Run Through It


  Run Through It.

Three ways to help Take On challenge

*Featured clothing is Athleta brand*

Having just surpassed Global Mental Health Day, I think it’s important to remind ourselves that no matter how someone’s life is portrayed on social media, WE ALL STRUGGLE. Likes or no likes, 10M followers or none, we all have our downs as well as our ups. And that’s perfectly okay! As a matter of fact, struggling is a big part of life. Think about it: without struggle, what is joy? Without strife, how would we attain a sense of accomplishment? Fulfillment? Or pride?

Our bodies and minds were BUILT to struggle. But even greater, they were built to endure. You are designed to overcome and succeed both mentally and physically. So quit beating yourself up for feeling down once in a while. Instead, enjoy those moments. After all, moments of pain and even suffering can end up being some of the most meaningful of our entire lives, not to mention often lead us to the greatest ones.

Don’t run away from pain. Run through it.

Here are three things that help get me through tough times:

1. Resist dwelling on what’s out of your control

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Shit happens. We all know that. And when it does, a lot of times it’s because of factors out of our immediate control. Unfortunately, we typically want to dwell on why something has happened. Why me? It’s not fair! And we’re right, there are things in life that just pain aren’t fair. However, spending time thinking about them is not only unproductive but can also be self-sabotaging. Time spent focusing on why you got a flat tire and how unnecessary it was, is time you could have spent grabbing your carjack, your spare tire, and getting your butt back on the road. Not to mention, the more you think about why, the worse you feel. Gather your tools and get to work. As hard as it may be, try not to sulk.


2. Take it one day at a time

When going through a tough time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Instead of worrying about how you're going to get all the way to the finish line, break it down into segments. For instance, if you’re stressed about an upcoming school semester, don’t worry about passing the final, focus on getting today's work done. Four months of work can be intimidating until you realize it’s just a series of single days. Whether it’s a stressful relationship, a health problem, or trouble at work, ask yourself: What can I do today, this hour, this very minute to point me in the right direction? Wars are won in small battles, so take on the obstacle course one monkey bar at a time.



3. Run, literally.

I take on "health" with a holistic approach. The mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected and one aspect can affect the others. For me, physical activity plays a huge role in my overall well being. Not only does it help maintain a healthy weight and cardiovascular fitness, it also cleanses my mind and relieves stress. I use jogging and other workouts (wakeboarding, surfing, yoga, the gym) to exert pent up energy and clear my mind. If I'm worked up about something, I literally "work it out" of my system. There's medical evidence that links physical activity to better mental health, but I won't bore you with technical jargon. If you've ever went for a long walk or jog and felt better mentally when you were finished than when you started, you get what I'm saying. And if you haven't, I encourage you to give it a shot. Let me know how it goes. 

I could go on and on about overcoming adversity. Heck, I could write a book about it (and maybe I will), but these are just three of many useful tools and tips to help you face challenge and meet your goals. If nothing else, consider this a friendly reminder that it’s okay to be down, to get emotional, and to struggle. You were designed for it. And you were designed to overcome.

Keep skoling,


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Under Pressure


Managing the expectations of others and pressures of society

If you could do anything in the world, what would you do? If you could chase any dream, what would it be? Now let’s hear why you’re not pursuing it, because chances are, you’re not.

The thought of following our dreams can be absolutely terrifying. So much so that many never even try. But why? There are endless reasons, and the one we rely on most is a financial one. Maybe you’re buried in debt – school loans, medical bills, etc -  and it would be irresponsible to take a financial risk. Or perhaps you have a medical condition that costs thousands of dollars each year, hindering you from investing in an idea or going a month without pay or benefits. 

Unfortunately, there will almost always be financial gamble involved when taking a risk, but chances are the real reason you’re not chasing your dream has to do with other’s expectations of you, real or perceived. 

“She said I couldn’t do it.”
“He'd think I'm dumb if I tried.”

and, of course,
“What will they think if I FAIL?!”

