There’s a phrase we use at work that captures the essence of how we ought to approach life: Full-Ass. (Although I don’t know why we don’t say Full-Butte, given our unique location.) Say what? No, it’s not that we like big butts and we cannot lie. We are simply committed to defying half-assery in the pursuit of putting the entirety of our heart and soul into what we do, whether we are out on the slopes with clients, sitting at a desk working on a holiday video, or making up for lost creative time in the late night hours at home. We do everything with purpose and determination. Because the people we work with depend on us for a safe, empowering experience, there are no half-assed attempts allowed.
As I made my slow ascent up Tramway on my heavy clunker of a mountain bike yesterday afternoon, legs burning and fatigued from the morning’s intense yoga class and the steady incline from the valley to the foot of the Sandias, the coined phrase of our executive director popped into the forefront of my mind. Regardless of the unrelenting burn created by the constant torque in my ever-spinning legs or the numbness that made my rear feel anything but full, I was on a mission to ride to the base of the tram. No exceptions.
My dad and I are naturally gifted with this mentality of full-assery. Funnily enough, we tend to set off on adventures with a mindset of “oh, we’ll just see how far we get,” when – truthfully and tacitly – we begin with the goal of getting to the top, regardless of the initial limitations we place on our capabilities. It’s always about reaching the summit and pushing ourselves to the next level. At times, our tendency to push the limits has been downright ridiculous. Flashback to spring break 2015: hiking to the top of Angels Landing in the ice and snow without crampons (the first time I felt as though I was flirting with death…why did I press on through foot-wide passages covered in ice and surrounded by a thousand foot drop? Oh, that’s right. Full-Assery).
Of course, a 28-mile bike ride up to the tram and back is nowhere near the craziness echelon of our jaunt up Angels Landing, but we began the ride with our typical, “Oh we’ll start the trek and see how far we feel like going” statement and ended up pushing past the doubt and low expectations to arrive at the destination our hearts were truly set on from the start.
ASC’s dedication to Full-Butte’d achievement came to me smack dab in the middle of the ride up the 13-mile hill, just when I realized I was too far along to give up and too close to the tram to allow my legs to stop their constant revolution. Though my legs begged for a rest from the never-ending resistance, I willed my feet to continue orbiting on their pedals, battling my mind’s natural tendency to convince me I’m not strong enough, I’m too tired to push through the discomfort.
And then it dawned on me: discomfort is a prerequisite for growth. We’ve all got to go through the growing pains of struggling uphill in an out-of-bike-shape body on a heavy mountain bike if we want to become better, stronger versions of ourselves. It is absolutely necessary to be present with the expansion and deflation of our lungs as they provide life-giving oxygen to our hardworking cells, to not give into the nagging pleads of our muscles when they ask us to stop moving as they were designed, to remind ourselves that we are stronger and more resilient than we believe. And though my positive self-talk and encouragement did not rid my ride of the ache, my words made me believe wholly in my power to overcome and push to the top of that final stretch of all-too-steep hill to the base of the tram.
It is my job to give my all – even in the painful push up the foothills – to achieve the growth I need and seek. Hell, it sucks at times. But when I reach that plateau of flat ground, even if just for a couple yards, I quickly regain all clout and can carry on at an increasing velocity with swelling strength and rising confidence. And then the ease of flying downhill to the valley I call home, knowing I gave my all (and could have pushed on farther)? Priceless empowerment.
Let’s be full-assed people, committed to giving everything our best; pushing through the inevitable growing pains of life; and approaching each and every opportunity as an adventure, an invitation to push ourselves to excellence. Because we can do better than half-assing our way through life.