I’ve had an unfinished project that’s been nagging at me for a long time and you can’t slay big walls just by talking about it from an office chair. I’ve spent the last several years hating my limitations while doing very little to challenge their preeminence in my life. Some of that has been practically motivated–supporting a family does take time and money. A lot more of it though, was a fear of getting shut down. Failure. Now I’m back on a mission to do what scares me and share it in hopes of raising awareness and empowerment for type 1 diabetes.

It’s easy to talk about going beyond limitations but the truth is that before you can approach your limits you have to accept them. You have to love them, own them. Without them there would be no opportunity to transcend the challenge–which is how value is earned. We are not all special snowflakes. Value is earned, not given away like a consolation prize. I stopped earning and started coasting at some point in the last few years. I wondered why I found my well running dry.

I searched back through my past to try and tease out the point where I first started to coast–and I found it in Yosemite National Park, California, May 2012. I met my match on El Capitan. I came away from that climb defeated in a way that I have never really moved beyond since. That’s why I’m going back there this fall. I’m going to find my limits and dance with them. I expect a main course of humble pie and suffering. It’s not supposed to be easy–that’s not why I love my limitations. It’s an opportunity to struggle. It’s my genuine hope that this project will reach those who need it with a message of empowerment–and that it will reach the public at large with awareness of type 1 diabetes.

In the last couple of years I’ve enjoyed learning about optimizing my diet using ketosis. I’ve been so privileged to have access to a CGM. I’ve spent countless hours checking my graph to see that number, like a rat in a maze, running for the promise of the cheese at the end. I kind of got addicted to winning the diabetes game because I could keep my numbers really tightly controlled–within a really tightly controlled environment. I spent many years advocating for type 1 as a reason to get outside and challenge fear–while ultimately succumbing to the trap myself. Turns out that having great numbers while living your life in service to a numerical readout isn’t really winning anything. Winning boils down to investing success in the opportunity to fail.

I’m not beating myself up about the past–it’s important to confront failures. We are too often scared of words like “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “bad” because everyone wants to know that they’re not the sum of their failures. Ignoring failure is the greatest failure of all though. It prevents us from growing and putting that shortcoming under the boot on the way to a higher summit. This is how I know that there is still a need for empowerment. For awareness. For a reminder that just because we aren’t wearing an orange jumpsuit doesn’t mean we can’t be held prisoner. The tools we use to create a brighter future can become a hindrance if we are not vigilant to look beyond them.

I’m calling it The Unfinished Project.