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  • Writer's pictureLisa Letwin

Jan Redford, From Mountains to Memoir, overcoming fear and achieving mastery

What I loved instantly about Jan was how down to earth she is. She is unassuming, modest, and demure. But do not be fooled. Beneath her calm, earth-Goddess exterior is a fierce tigress, capable of things most people wouldn’t dare dream of. She has been publically described as: badass, wild woman, gutsy, full of grit, strong minded, fierce, vulnerable, raw, raucous, fearless and courageous. I would also add determined beyond belief, brilliant, self-referred and fascinating.

A true bold leaper.

She scaled a 100-foot cliff face when she was 13 years old with no equipment, experience or guidance. This launched her into a life of being one of the first female climbers in the Rockies in the 80s. She kept up with all the top climbers.

The confidence she gained in the climbing world, led to her pursuit of her next dream, to get an education and become a teacher. She overcame massive financial and logistical obstacles to make this happen, but against the odds she did it.

All her life she has written about her life, like many writers, to make sense of it all, and she decided to write her memoir, which was as she describes, “A story burning in me to write.” Many courses, mentorships, published articles and contest wins later, she produced the acclaimed End of the Rope, Mountains, Marriage and Motherhood.

What is so inspirational about Jan is throughout all these massive goals and achievements she suffered from crippling (yet not paralyzing) self-doubt and anxiety. Even one of her mentors asked her, “How are you going to write a book about self-doubt when you have so much self doubt?” She laughs when I remind her of this story.

But behind all the risks she has taken, she says she was taking charge of her life and her dreams. She says “She kept trading the shell for a bigger one.”

One big lesson she learned from climbing 800 foot cliffs or traversing from ropes 1400 feet above nothing and scaling frozen waterfalls was that she could tolerate high levels of pain and discomfort. She could apply this lesson to future risks, knowing the discomfort will not kill her, and doesn’t need to overwhelm her. In fact, she can find compassion for herself along the way.

A few of her other keys to overcoming self doubt and pursue your dreams were:

  • To create a map, on paper of your plan and follow it. Build on each step and build confidence. See the strength in yourself and keep going forward. Notice cause and affect in every move you make

  • Have faith and not give up

  • Enjoy the process. Do what you love, and don’t worry about the end result. If you are thinking about getting it over with, it might not be the right passion for you.

I did not want our interview to be over. I can’t wait to see Jan's next bold leap!

Full interview is on @boldleaps IG Live



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