Inspiration points with author of No Barriers, Erik Weihenmeyer:
Is proving to yourself that you can meet your goals the final point of success? There comes a point where you realize that you have to use the things you’ve learned from your struggles and your accomplishments to elevate people, to make it go beyond you.
Idea of alchemy: take the adversities in your life, big scale and small scale- let those propel you forward to take you places that you wouldn’t go to any other way.
- People can be quitters, campers, or climbers.
- No matter who we are, we are going to get beat down. How do we use that as an advantage in life to move forward?
“Do you think that this is a terrible journey that is going to swallow you up and suck you down into nothingness? or is this a good journey?” You have to make that decision.
“Courage is something you practice”
[00:17] Welcome to The Ziglar Show, where we inspire your true performance. I’m your host Kevin Miller and right now my co host Mark Timm and I bring you…Erik Winemayor. Imagine climbing Mount Everest and the seven summits, earth’s greatest peaks. Then imagine kayaking the Grand Canyon, all 277 miles of it, one of the most challenging rivers on earth. Sound impressive? Now close your eyes and imaging doing them…blind. Cause that is what Erik did. They dynamics involved in doing such a thing equate to someone with a profound experience and ability in things like…overcoming fear and discomfort. Faith. Perseverance. Joy. and much more. But it’s not just about Erik being a veritable superhero. He does these things to inspire others. All others, as he believes we all have handicaps we must deal with and big obstacles to overcome. This isn’t a drill sergeant approach however, but one of great faith and compassion.
[01:32] Connect with all Erik is doing at www.touchthetop.com
[01:42] Here then, my cohost Mark Timm and I bring you are mesmerizing conversation with…Erik Winemayor
[01:52] Erik, aside from the many other reasons to like you, I fell in love with the rockies and personally claimed Jesus in the foothills outside of Ft. Collins, so it’s great to welcome a fellow Coloradoan and Rocky Mountain neighbour!
[02:11] Yeah, we are in the golden Coloradoan which is right in the foot of hills, really beautiful place. Right for hiking and rock climbing, climbing up the canyon, kayaking, all the stuffs I like.
[03:26] The back of your book says, “Erik doesn’t climb mountains to break records… Instead he operates from a need to prove to himself what he can accomplish and to use his story to help others.” If you were no longer allowed to communicate with others and use your story to inspire people, would it change your personal pursuit of massive feats?
[03:52] Well, I think in some ways it may be because you know at some point I think everybody realizes along the way, you know you are doing big things, whether it is physical or struggling trying to do something in business world or whatever it may be. When you reach a point like standing on a mountain, is that the final point, is that the thing like pounding my chest and proving that I can do this, and I think I have struggled with that. Because that is the high, that is the wonderful thing. It makes you feel proud and emotionally high and you realize there is another step and you came down from mountain and you come back to world, into life, use those thing you learn, you struggle to elevate people, to your community, the world around you, how you do that, that’s the real struggle.
[05:20] How would you primarily label yourself professionally? Athlete? Adventurer? Speaker? Leader?
[05:40] I don’t know how to label myself because a lot of times I see blind adventure but yeah a lot of different things, I think I am most proud of my work with no barriers, this organisation that I started about 13 years ago and hoping that this thing will become movement. Because I am trying to understand what this no barrier life will looks like to others, for just blind people or people who are physically challenged. But the real challenge is how do we break through these challenges, tapping to the soul, the human spirit that exist inside us and then find purpose and then contribute back to the world some way.
[08:44] Your bio says this: Erik continually seeks out new adventures, focusing his efforts on empowering people traditionally swept to the side lines of life. He founded an organization called No Barriers, which helps people with challenges tap into the human spirit, break through barriers, and contribute to the world. Do you struggle with the average person who doesn’t have any official handicaps and yet let’s themselves be overcome by average obstacles?
[09:26] You know that’s a really good question that you might think that would be the case but it is opposite. I don’t put myself in any kind of pedestal like blindness is really big obstacle, barrier that is harder than anything else what we deal in daily life. You know one of the thing I have learnt by creating no barrier is working with one of the amazing people who have really struggled. Honestly I feel it’s the real barrier that people are like you know the shame or the fear or the anxiety, or the self doubt, I mean those are the real barriers that get in our ways. So I think whether you are blind or not every single human being have those struggles. I really have empathy for those things because at the time when they are holding you back, they are real.
