This word has resonated with me for as long as I can remember. Defined as the ability to suffer something painful or difficult patiently. My family and I are now two weeks into our Wild Parks Family adventure! We are planning on experiencing all 63 of the U.S. National Parks over the next three summers with a few trips during the off season to some of the more remote parks. This has been a journey years in the making and shift from an original goal of experiencing all of the parks before my son Hudson turned 18 years old. I love that my wife has a similar fanatic/outlier spirit as myself when it comes to adventure. The ability to pivot from an original goal when you realize you can make it happen quicker to maximize the experience and move onto the next endeavor has marked our marriage since we’ve been together these past eight years.

One of the joys of long road trips, like this 70-day summer adventure to kick it off seeing all the national parks, is the time listening to audio books and podcasts. The first audiobook on my list was “Endure” by Cameron Hanes. I only know Cameron through some other ultra-athletes that I have trained with, crewed for, and met over the years. I started following along some of Cameron’s training routines while gearing up for Uberman a few years back, and I was inspired by his focus and dedication to his craft. I have never been a hunter, so his fascination with bowhunting doesn’t resonate with me, however the spirit behind his passion and a focused attention on a goal definitely hits home.

As I was listening to “Endure” I was immersed into the story that Cameron laid out and how it spoke to my heart and soul to push myself harder in the activities I pursue. The aspect of the journey that stuck with me the most was how Cameron not only pursued bowhunting with a razor-sharp focus and intensity, but also completed these endeavors as a family man while working full time. These are the outliers that stick out to me, guys like Frank Fumich, who seems to have an unending amount of energy, time, and vacation. You’ll see him on the top of Mt. Denali, then running back-to-back marathons flying all over the place, and in the next few days he’s off relaxing with his family at the beach. It would seem indulgent, however a few days later you’ll see him posting photos of sunrises as he personally works with the team of the company he owns loading meals on planes. This is followed up by incredible stories of his workers and how he is setting them up with housing, reconnecting them with their families from other countries, and then throwing out these massive fundraisers and awareness campaigns for individuals that cross his path and he feels compelled to help. Outliers, fanatics, people who endure for greatness.

This next season in life I’m planning on leaning back into a season of prolonged endurance. It’s been almost six months since coming out of a year of limited capacity, and I’ve taken the time to start pushing the barriers and see how my body and mind are responding. So far, the wheels are staying on the wagon so it’s time to start ramping up the speed and refortifying the weak points.

I’m so grateful knowing that there are guys like Cameron, Frank, and many notable others that make us uncomfortable. We look at what they are doing and how much they are sacrificing and disciplining themselves and it reveals our own complacency at times. I’m thankful for this summer to spend an enormous amount of quality time with my family, with nature, and with my own thoughts and the abundant resources of this digital world that we can tap into. I also can’t help but ask myself what is my “one thing” that drives me to obsession. For Cameron Hayes, it’s bowhunting. Everything that he does is training to be a more accurate, ethical, compassionate, and skilled bowhunter and to bring more people into the sport. I have so many passions: Faith, family, education, business, endurance sports, international exchange, travel, social causes, and community. “Service Above Self” is a term that I learned from Rotary years ago that pulls all these concepts into one for me. The more skilled, disciplined, educated, and compassionate I am, the larger impact I will have to serve.

Thank you, Cameron, for the reminder to lean into the task at hand, till the soil, and put in the work. With great humility, tenacity, and joy, we can take on each task one by one with a steadfast spirit and endure.

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