Maybe you’re feeling trapped and overwhelmed – like you’re just doing too much, or you’re doing something you don’t like. In those moments it’s hard to rise above the fear, but ultimately you have the power to choose how you’re going to live your life. It starts with choosing to change your perspective on things and following your curiosity.
In today’s conversation, Adam Hill speaks with Alyson Watson, a supermom, athlete, and CEO of a 1,200-employee organization, about how she chooses to live a full life.
Not even a nearly fatal bike accident could stop her.
Hear more of her journey in this episode of Flow Over Fear. Be inspired and get ready to make choices that will direct the course of your own path!
Here are some power takeaways from today’s conversation:
- How she got into the endurance world
- What it was like going through her bicycle accident
- Creating her own training plan as part of her recovery
- Understanding the power of choice (in all areas of your life)
- The importance of having priorities and boundaries
- Follow your curiosity.
[07:54] Prioritizing Time for Yourself
It’s so easy to get lost in your everyday routines and responsibilities. But you’ve got to make it a priority to take some time for yourself. Whether that’s moving your body or meditating, start intentionally leading your life in the direction you want, instead of just living for all the external forces.
[18:28] The Power of Choice
Whether that’s an accident (as in Alyson’s case) or some other form of trauma, you have the choice to either look back on it as the worst thing that happened in your life or look back on it as something that led to positive change. You have the power to choose and when you have the faith to move in whatever direction you choose, you will get there. Apply that approach in all other aspects of your life and you will realize that you don’t need to be stuck and you can make a choice. Every day, you’re making choices. And you can make choices that are going to lead you toward your desired path.
[38:18] How to Get Yourself Out of a Rut
Follow your curiosity. For instance, if you turn on the TV, and you see someone doing something amazing and you wonder what that’s like, follow that. Then see where that leads you. Make time in your schedule, prioritize some time for yourself, and use that time to follow those curiosities and see where it takes you. Sometimes when there’s fear of failure, or it feels insurmountable, just following that sense of wonder and curiosity is all you need to get you to pretty amazing places you never would have thought otherwise.
I was in a wheelchair for six weeks and then after that it was such a bizarreexperience to try to walk again with a cane and um for several more weeks after that andjust not sure what it was going to be like if I was ever really going to be able to run againum but I did make the decision at one point that this was going to be an inflection point it was going to be apositive inflection point and I didn’t have any idea what that meant or how that was going to be possible but that Iknew I had a choice of how I dealt with the rest of my life from here and it could be I could look back on this asthe worst thing that had happened or I could look back on this as something that was really positive and led topositive change and I just made a decision that that would be the case hello everyone and welcome to the flowover fear podcast where it is our mission to help you to rise above fear and realize your ultimate potential inleadership and life I’m your host Adam Hill and it is my goal to share with youthe human side of high performance my guests share their experience with fear anxiety struggle Challenge and mostimportantly despite all of it how they Rose above it to achieve incredibleresults so if you’re ready to rise up let’s get started hey everyone welcometo the flow over fear podcast I am very grateful you’re joining us today I havea really good friend who I have known for quite a few years now through the endurance world and ultimately wediscovered that uh you know we had a lot in common from the uh from the business world as well as far as where wecurrently work and and and things like that but uh Allison Watson is her nameand she is an incredible athlete and she’s also an executive a professionalshe’s a mom of two amazing children and the CEO of Woodard and Curran a 1200person science engineering construction and operations firm that’s focused on water and the environment and she’s alsomade a name for herself in the long distance Triathlon and cycling Circle specifically Iron Man and Ultra Mandistance uh Triathlon and endurance cycling since going from being a pack aday smoker to completing her first Sprint Triathlon off the couch in 2015. she’s racked up a series of incredibleathletic achievements uh completing a first half Ironman in 2016 her first full in 2017 and then she Advancedquickly from there and ultimately after a serious injury or serious crash atIronman Texas she came back from that we’ll talk about that because that’s a big deal there’s there’s a lot there butshe came back to for the bike course record at Ironman 70.3 Indian wells in 2018 and winning her age group of coursequalifying for the 70.3 World Championships later on qualifying for the IRONMAN World Championships at MountTremblant and later finishing the Ultraman in Florida a third