Yesterday, my therapist and I had an awesome conversation about how things seem to fall apart and get torn down after they've been built up in our minds, our hearts and our lives.
Over and over again, it seems, this process repeats itself where we apply ambitions and efforts toward something and move it up a mountain only to get to the top of said mountain and see yet another peak that must be climbed.
Obviously, in order to reach the new peak, you have to throw out the ambitions, assumptions and attitudes that got you up the peak you're currently standing on and start over.
With each repetition of this process throughout life, the muscle memory associated with climbing, the journey of building something with your own energy, emotionally, mentally and physically, you get stronger.
The peaks get higher and the lows seemingly get lower, too, but what's truly happening isn't that the valleys are lower, but that your depth of emotion and understanding gets deeper so you're willing and able to allow yourself to go down there. Too few of us are, but those that continue going understand the truth of this journey. The few are willing to go down there because it's not the next peak that makes it worth it, but the next climb.
My life is in a great place right now because I'm enjoying the climb now more than ever before. Some may call it living in the present, but to me it's a climb. I feel I've been climbing each day of my life; nothing has been given, nothing taken with the exception of the steps.
These steps are steadier than they've ever been because I have the benefit of a solid foundation of family and friends. I have an amazing and balanced romantic relationship with Susannah. I have a great city and a nice place to call home in Austin; and I try to give as much back to this city as I take from it through the service of others. I have creative outlets and interests - along with people to discuss and share these passions - to match my professional ambition and focus with Localeur. The opportunities around me are truly special and only matched in value by the unique challenges and tribulations I've had to face to help shape the person I've become.
From my father's absence in my childhood and growing up without the financial comfort many of my peers experienced to pursuing a college degree and a professional lifestyle without a clear previous example of success within my family and going through both failed businesses and failed relationships, each individual mountain I've climbed has helped me to better understand myself, better understand the situations and better prepare for the ensuing climbs down each mountain and up the next.
This year, I've been doing a lot of work to tear down any naive or unnecessary assumptions I had about what a successful life would look like and how I could get there. I'm blessed to be a natural risk taker, so I've been doing this constantly for years, but this year in particular has been truly eye-opening because I've become much more cognizant of the huge, Mount Everest-sized chip I've carried on my shoulder for my whole life.
That chip on my shoulder has helped me get to where I am today. Helped me do things others wouldn't dare do. Helped me pursue routes that seemed challenging to others. Helped me aim for success in alternative ways. Helped me lead Localeur with Chase to where it is today.
But I'm ready to ditch it now. That's my next mountain. The one in which I create my own definition for success that is 100% rooted in what matters to me and 0% on what matters to others not contributing to my journey.
I have a healthy understanding of the mountain I'm climbing today as a person, as a son, brother, lover, friend, entrepreneur, leader, team member and particularly as a Black founder/CEO in tech where the mountain is temporarily and wrongfully being measured in valuations rather than value created. I see the mountain(s) I'm climbing, the many rocks of life that reside underneath my feet each step I take, and I am inspired.
I am not inspired by the peak ahead. I am inspired that getting here required me to climb many mountains before, and that I not only climbed them, but that I learned many of the lessons God wanted to teach me and continue to allow myself to feel the depth of emotion and experience that catapult me up the mountain to the highs of accomplishment and fulfillment. I climb.