We’ve all heard other people say these things, if not thought them ourselves. But are they meaningful expectations or pressures we put on ourselves? Managing these thoughts along with what we've been told and the expectations of others can be challenging. Especially when the ideas and expectations come from sources we respect, like family. Those around us can be valuable sources of knowledge and advice, even when it's not what you want to hear, so considering the opinions of those close to you is important. But ultimately it's up to you to decide what's best for you

"Honor thy father, but make your own decisions."
- Paulo Cohelo

Society and culture add yet another source of pressure. 

Growing up in the Humble Midwest taught me values and principles I'll forever be grateful for, but the general expectation for one's life is as follows:

1. Graduate high school
2. Go to college
3. Get married
4. Have kids

All in that order and before you’re 30.

Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking that path so long as you are happy and fulfilled. But for those who don’t feel that lifestyle is for them, many still feel the pressure to follow suit. 

I’ve always tended the “push” the rules, but I've also never been able to fully commit to my dreams. Though I graduated high school early and moved across the country to pursue wakeboarding at 17, I still chose to go to college and received a degree in finance, something I wasn't passionate about but figured was a “safe” choice. After graduating, I  immediately took a job in commercial real estate, knowing I couldn’t handle a corporate desk job but also feeling the need for a “back up plan” for my creative endeavors. I attended school and started in real estate simultaneous to pursuing wakeboarding and opportunities in TV and writing. Though my intent was to leverage the instability of a career in the entertainment industry, I wound up half in and half out of all my pursuits and thus couldn't excel in any of them! 

When you're spread thin, it's tough to shine.

I’ve been very fortunate to have had many amazing experiences traveling the world thanks to opportunities in the TV, film, and action sports industries, and real estate has helped pay the bills, but I’ve never allowed myself to fully commit to my creative dreams. I’ve always kept one foot in my “safety plan”, prolonging many of my creative projects and prohibiting me to fulfill my potential.  


Don’t get me wrong, being responsible for one’s self should always be a top priority. Yours truly has some serious medical bills to pay year after year, and I've always taken pride in being self-sufficient. But one also has a duty to at least give themselves a chance at fulfilling their dreams. In order to do so you need to be all in. And that's okay, so long as you’re prepared to take responsibility for the consequences should things not go as planned.


We can all come up with countless excuses for not doing something, myself included. The funny thing is that when I think about it, what’s held me back most isn’t what I’ve been told, it’s what I’ve been telling myself. 

In recent months, I’ve pushed myself to manage the perceived expectations that hold me back. I've tried to pinpoint the sources of my hesitation and focus on my own voice versus what others tell me or what I think they’d tell me if I told them my dreams. Oftentimes what we assume people’s expectations are is actually competently different than reality.


My friend, mentor, and all around badass, Mike Smith, recently published his first book, Legacy Vs Likes (get it here), and in Chapter 4 he talks about the pressures we feel:

“What’s the excuse bouncing around inside your brain telling you not to try? Whose voice is in your head making you doubt yourself? Is it a parent, a bully, a boyfriend or girlfriend? We all have that voice we allow to tell us we can’t do something, and too often, we let that outside voice become our own.”
– CH 4, 'Legacy Vs. Likes'

To allow ourselves to go "all in", we have to separate our own voice from those of the people around us and the pressures we feel from society. 

I’m not encouraging a single mom of four to bet the mortgage on an unrealistic dream, but if you’re willing to work your ass off, deal with the consequences of the outcome (good or bad), and are so passionate about something you can feel it in your bones, I say you gotta give ‘er. No one wants to die wondering.

So, let’s try this again: If you could follow any dream, what would it be? And no matter what you’ve been told, taught, or encouraged to do or not to do, what are you telling yourself

“If you do what’s safe your entire life, who will you become?”  
–Mike Smith

Thanks for reading and keep on skol-ing,



A Survivor

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“A cancer survivor? So, you’re in remission?”