in uh thirdoverall and that ultimately qualified her for the Ultraman World Championship which of course covid took out andcaused problems there she’s also the time trial uh the 12-hour time trialwinner in Borrego Springs in the in the ultra cycling world championship and shehas entered into and she finished top 10 at the 2021 IRONMAN World Championshipsin St George and now she’s making a transition into trail running into long distance trail running we’re talking 100mile races um all doing this all while running a 1200 person business a family doing allof that stuff man there’s a lot there uh Allison and I’m really glad you joined us thank you for being here yeah thanksfor inviting me I’m to be here I’m glad you’re doing the podcast I’m really enjoying it so far well uh no thank youit’s uh I mean I get to pinch myself every time I get to talk to people like yourself because it’s it’s just anopportunity to learn some incredible things and you know honestly selfishly satisfy a lot of my Curiosities abouthow you know you achieve it all and and are able to do all of these things because I enjoy Endurance Sports as wellum I don’t know if you know that but no but um and and you but you know time obviously takes its toll and it’s hardto find that balance um and but I’d like to kind of go back in time a bit and just kind of discoverbecause you mentioned in the bio that your what’s a pack a day smoker um what got you into the transition intothe endurance world and how did that kind of come into play yeah I my life has definitely not been astraight line I think a lot of people would say that too and if I go way back I was pretty athletic as a kid I was onswim teams from when I was eight until I graduated high school I actually ran the Boston Marathon as a I just jumped inwhen I was 17 because I grew up in New Hampshire and you could do that back then so I was curious to see what itwould be like to run a marathon and you know I think life wears you down a little bit honestlyum you know I didn’t have the easiest High School experience and um over time I think I sort of gave upon myself a little bit you know when I was young I saw Iron Man on TV and I told you I ran a marathon and you knowyou you think you can do anything and then at some point you kind of give thatup and I you know I think I just have been going for so long that around whenI finished College I just took a step back and I you know started taking the easier way I think in a lot of aspectsof life and um you know I did smoke and you knowwent out a lot and just had a different lifestyle and um so you know through thecourse of time um you know moving cross country multiple times having kids all of thatit it took a while for me to find my way back to Athletics and I’ll say I’m notI’m not one of those people who like loves to go out for a run like it’s not something that I’ve alwaysloved to do I kind of a voice force myself to do it because I really feel good afterwards and it helps me withStress Management and all of that and so you know as I sort of got to morestressful points in my life um with young kids I I started torealize that I was missing that and I actually at one point wrote a letter toum the person I ran the Boston Marathon with when I was 17 and just told him that you know I appreciated that he’dintroduced me to endurance events because I was going tostart working out again and get back in shape and I was going to do something like that and you know I just wanted himto know that that was an important you know milestone in my life so I just started you know pretty slowly at firsttrying to get in shape and um when I came back to California so I’m skipping around a bit but um I had I wasliving in New England and it was tough you know I had been living in California moved back there had little kids didn’treally have a strong friend’s Network it was pretty isolating and then ended upyou know moving back to California to take over as CEO of the firm I was working for at the time we decided thatwe really needed a work-life balance program and you know this was 2014 so itwas a while ago that’s what we called it work-life balance or employee wellness and so I put together a group tobasically plan events and they planned a triathlon so they said you know we’regonna organize this Sprint Triathlon um and you have to do it because it’syour program and I was like there’s no way that I’m gonna do this I don’t have a bikeum I am not exercising and they basically you know guilted me into it so I got a bike off of Craigslistum and did the Sprint Triathlon and and it helped me remember um just the training for it it helped meremember how much moving and being healthy helps me so it helps me tobalance everything in my life it sounds like it’s adding one more thing but for me mentally it actually is subtractingfrom the stress level um so I did that one Triathlon and justfell in love with it really fell in love with the training and and it was curtains from theresnowballed ever since well I love that I love that idea that you just kind oftouched on that that sometimes adding things subtracts things and I felt thesame experience when I first got into the sport as well it’s like how do you add that especially the health elementlike you know like exercise for this long and doing all this kind of stuff but you know it does there are somethings that kind of like