[13:31] I am gonna talk a little bit about fate and I am gonna give you a quote. I am working on this quote: The reality of fate is that fate comes before reality. And so the idea is that in your mind I know you can invasion that I am gonna climb an Everest, I am gonna start an organization which helps people break their own barriers, so how do you invasion fate?
[14:47] I think you can spend a lifetime trying to understand. When I begin Kayaking, I was so full of fear. I had climbed seven mountains, so I suppose to be immune to this. But I sat beside the river and thought that why do I feel so scared. Like I suppose to feel like I am the Everest guy but this doesn’t work like that. And I realise as I was Kayaking that the river became the big metaphor because there was a sort of energy that was riding and we can’t always control. It was a massive energy but at some time you just let go and you just ride the massive storm of energy forward.
[22:35] Let’s talk about fear. So much of what you have done, like kayaking the grand canyon and hitting the hardest, scariest segments…I’m wondering. As a kid, first time I did cliff diving, and while I don’t claim a fear of heights, I have a very, very healthy respect for them. But I consider myself brave and won’t back down due to fear. But I got to the edge, looked down and…whoa. I am not comfortable with this. So step back and get my wits about me, step back up and…nope. No better. And realized right then, there is no way I’m going to get comfortable enough to do this. I’m just going to have to jump scared, or not jump. And no way I was going to chicken out, so I jumped. Came back up, back to the edge…no different. Still 100% uncomfortable. So…do you just in essence, jump scared, or have you found a peace and confidence in embracing those scary situations?
[24:07] Striving for peace, it’s a hard thing to achieve. So I think the fear is so paralyzing that you can’t break out of it. So my life, I try to break out of that. But no despite of that 100% there is fear, it is like getting comfortable in the environment whose nature is getting uncomfortable. So for me yes it is lava falls. Courage is not something you can have; it is a practice. It is a constant trying after getting hurt.
[32:20] What handicap is worse than being blind?
[33:04] I came up with the scientist Dr. Paul, he has team around the world and we came away with this strategy that people kind of fall into three categories. We just name these categories, which are quitters, campers and climbers. Quitters are self explanatory, they just quit before even starting. We found that most of the world are campers. And those who start off climbing with hope, excitement. The thing which came between in is believe.
[36:02] In show 405 I interviewed John O’Leary, author of on fire, as a kid he was in an accident and got 3rd degree burns over 90% of his body, he should not have lived. He was asked if he could change the past…if he’d prevent the accident. He said no, due to the gifts and redemption he received as a result. As a guy who hasn’t gone through anything like this, while I appreciated and understood it on one level, I also struggled with it. So how would you respond to the same question?
[37:13] It is a really good question and it is a hard question. You know I heard many blind people or physically challenged people saying that it is a gift and I don’t want to change it. And I respect that and you know it is not simple as I am walking down the street and we stub our toe on the curve and blood is gushing everywhere and we are like what a great opportunity for growth. So I don’t think it is good to say that my burnt or loosing sight is a great gift, so no matter who we are we gonna get beat down. And how we use that as an advantage to more in life, so whatever we have, we have to use that an advantage in our lives.
[39:22] Do you pursue opportunities to restore your sight?
[39:40] Yeah I mean I am involved in all types of cool research but I will never get my sight back, I don’t have eyes. But I am happy with that, I am ok with that.
[47:49] You have such a profound experience and from that such a profound message. You speak to so many people, you reach to so many people, what are ways that people discount your message…perspectives they may have that you can dispel?
[48:28] You know people come to our program and we loose one-person every time because people finds the reason to not trust to the programs, not to trust the lives. You are already hurt, now you are looking the ways of blowing things up before it gets scary. And it’s a self protective mechanism. People have to take the time to dive deep in to their soul, and understand what are those things that drive him, what are the ways they are communicating, the way they are moving forward, the way they are sabotaging themselves, how those affecting their lives and we talked a lot about it in no barriers.
[53:05] Just thank you for what you are doing out there, I just felt gratitude. We will be promoting no barriers as much as we can. But again thank you so much.
[53:45] Hey friends, I’m admittedly just in awe of Erik’s achievements, but even more…his character and desire to serve others. Connect with Erik, buy the book, get inspired by going to www.touchthetop.com. Did you get value? Will you help us and Erik by letting us know with an iTunes review? It’s the best way to say thanks. Coming up in show 505 we take you behind the scenes with Erik and into his daily habits for success. You’ll hear How he was able to donate $1million to his own charity and he just turned 49 and in many ways is still figuring out what he wants to do with his life. Now then…thank you. Thanks for letting me walk with you as we inspire our true performance together!