Over the past ten years I've been faced with this question countless times but answering it never gets easier. “Well, actually no,” is always the beginning of my response. Given my unique health situation, the answer is complex.

Because there's still cancer in my bloodstream, and I’m still actively being treated with daily chemotherapy, technically I am not in remission (and may never be). For year's, the situation has lead me to examine the subject of "survivorship".

Having not officially “beat” cancer, is my status as a "survivor" tarnished? What does being a survivor mean in the first place? 

The formal definition of “survivor” is:

A person who survives (duh), especially a person remaining alive after an event in which others have died.

From what I understand, many people view survivorship as a destination: someone having faced and overcome a certain event granting them a lifetime membership in the Survivor's Club. However, I don’t consider being a survivor a result of a certain success; I believe it’s the reason for it. Like the age-old conundrum of the chicken and the egg, we can ask the same of survivorship: What came first - overcoming an obstacle or being a survivor? I have nothing to say about the chicken and the egg but I do have thoughts on this one:

“Whoa whoa whoa, I was a badass before cancer, alright?” 

“Whoa whoa whoa, I was a badass before cancer, alright?” 

Most often, being a survivor comes first.

I frequently get praise for having battled cancer, and do NOT get me wrong here – I am humbled and filled with pride each time someone recognizes the battle I have and continue to fight - but what’s important to me is that people understand that it wasn’t cancer that made me a survivor.

Of course, I learned a lot from the experience and continue to be affected by my disease each day. But cancer isn’t what made me tough. It didn’t produce within me the resilience, grit, or the will to live and get through some severely dark times. I possessed those traits before I was diagnosed and those are what allow me to survive.

I suppose it may be a series of events early in life – our environments, upbringing, and experiences – that instill most of our virtues, but from what I’ve experienced, those traits are set early on.

The point here is that whether or not I’m in remission doesn’t decipher whether I’m a survivor. Heck, having cancer doesn't even matter, not to mention how much of it is still lingering in my veins.

 What defines us is the way in which we choose to live our lives. It’s the principles we live by and the way we approach and deal with situations, not the outcomes. 

We each have our own unique battles. Whether it’s cancer, poverty, negative self-talk, a deep dark secret, issues with body image, anxiety, obesity, a broken home, or a toxic relationship – and while some are more severe than others, we all have something. Though none of us can take full control of our external situations, ie. we can’t control what happens to us, we can all control the ways in which we handle them. I can’t fully control the how the cancer acts (though taking my chemo meds consistently does help, hah), but I can choose how to deal with it.

There are plenty of survivors out there who’ve lost their battles. These individuals were not weak nor did they ever give up; they were simply overcome by science and elements out of their control. But they fought with courage and poise, and that’s what makes them survivors.

And then there are people who have lived through certain experiences but go on with life in a flurry of complaints, moaning and groaning their way through each day. Are they actually surviving? Or merely living?

So, what is a survivor? To me, a survivor is someone who faces their obstacles with bravery and dignity. Someone who doesn't make excuses but takes responsibility for their actions and doesn’t need others’ recognition to feel proud of themselves. Because in their hearts they know what they’ve battled, and that's enough. 

Being a survivor isn’t about being “cured”. It’s not about your hair growing back, having a tumor removed, or having successful treatment. It’s about how you live your life. It’s about how you react when faced with adversity and how you face your problems each day. Surviving isn’t overcoming one standalone event and living free of strife thereafter. It’s is an ongoing battle and the willingness to face that fight with grace and pride. No matter what the challenge.

Surviving is a way of life.

Every day we encounter challenges, some ongoing and some new. And the good news is that no matter what their nature, and no matter how one's dealt with challenges in the past, with each new struggle we're given the opportunity to survive. Whether we succeed or fail is dependent on how we choose to react, not whether the issue departs. We can't control our situations, but we ultimately choose whether or not we survive. 

I didn't need to beat cancer to be a survivor and neither do you.