just maybe add another element or or help to improve our performance inother ways in life I’ve got to imagine that that’s kind of how you felt how that impacted youyeah absolutely um so just starting to turn my life around and I I think probably a lot ofyoung parents can relate to um a sense of loss at some point whereyou may wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost yourself a little bit you’re so focused on you know maybe it’s workand your family and and all of a sudden you don’t know yourself anymoreum so that was certainly the case for me um you know I was coming back to take over this company work was going wellum you know my kids were definitely you know wonderful but when I started to focus a little bit onum Athletics again it really opened my eyes to that transformation that had taken place thatI hadn’t been paying attention to who I was and I’d sort of lost that so it wasn’t so much that I lost myself as anathlete per se it was just the fact of spending that focused time which was purely for me and not for anybody elseit wasn’t for my employer and it wasn’t for my husband and it wasn’t for my kids it was purely for me that act reallyhelped me to start thinking about how to be happy um and and what I needed and so takingthat time was almost meditative in a way for me but helped me to work through alot of you know a lot of sadness that I was dealing with and a lot of the stressand really be better in all aspects of my life but to start to lead a much more directed Life instead of just sort ofliving for all of the external forces let’s see so so it’s really like the theat some point you feel especially in in a you know a high energy high stresskind of Lifestyle you feel like you’re you’re being you know you’re being pushed that it pushed and pulled indifferent directions just by the outside forces like you know by what work is doing by what family is doing by all this kind of stuff so you as you say youlose lose you lost yourself for a period of time there um but uh but you found it in theEndurance Sports and and you found that through basically falling into it sounds like a Sprint Triathlonum how did that I I want to hear that because I love first triathlon stories so so how did that experience go did youdid you wear your helmet backwards did you put the wetsuit on the wrong way what tell us the Gory details uh well noI didn’t do those things but I did get a flat and it was the beginning well the whole beginning of triathlon for me wasa the irony of me being a good cyclist you know I’ve had people say that in a former life I must have run over cyclistwith the bad luck I’ve had cycling so my very first experience in Triathlon was aSprint Triathlon that started with a pool swim which was good you know I grew up as a swimmer it was still hard because I was out of shape the bike waslike 15 miles and I got a flat and not only did I not fix it I didn’t even have a patch kit like I wouldn’t have knownhow to anyway so I just rode on my flat tire until I finished and like racked mybike wrong and then you know ran the ran the 5K and almost died at the end but umI had done it with obviously a couple work friends and we decided that we were gonna sign up for an Olympic a couple ofmonths later just because we thought well why not and at that Olympic I think I had two Flats maybe three and thensigned up for another one um because I was like this is crazy and I got a flat at that one I mean my first three racesI had like eight flats or something absolutely crazy and it’s just ridiculous that I stayed with it but Ithink I’m a little bit stubborn um so yeah I figured at some point like this has to normalize and I have to getthrough a race without a flat so that became my whole goal basically was to get through the bike leggot a runner and a swimmer and that was the big barrier for me yeah and then you ultimately became like an incrediblecyclist so yeah I’m guessing you got over the flats issue you figured that piece out right yeah I don’t I don’tknow I mean part of the reason I had so many flats is because I was also not changing them properly like I wasgetting pinch flats and didn’t realize it and um but yeah I just um I I don’t take this approach as muchanymore but at that point in my life I was definitely I would have described it as I was a drive a truck through it typeof person so if uh there was a wall there I was gonna drive a truck through it and get to the other side and Iabsolutely took the Brute Force approach to try and get through the bike lag andit did pay off I actually got really good at cycling I’ll say yeah you reallydid and and um I remember watching you early on um you know back when I probably the2016-2017 right when when you started Psych of up and coming and I remember going to I was physically at IronmanTexas that that year uh 2017 I think it was right um or 28 I don’t know 2018.and um and I remember being there and I remember that was the year that they changed the bike course to be on justthis straightaway toll road that was flat it was it was the ideal conditionsfor a Peloton and boy were their pelotons and um and so I didn’t well Ididn’t see anything happen I I’d heard that you crashed really bad and I heard that you were hospitalizedand uh that you shattered your pelvis is that is that right no that’s one of thethings that I didn’t break oh you didn’t break your pelvis