What Inspires You Now? | Chicks Climbing & Skiing – Angela Hawse

What Inspires You? Angela Hawse, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing working on the Grand Teton, Grant Teton National Park, WY. ©Angela Hawse Collection

What Inspires You? Angela Hawse, Co-Owner Chicks Climbing and Skiing working on the Grand Teton, Grant Teton National Park, WY. ©Angela Hawse Collection.

Given the gravity and chaos in the world all around us right now, I turn to inspiration. And I wonder, “What inspires you?”

We are all experiencing loss, struggle, uncertainty and fear of the unknown on many levels. Many have it far worse than being asked to hole up and not go on trips. Schools are closing and people are suddenly working from home. I’m cancelling upcoming trips to Iceland and Svalbard.  Many guides, and I’m sure many of you, are out of work into the foreseeable future.

As we self-isolate and social distance from each other, I’m reminded how Chicks serves as a foundation of treasured relationships and shared experiences. I think about the skills I’ve learned from climbing and skiing like managing stress under adversity, problem-solving, will power and thinking on my feet.

Our goal at Chicks is to inspire and support emerging, female climbing and skiing leaders. And, in the spirit of service, we hope the lessons of climbing carry over to support women as leaders in their communities at large.

In these difficult times does it help to ask, “What Inspires Me?” Can you focus on inspiration and motivation instead of fear? Can you adopt a spirit of service to help others in need if you’re able?

Climbing has taught me many healthy exercises.

It’s taught me to go inside to find my own passion instead of looking outward at streaming distractions of media-sensationalized narratives of super-climbing heroines. Comparing myself with my heroines only belittled my efforts and obscured my inner drive and motivation. Focusing inward taught me that I have the ability to shape my experiences into a fulfilling and meaningful journey that is my own.

It doesn’t matter if you’re striving for a redpoint or simply caught up in the moment of moving over rock, what matters is unplugging and tapping into what makes your heart sing. This exercise helps, not just in climbing, but in everything.

We all have an “Everest.” Currently, a novel coronavirus is our collective Everest. Try to remember in these difficult times that climbing has taught us, no matter how high, how far or how difficult the mountain, it’s ultimately the journey that matters.

Wherever you’re holed up, isolated or socially distanced, you have the ability to tap into the presence you’ve learned from climbing. Focus and try not to get distracted by fear, sucked up in following the news every hour or anxious with uncertainty.

Take this opportunity to focus, just like you do on every pitch and be present. That will create a ripple effect that positively influences everyone around you.  It’s living in the moment that inspires me, whether on the rock, a high mountain or in line at a grocery store behind someone hoarding toilet paper.  It’s the energy we bring to every moment that determines its outcome.

What inspires you?

Stay healthy and strong!


6 replies
  1. Anna Keeling
    Anna Keeling says:

    Hi everyone,
    It’s been a while since I was a Chicks guide but Angela’s excellent post inspired me to speak up. Like many of us, I am facing cancellations and uncertainty. However, back in 2000 when I was a young married lady and partially certified guide, recently moved to the USA, Chicks took me in. It was both intimidating and inspiring – here I was guiding in a new medium and hanging with some legends: Angela, Kitty, Carolyn Parker, Kim Reynolds, Abby Watkins, Amy Bullard, Kathy Cosley, Karen McNeill. It was a lot of fun and laughter. I was often worried that I wasn’t up-to-scratch but each of us guides were respected for our various backgrounds and skills. I learned tons, made lifelong friends and I now look back with immense fondness for the time I had at Chicks. Hopefully there will be more. I am inspired by my friends and our climbing/skiing network. And I’ve been inspired by nature for my whole life – she will always have the last word.
    Anna Keeling

    • Kim Reynolds
      Kim Reynolds says:

      Hi Anna
      I remember that time quite fondly as well – we were riding an amazing wave and yes, each one of us held a unique gift and talent. One of your many gifts is your sense of humor and fun. You always brought levity to most any situation and were so approachable to your clients. You are a great teacher, technical advisor and guide. What a privilege it has been to work with you. I miss you Anna!!

      Take good care, Love Kim

    • Angela Hawse
      Angela Hawse says:

      Hi Anna,
      Thanks for sharing! This is great history and a reminder of our Golden Years with Kim at the helm.
      Oh were we a tribe of guides then. Once a Chick always a Chick! We adore you and you inspire us to no end. Keep it up Sister!

  2. Kim Reynolds
    Kim Reynolds says:

    Thank you Angela, I love this question!
    I going to imagine that most of us here are “doers”, adventurers and overachievers; mother’s, guides, climbers, skiers, professionals, or entrepreneurs. Basically women on the move doing her thing, often taking on more than she can handle and getting shit done. Sound familiar?! In that spirit, this is what currently inspires me, I guess it’s those underlying life lessons that I might have been moving past too quickly to notice:

    1. Kindness and compassion – I want to look for ways to help or make someone smile each day. Especially my partner.
    2. Simplicity – I look for beauty and notice everything for what it is, I am working to let go of being so busy and productive.
    3. Gratitude – oh my, it can always be worse! Celebrate the life I live. Rejoice in the basics – food, shelter and friendship.
    4. Meaning and purpose – I want to touch in with something that inspires me each day…like writing this post.
    5. Connection – who can I reach out to today? Who is alone or may feel forgotten?
    6. Nature – I have to look at her, be in her each day…no matter how large or how small. My back yard is an oasis!
    7. Creativity – I believe it comes from the highest source of inspiration which means “in spirit” – through words, art or food, it feels good to create something out of nothing.
    8. Adventure – it’s one of my top five values and it comes in so many forms. This virus is a new adventure, it’s horrible and unwelcome, it disrupts my life and work, and there is perhaps a new journey I must take…I just have to be willing to go there. It’s scary.

    Here is something I wrote to my executive coaching colleagues this morning who are not outdoors people and don’t fully get this life I have lived:
    I am grateful for my life as a climber/mountaineer, a person who sought self-imposed challenges. I realize it is a privilege to have such “practice.” One lesson I reflect upon is this: I learned how to put my hood up, face my fears, dig deep and head into the wind. It’s a willingness to travel in all conditions and accept being comfortable with the uncomfortable. I trust that a useful insight will come out of it. Above all, I know that sticking together and instilling confidence in each other is true teamwork.

    All of us are resilient in our own unique way. May we all remember to dig deep and find that bottomless well of strength and goodness. I believe in this age-old Outward Bound tenant, “there is more in you than you know!”

    Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all on the other side!

    Love, Kim
    Past “Head Chick”

    • Angela Hawse
      Angela Hawse says:

      Dear Kim aka past “Head Chick,
      Thank you for sharing your inspiration. We hope this inspires others to share theirs and we are grateful for your vision, leadership and courage that got this party started! Look how many are following our lead and modeling women’s programs around the country and world. That is the best compliment you could ever ask for. And we celebrate them all! You keep up the great work in inspiring others to find their dreams and life’s potential. To you we are forever grateful for the bonds you created and friendships and allies that last a lifetime with Chicks.

  3. Carrie B.Thompson
    Carrie B.Thompson says:

    Hello Inspiring Chick Women , I’m not sure if I even qualify as a chick anymore-old hen is more like it, but in these times I do remember my one “Chick” outing and so much time spent at Outward Bound. I did give my heartfelt lifeboat speech to my three kids and partner as we started our shelter in place. Knowing ones own strength; how it runs deeper than we first believe and how that strength increases when we help others is a truth which is so incredibly gifted to anyone who has had the lucky opportunity to be taught, coached or befriended by any of the women associated with Chick’s. Be safe from Minneapolis! Carrie


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