TEN years. 

A whole decade. 

When I started Climbing Grier Mountain (CGM) back in August of 2010 my goal was to talk about my life in Colorado. Between snow skiing, hiking, Denver village gatherings, and a career in the financial industry, I felt like I had a lot to share with all the folks back home. 

Well, the financial job came and went thanks to the market crash. In fact, the loss of my corporate job became the fuel I needed to create CGM. I was a newlywed at the time and had zero experience cooking. In fact, I hated it. There’s a reason why I didn’t list cooking as part of my blog goals when I started. Because I didn’t know how! 

Anyway, in between job interviews, I started watching the Food Network and teaching myself how to cook. I can’t tell you how many meals I burnt. The countless stove fires I put out. The finger cuts I endured. BUT! All those failures led me to Foodie Fridays which is where I started to share my food adventures on CGM. It was a chance to showcase how not to burn a sauce. How to put out a food fire safely. How to slice an onion and not a pinkie. This is where my food blogging journey began. 

Fast forward ten years and now I blog full-time. I’m a cookbook author, I’m an expert at food photography, and I’ve traveled to dozens of countries in search of cultural cuisines. What started out as a simple way to connect with friends and family has morphed into a blossoming business. I love my job.

Do you want to know the truth? The best part of my job is waking up every day and thinking to myself, how can I change the world using this platform? CGM is by day a vehicle that allows me  to share recipes, but its become so much more than that! And that’s how I’m still standing here ten years later! 

In honor of celebrating 10 blogging years, I wanted to give something back to you all. There is so much information out in the world on how to “fix things.” Whether it is fixing your financial woes in six easy steps or reading a certain book to fix your love life, there is plenty of information out there. Sometimes we don’t need everything to be “fixed.” Instead we need a moment to take in advice or words of wisdom to develop ourselves. That’s where the true success lies. 

So, today I wanted to share 5 pieces of advice/wisdom that have helped me stay true to me and my business over the years. 

1)  Money only gives you options. 

My Grandfather Chuck taught me that. I didn’t start CGM thinking I would be rolling in Benjamin’s in a few short weeks. Spoiler alert: I didn’t make money until almost year four. Can you guess how much? A whopping $56. For most people that dollar amount would make them feel instantly disappointed. BUT! My entrepreneurial spirit has never been motivated by earning money. I was never worried about when I would make the next $56.

For me, I decided the money was a great option to use towards a photo editing course. Instead of assigning value to money (which goes against everything we are ever taught)I looked at the money as a way to give me an option. For me, I went from thinking “I only made $56 dollars to thinking, wow, I have $56 to apply towards that online course I wanted to take.” See the difference? Once you take the power away from money what’s left is only options. 

2) Stay hitched. 

In other words, stay committed to relationships. This one is tough. Relationships constantly evolve, change, or end. I decided a long time ago that in order to maintain longevity in my business I would need to stay hitched to my readers, clients, and community. Meaning I would need to show up, offer value, and listen. I knew staying hitched in these relationships would take work. BUT! I promise if you commit 100% of yourself to the relationship, you will get 100% back. 

3) Struggles are the Curriculum to Become Our Better Selves.

Phew. That is a mouthful. I would say one of my superpowers is the ability to fail. I thrive on it which sounds strange to say, but if I’m not failing, I’m not trying. I’ve seen countless people over the years always sitting comfortably with the status quo. It makes me furious. I believe people should be pushing, challenging, and taking risks every chance they get.

For me that’s where the true journey is. If you aren’t digging, questioning, or being curious you might as well close up shop because you will become irrelevant. It’s no coincidence that Madonna has changed her persona over the years. Because she is constantly changing, struggling, and taking risks to be her better self. That is how she has survived this long. Remember that failure or any struggle is only temporary. Wouldn’t you rather take a risk than be left feeling ordinary? 

4) Be a Role Model.

Being a role model has become more of a focus for me over the last couple of years. Maybe it’s my old age talking, but as I’ve experienced growth, change, and abundance I’ve wanted to use that energy to help others. What’s the saying….”You are what you do, not what you’ll say you do.” Being an influencer is tough right now. Recently I’ve steered my thinking to replace influencer with role model. It completely changes the landscape.

By claiming myself as a role model in my business I’ve taken the social mob pressure out and made way for my own due diligence on worldly matters. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve fallen victim to the feeling of needing to have everything picture perfect before sharing my life. Or jumping on social media campaigns even though I knew in my gut something wasn’t right. BUT! For me, re-framing myself as a role model has helped me find a solid ground. I feel more stable, centered, and more energized to actively pursue the truth to help others. 

5) Nobody Gives a F$CK as Much as You Do About Your Business. 

How freeing is that? That was the hardest lesson I’ve ever learned. As a type 2 Enneagram this was something that I didn’t want to acknowledge because I am a people pleaser. In my early years of business I would try to do everything that was mainstream. Everyone was posting white, bright food photos and I was like, yes! I’ll do that too! Spoiler alert: all of my white, light, and bright photos were a disaster. It’s almost like the universe was calling bullshit.

So I decided one day to do dark and moody photos. BAZINGA. People fell in love with my photography. BUT! Had I asked people what they thought about me doing dark and moody. Nobody gave a F$CK because everyone was doing white, bright photos. I was the only one who cared enough to change my direction. I trusted myself and my talent. In business that’s all you can do. Trust yourself. 

I hope these words of wisdom offer some perspective or motivation. I couldn’t do this job without you so I appreciate you taking the time to read and reflect with me. 10 years is a long time, but I truly believe, the best is yet to come!!