see I’m great at identifying the things that didn’thappen yeah yeah no and that was the year that they pulled all the um officials off the bike courseso that was just a mess and I was one of the very few people who crashed totally on my own soI don’t know I still don’t totally know what happened if I hit debris or what but I went over the handlebars at likemile 105 and I broke um six ribs and my sternum which is a special one to breakthat’s a real impact for that one um I had a third degree AC separation onmy shoulder and then on the other side my leg had stayed clipped in so I broke my the femoral neck which is like thevery top of part of your hip the very top of your femur but because it was a weird angleum they had to repair it with a rod so I you know have a rod the length of myfemur and four screws two at the top and two at the bottom so went home from that race in a wheelchair which wasnot great but you know when I when it happened it was one of those things whereyou know I kind of scooted to the side of the road after I crashed and like there was a big lump in my shoulderwhere I had the AC separation and so I was like okay I broke my collarboneand you know I think I’m okay and then like you know I was having trouble breathing and theum the volunteers were like like can we pray with you and I was like okay that’s really not a good sign but when I got tothe hospital they you know figured out every you know they were asking well do you normally have a big lump there andthen they realized they had six broken ribs in the sternum but the sort of funny part of the story is I also had ablack eye which was from the swim like I’d gotten kicked and really when butthey were like you know did you hit your head did you check your helmet and I was like no I think I’m fine but theyweren’t sure like the black eye what that was from and so it was just youknow they kept doing like spot checks and then they finally did like a full like CT scan and um my doctor later waslike you’ve had a lifetime’s worth of radiation at this point because I think they figured out that I was not a veryreliable witness in terms of what I had actually broken when I was like I think I broke my collarbone they’re like noyou broke everything except your collarbone basically right wow yeah so so I guess the moral of thestory is there ladies and gentlemen sign up for Iron Man it’s the funnest sport noum but no I I mean and I I loved it I mean I don’t I love is the wrong phrasethere of my apologies but I think I would like to dig into like what what was going through your mind at thatmoment like and you’re in the hospital you know you’re you were you were on track to becoming like a you know a Konaqualifying if not a professional triathlete at that time um you know what was going through yourmind were you already planning to come back or were you ohinto that race because I got good at Triathlon really fast at a point in my lifein my personal life there was a lot going on and I was um not not doing great I will say andTriathlon for me was just really this positive experience and this really positive thing that I had going on in mylife and I was so looking forward to Iron Man Texas for all the reasons that you said it was you know I wasdefinitely going for a Kona slot um you know I was running really well like I had just run a marathon like a315 marathon without training like it was going to be a great day for me and Ihad this feeling as I was getting into Triathlon um this is gonna change my life in apositive way like this is definitely a positive force in my life and so I was really fixated on Kona like everybody isbut more broadly just this whole um beautiful experience that had comeinto my life and this source of joy and this new kind of pathway forwardand I remember being in the hospital and they didn’t really know when they went in to fix my hip um they didn’t evenknow how they were going to fix it because they it was a really strange break and they were hoping to not haveto do a hip replacement you know 40 years old and um they’re hoping that they don’t have to replace my hip and they’re saying youknow you know hopefully you’ll be able to run we don’t really know and so I was just lying there and it was like all ofthose dreams and this whole aspect of my life which to me was the bright spot andsort of the pathway to a better future in my life at that point it was like that door just closed in my faceum and it was absolutely devastating and I remember just begging the surgeon as Iwas going to sleep like I want to run again like please make it so I can run again and um gosh for weeks after thatI had nightmares and in my nightmares I would try to change the outcome of the crash like everything would lead up toit and it would be like and then I would crash and I would wake up and it was it was really traumatic and horrible and Ithink it was just because at that point my life Triathlon represented so much more than just a race it was kind oflike freedom and escape and a different future and it just it felt like that door really just closed so the comeback no Iwasn’t planning the comeback yet I was trying to figure out what does this mean you know and um butI did and it was tough like the first few weeks in particular were really difficult I was in a wheelchair for sixweeks um and then after that it was such a bizarre experience to try to walk