Episode 3 of the Diabeticast is up! I am pretty excited to be sharing some of my recent musings and stories about fear and failure with you–and to announce that we finally are able to sell photographs that we have captured throughout the last several years of climbing! Since LivingVertical has no corporate support and I have been asked many times over ‘why don’t you sell your prints?’ I figured now would be a great time. I am starting to edit my way out of the hole I have been in since this summer and the photos from the Wind River Project are worth the effort, time and money it cost to capture them.

So. Visit our store and buy some prints. They start at $28 with all kinds of matting and framing options. If you have visited my photography gallery previously and you see something there that you’d like to be made available for printing–email me: steve@livingvertical.org and I can most likely arrange that. Not all of the photos in the gallery were actually taken by me–so I would have to make special arrangements–which I am happy to do!

Now–on to “Fear and Failure” Ep 3 of the Diabeticast. If it helps tie the preceding pitch together at all, I am afraid of failing at selling my photos and not being able to keep LivingVertical afloat any longer so now I need to listen to my podcast along with you! Sort of kidding, also sort of not. It’s been a bit stressful trying to make ends meet here and recording a podcast about fear and failure is hard to do when you feel like you’re failing and afraid. It took me a few attempts to actually make any progress and say what I had in mind because it’s tough to make sense of it all when you feel like you’re still in the middle of it.


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I struggle with depression a lot and it doesn’t happen for a reason. It just shows up like an uninvited dinner guest who eats all the low carb food options despite having a working pancreas. That sounds kind of specific…but let’s not get sidetracked! Sometimes I sit down to record and literally everything I say feels like a lie or like I am kidding myself when I say it, given the way I feel. I haven’t found a way to deal with that better than just saying ‘hey, this is how I feel. I don’t need help or pats on the back–I just want it to be recognized that things are not right at the moment’. That act doesn’t ever change anything tangibly but it still somehow helps.

This episode cut pretty deeply for me because this is less a “how-to” on overcoming and more a “well, this could work, let’s try this since we’ve got nothing else to lose”. Initially what got all of this started was Riva Greenbergs article and it occurred to me that there really is a difference between managing and controlling. We need to have room to fail without beating ourselves up so that we can actually see the learning component in failure–which on some level leads to more success.

Of course expanding our comfort zone always requires more trial and error, so re-failing and re-learning will always re-turn and the process goes on. I love pushing my limits. I love challenging myself. I also hate the discomfort of falling short–but I know deep down that it’s good for me so I drag myself along. In fact the times when real emptiness takes hold (for me anyhow) is when I stop pushing myself and just languish in my comfort zone. No matter how hard I fought to establish that comfort–once it’s there, it’s time to move on again.

And sometimes it works the opposite way; the comfort can just vanish and what once was easy is all kinds of difficult again. This is where the reminder that failure is part of success really comes in to play. When I first started climbing I could talk myself into having a hard time on a 5.8 climb because after all, I was just a beginner. When I moved “past” that level of difficulty I never considered that I could regress back–that the progress I’d made wasn’t a free pass for the rest of my life. I know that we are only ever one choice away from a breakthrough or a breakdown, so I haven’t given up. My goals remain large and seemingly impossible. Of course it’s too early to announce upcoming projects, but I will say that I have my eye on some international destinations which could accommodate the family while still allowing big climbs. Time will tell.

I seem to remember saying a lot of clever things about this in the podcast and it’s 11:35 on Friday as I am writing this. Then again I have diabetes so I can’t remember things too well. Our best bet is for you to just have a listen to the episode which I recorded when I was more coherent. Enjoy!

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