I am making these things:

The White Papers

For more, visit TheWildLetters.com, a project for the explorer in all of us by me and Yarby

Director of Toughness

This past weekend, I took a round trip adventure to NYC. … in about 51 hours, 20 of which were spent en route in my Subaru, Joan. I can hear it now:  Why didn’t we fly? Why wouldn’t you stay longer? Why would you go in the first place?

I have learned, that when given an opportunity for adventure, seize it.  Along with 180 other people, I was invited back for an interview with Columbia Sportswear for their Director of Toughness position, aka, the dream job. In essence, Columbia is looking to hire two people to test their gear in the toughest of environments and the most extreme setting for six months. Yes please!

Beyond the excitement and honor in being one of the 3k that were asked back for the interview, the experience itself was worth the journey. More times than not, this could be said about the experience. While waiting for the interview, I met several spectacular people that were also in pursuit of the dream job. There is something about the adventure folk. Their priorities seen to be in check (or at least align with things I find important) and they seek experience rather than the completion. It is cliché but needs to be stated here: the view from the top is only as good as the work that was put in to get you there. Despite the outcome of who is selected, I am so glad that I slept under the stars in PA, drove for hours and hours, made new friends, had to jump my car, and stayed up way too late to make it to this interview. The experience was worth it.

I will always be thankful for the fact that I was born and raised in Montana and hold that close to my identity. I understand being cold, dirty, happy, tired, seeking the thrill of a -10 degree powder day, sleeping under the stars, jumping into mountain lakes and having blisters the size of silver dollars after a good hike. All worth it -always. Each adventure has laid a layer onto the person I am today.

Regardless of Columbia’s decision, I am happy to add this to my list of stories. It was a reminder that really, I have nothing to lose except for maybe the experience I would have passed up. Some people are afraid of spiders, mice or tornados, I’m afraid of “what if?” (and velvet, I am afraid of velvet).

Is there an experience that you are longing for? What is your “what if?” What is stopping you from finding out? We all have the power to be the director of toughness in our own lives. Mountain tops, going after the job, getting to a workout class, raising a family, learning something new or just starting a conversation all require toughness.  Be the director of toughness in your life, it will always be worth the effort.

Thank you Columbia for the opportunity and perspective.       


Update: Columbia just took the time to call and thank me. This time, two other lucky people were chosen. Wishing them the best of luck and looking forward to following them! Thank you again for the incredible opportunity! 

Sam WhiteComment