againwith a cane and um for several more weeks after that and just not sure what it was going to belike if I was ever really going to be able to run again um but I did make the decision at onepoint that this was going to be an inflection point it was going to be a positive inflection point and I didn’thave any idea what that meant or how that was going to be possible um but it was so devastating andtraumatic that I knew I had a choice which was I could either let that door slam shut and maybe it was shut withoutyou know any anything I could do about it but that I knew I had a choice of howI dealt with the rest of my life from here and it could be I could look back on this as the worst thing that had happened or I could look back on this assomething that was really positive and led to positive change and I just made a decision that that would be the case notknowing what that meant if it meant to come back or if it meant something different wow so there’s a lot ofthere’s a lot of faith there in that in that choice right I mean yeah and and Imean like faith not not in the religious way but just I mean generally speaking there’s a common theme that I’m I’mhearing a lot which is that a you know we have we always have the power of choice and that’s a powerful thing it’slike you know when we when these outside experiences happen to us we have the choice to change our perspective on itand um and even if we don’t know what that outcome will be or know how what it looks like yet having the faith toactually move forward in a direction on a choice that’s uh that’s hugely powerful I’m glad you made that choicebecause it looks like it resulted in some pretty incredible things so whatwhat happened from there after that choice yeahEmerald um I was very fortunate that I recovered from my injuriesum I’d like to say I fully recovered I’ll never be back at that run pace and I don’t know if it’s because of thecrash or not so I think um you know that’s whether I’m just lazy I don’t know butuh I had you know I spent that summer rehabbing and in some respects things sort of broke in my direction so I hadthe surgery in Texas came back and I got sort of shuffled around among doctors here because they hadn’t done you knowhe hadn’t done the surgery so I got a doctor who was a former military Doctor Who was retiring so he really didn’tcare that much honestly and I don’t mean that to be mean but he was kind of like yeah there’s not much that you can do tomake it worse don’t put any pressure on it and don’t fall anything else you can do it might hurt but you’re not gonnayou know you’re not gonna injure it because I was kind of like well can I do this kind of PT that kind of PT he’slike do whatever you want just don’t put pressure on it so he basically gave he basically gave you the the uh the doctorequivalent of I’m too old for this crap yeah but for me it was perfect because I was like okaynow I know I can do anything so I was you know Aqua jogging and I was spinning with no resistance and I was doinganything that I could and um he was he didn’t even put me in PT because he said you know you’re doing way more than anyPT will ever have you do so just keep doing it um so it gave me the freedom to I puttogether a training plan and my training plan was like 20 minutes spinning with no resistance 30 minutes Aqua jogging Imean it was just silly stuff but it allowed me to stay on track um and then I just put some goals on thecalendar of you know this day I’m gonna walk and um I really wanted to try to do Iron Man 70.3 Santa Rosa so the crashwas the end of April Santa Rosa was July and I thought well I can probably walk it by then and and I probably could havebut um my doctor did say you know there’s a risk that you could fall off your bike and that would be very bad sodon’t do it so I didn’t do it but I did sign up for Indian wells in December andI I spent that whole summer I mean I couldn’t swim right away because of the upper body injuries and I couldn’t runyou know for a few months I couldn’t even walk for a couple of months but um I could spin with no resistance so Ispent that summer biking going from zero resistance up until I could apply resistance and then eventually swimmingwhen I could and then elliptical and I had a fantastic raceum so it was sort of that decision of I’m either never gonna get on my bike again or I’m gonna get over this andthat was the race where I set the bike course record so it was you know April to December a little under eight monthsfrom my crash and I was an awesome cyclist at that point because I’d done so much of it and I actually even ranwell um but I you know won my age group by like seven minutes at that race and it was like okay I’m backum that’s incredible so yeah so that was great and you know personally um I made changes in my life followingthat it was um I think realizing that I could make that choice that this thing that was devastating atthe time could be a positive force in my life um gave me in some respects the strengthto apply that approach in other aspects so in you know realizing that I I didn’tneed to be stuck in other areas of my life and that I could make a choice and thatyou know my future could still be more positive um than you know it might have beenotherwise and that that was really within my control but it was really I think important in that kind ofself-efficacy reinforcing