissa, A, R, N, O, T. All the social media, I try to keep people apprised to all the different adventures that I’m doing. And, you can always
check my website and see what kind of things are going on. – And, the Juniper Fund. – Yep, A lot of people ask about juniper. It’s burned as sort of a
cleansing and protecting thing in the Buddhist culture, so
that’s why we selected that. You can check out and see what things we’re doing. And, you can actually
see some of the pictures of the businesses that we support and the families who we’re
actually currently supporting. – It’s incredible, the
work that you’re doing. – Thank you. – Thank you for being a
mountain guide in part, but also a guide for
this conversation here. Thank you so much, and
it’s so good to see you. It’s been a little bit too long. – I know. – Not this long again. – No, definitely not this long again. It’s a great honor to be
able and sit here and chat with you. – Oh. You guys, thanks so much for tuning in. I look forward to seeing you guys again probably tomorrow. – I won’t be here tomorrow. (Melissa laughing) You’re on your own. (rock music)

11 thoughts on “Persevering through Failure with Melissa Arnot Reid | Chase Jarvis LIVE

  • I think this is my least Favorite guests aside from her "Humility"

    I like her but I would not watch another talk by her such as a ted talk… And I have No intrest on mountain climbers^ And that I mean literal figurative or even philosophical I am so sick of the Find your passion Advice

    Her bit about there is alot between here and there Ie You now vs You who actually climbs is intresting and LIKE always its glossed over and painted with rose colored Vague terms*

    Find your Truth avoid distractions
    Its Too vague

    and I got about 1/3 in and realized I tuned out totally

  • Climbing Everest 6 Times? Beyond me. Try the mountains in Pakistan if you really want to test your metal. Everest (8848m) have been sumitted 6000 (+) Times , k2 (8611m) have been sumitted only 300 Times. Pakistan is home to 5 of the 14 eight thousand plus peaks which challenges the climbers to the core. K2 is the only 8000 m peak never sumitted in winter. Try that please

  • This is so inspiring! I’m an avid climber and backpacker in my free time and Everest is my goal within the next five years, it means so much to see another woman who wanted it and has done it.

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