At PointAbove, we’re dedicated to building a community of Explorers who care about living and working mindfully and successfully – and you’re welcome to become a part of it!
Herb is a professional coach with a focus on meaningful adventure, mindfulness, and life/career transitions. He is a regular contributor to the PointAbove Explorer Program and coordinates the PointAbove Adventure tours.
We all have an external narrative and an internal narrative. Although not equally weighted, they each contribute to who we are. Our credentials, job titles, and work duties – even the organizations that we work for – are components of our identities, but so are the thoughts, feelings, and values that we bring to each experience. My external story includes nearly 20 years working for a company that managed catastrophes: unforeseen events that threaten to damage or destroy organizations.
Our own corporate growth (from $20 million to over $200 million annually) was exciting, and at times excruciating. The details are less relevant these days. I participated in far too many projects than are topical here, but my favorites always return to one curious lesson: organizations are defined and enabled by their people.
My internal narrative tells the rest of the story. The business, you see, was doing great, but I wasn’t. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the work. In fact, it was where I often felt my life was most meaningful and energized. The job just didn’t allow me to enjoy the rest of my life. On the few occasions I allowed myself to attempt to relax, the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) on something or the parade of tasks I had yet to complete would arrive and make true relaxing impossible.
I did my best to escape stress the only way I knew how. I drove away in cars and a motor coach, I hid in a vacation home, and I tried to outrun it in my own airplane. I might have delayed things a bit but nothing really worked. I was a classic codependent, preoccupied with acceptance and approval. My suffocating need to please others kept me from saying no with the same confidence that I said yes; and I often overextended myself in fear of not living up to others expectations. The thought of failure was appalling enough, but the thought of making a mistake in a competitive, performance-for-income environment was simply intolerable.
On top of all this anxiety, I happen to be one of those people who have difficulty accepting my own accomplishments. I was working hard but I believed that luck or fortune (read as: “things outside my own control”) sometimes just broke my way. Add to this an ever changing set of expectations and the conflicting demands placed on my time and attention… well, basically I was consuming my high-achieving self.
In between meetings and projects I ate junk food, routinely worked late, and answered texts and emails immediately – even during meetings and in the middle of the night. I all but stopped exercising, and I began to withdraw spiritually and socially. My self-concept was growing increasingly clouded each day and 4 hours of sleep a night offered little relief. When I looked in the mirror, all I could see in myself was what was wrong. I still find it ironic that something that I started out creating ended up controlling me.
In a moment of clarity, I walked away from it all.
Change Your Story
Today, as founder and President of PointAbove Consulting, I am using my experience to help intact teams and high-potential individuals increase their confidence, resilience, and performance in both their professional and personal lives. I understand where you are coming from because I have been there too. I didn’t inherit my position, I earned it, and in many ways I’m as proud of my bruises and scars as I am of my triumphs. Pursuing mindfulness and meaningful adventure as performance alternatives changed my life and, if you’ve read this far, I believe that it can change yours.
With the help of a long list of knowledgeable others, I began exploring the world anew – seeing as if for the first time people, places, and things that had been previously hidden or even invisible to me. I’ve distilled much of what I’ve learned about pursing the wrong things and rediscovering the right things into the PointAbove Explorer program.
I spend most days at sea level on Galveston Island where outdoor life means surfing, paddle boarding, and fishing, but I take every opportunity to pursue life at higher altitudes hiking, trekking and mountaineering throughout the world. Although this isn’t expressly an outdoor blog, I do share my experiences and expeditions in posts and with audiences because it’s relevant. I spent too much of my life pursuing things that didn’t fulfill me or make me happy, you see, so now that I’ve made a change, I just can’t help sharing.
One thing I know for certain:
If I can still chase my dreams, then you can too.