that so did it so it leveled up your ability to believethat you are capable of more than what you were doing what what uh do you mind if I ask what other areas of your lifethat you were able to apply that to or yeah I mean my personal life so I’mum you know this is a tough one um but leaving a marriage that was unhappyum and I don’t there’s a lot there and I don’t hold any you know negativityum that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and in a lot of respects probably the most importantthing that I’ve ever done and I don’t think that I would have ever been able to do that I think this is part of whatgave me the strength to make that change which has been just so instrumental in a lot of the things that have come afteryou know the the cycling to like just being able to Branch out a little bit sonot having to hold quite so tightly to Triathlon um after that Indian Wells race it wasstill you know well maybe maybe I want to go after my Pro card but you know I wasn’t loving it as muchum because it felt more like a chore at that point so being able to let go of that a little bit and start doing longjust double centuries and different challenges related to cycling and youknow trail running and doing different things instead of feeling like I this is my ticket out you know it was it openedup that freedom to recognize there’s not one pathway out there’s not one thingthat’s going to take me where I need to go and I have to hold on to it every day I’m making choices and I can makechoices that are going to lead me in a better Direction yeah I love that perspective and and you know the factthat it comes from a place of of trauma or or you know where you were experienced a very traumatic eventum and and again made that choice at that at that time to to look in the different or to to go in a specificDirection um I think a lot of people need to hear that and I’m glad you’re saying it here because it it I know that I and I knowpersonally the feeling of feeling trapped in places you know feeling trapped in a whether it be a career oror a relationship or what have you and and not feeling like there’s there’s away to get out or you have the courage or the strength but recognizing that and showing that that’s possible and showingthat there’s life beyond that a a joy beyond that excitement um that’s that’s great I think that’sgreat for a lot of people to hear so I appreciate you sharing that um and uh how how has that umhow is how about your career like so you I mean you’ve obviously developed as an athlete you found that freedom you evenpursued the Ultraman you know Ultraman and you did amazing thereum and uh the how about your career because your career has leveled up quite a bit too I mean you’ve gone you knowyou’ve excelled to the place where a lot of people are you know dream dream job kind of thing so what what has thattrajectory been like and what have you learned in that process oh yeah that’s a that’s a bloodyquestion right too yeah so the long like if I go back this is my second CEOposition um so I was the CEO of a California company uh we were about 120 people andthat was a huge opportunity that was um back in 2014 when I moved back from the east coast to take on that role and umit was just a fantastic opportunity we sold to a larger firm so when all ofthis happened I was um an Executive Vice President managing the West Coast portion of the businessthat I’m now the CEO of um I knew that uh we were going through a CEO selection and I knew that I couldbe a candidate um and I was very interested in opportunitybut you know it’s a civil engineering firm um we have an operations and Management Group which is you knowrunning Wastewater and water plants um it’s it’s a large firm so you knowI’m younger than the typical candidate would be I’m a woman I’m in California the company is based in Maine there area lot of reasons that it would have made sense to not pursue itum and you know to be honest I was sort of content with what I was doing at thetime I was still managing kind of the same group I had when I was the CEO out here you know I knew a lot of peoplereally well it wasn’t particularly stretching me at that point I could kind of do it in my sleep I was liking thetriathlon thing um but I just felt like I could givemore and that people could benefit from the leadership that I could provide andit sounds I don’t even like saying that out loud because it sounds like what’s so special about me I and I think it wasjust the fact of how we had operated and that California group was a little bit different and I felt likesome of those learnings could help the rest of the company um I definitely went through periodswhere I wanted to pull my name out of the Hat um but I have two kids uh they’re 12 and14 I have 14 year old son and 12 year old daughter and part of the reason that I I thoughta lot about stepping back was you know how can I do this how can I be a fullypresent mom and a single mom half the time and also you know fully be presentas a CEO you know there’s 1200 people who are dependent on that and I thinkum a big part of the decision came down to feeling like it’s important thatkids growing up my daughter my son that they have an opportunity to live a fulllife and that means be a CEO and be a parent and have Athletics in their lifeor whatever it is and that until people model that it won’t be normalized and Ihad an opportunity that was you know a lot of women would kill for and I had that opportunity and I felt aresponsibility honestly to stay in the running and to figure out how to make itwork so that I could model that for you know other girls but also for my son youknow that you can do this and it’s not a matter of having it all it’s a matter of having what youprioritize So when you say having what youprioritize uh can you kind of elaborate on that what do you mean by what you prioritize what do you what do you yeahI think there’s this sense that um you know it used to be people tried to have it all and be it all yeah and I I wouldsay you know that is the for me in my world that would be like being thestereotypical CEO who’s always traveling and who’s everywhere and the stay-at-home mom right and you can’thave that right but what I can do is have what I prioritize and the weeks mykids are here I prioritize my kids and I don’t travel and the weeks that I don’t have my kids I prioritize being a CEOand it doesn’t mean that I’m I’m bad at my job the weeks I have my kids it means I’m not perfect at that and that’s notthe priority and it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom the weeks that I’m traveling for work or whatever it just means that mypriorities have to shift in flex and I can have that and I can make that work it’s just not the same as being theperfect stereotypical CEO and the perfect stereotypical stay-at-home mom and the perfect stereotypical triathleteit’s different and it looks different and for me it it’s all of the pieces andI think of it I call it life Jenga it’s making all of the pieces fit making allthe pieces fit so that the priorities are are covered so it’s really kind of letting go ofperfection so that’s how you play Life Jenga yeah let go of perfection and thenprioritize the important things at that time I I love that perspective yeah and it’s boundaries too and I’m terrible atit and I you know I think there are a lot of expectations one of the things that’s the hardest thing for me is whenthere’s a meeting for work on a week that I have my kids that I feel like well I should travel for that and I’mI’m not going to and it’s hard for me to number one hold those boundariesalthough I have to and number two communicate them that’s the piece that’sso hard because I feel like as a woman a female CEO who’s a mother saying I’m notgoing to go to that meeting because I have my kids sounds like I’m not prioritizing my workbut I think it’s important modeling for our people um because you know I’ll be the first person to tell people like oh it’s okayto prioritize your family but if they don’t see me doing it they don’t believe it’s true yeah but it’s very hard for mebecause coming up through my career I never really felt like that was okay um so yeah it’s it’s about boundaries asmuch as anything else and I think being being open about what those are especially if you’re in a position of leadership because you have thatopportunity to model and if you’re not doing that you’re not taking advantage of the opportunity that you have to helpother people yeah I I I I I I agree completely with what you’re saying Imean it there there seems to be a high standard already like of just like you know your the eyes are on you as aleader as a CEO of a company it’s just you know whatever you do it’s it’s it’s uh you know scrutinized and and youknow so modeling that is is important and I would imagine though I can’t obviously can’t relate as a woman that’sgot to be that there has to be a higher bar or a higher standard set for for that to to get over does that do youfeel that a lot is that still something you experienceinteresting because just coming up in engineering um you kind of become desensitized to itand I have become more sensitized to it in this role because I’m trying reallyhard to to model what I think is is positive modeling but I do thinkum you know over the years it was men who would leave to go to a softballor you know their kids baseball game or whatever it was sort of like oh that’s they’re a good dad whereas I know myselfand other women we didn’t want to admit if we were going to do parenting type things because it was like oh wellshe’s a mom and I think that’s changing but it’s certainly something that I have to check myself on because for yearsthat you just become conditioned to not talk about those things and to to fit the mold that you’re expected to fit andnow I have to recondition myself to really vocalize those things and overcome that kind of that fear reallyso that other people know that it’s okay yeah that’s that’s always hard to managetoo is not necessarily our intent which is you know my my intent is obviously totreat everyone equally and or treat everyone with Equity but but there’sthose blind spots that we see the subconscious blind spots like like you’re talking about maybe that maybe we’re participating in those doublestandards so that’s always something to be conscious of and something I try to be conscious of too but yeah you’reright it’s it’s um and so I’m glad you kind of put that into perspective on on that some of that double standard that’shappening there yeah um but um yeah so I uh kind of going into the the life Jengapiece I as I I love that um and that’s one thing that’s always really been you know something that’sthat’s inspired me about you is is just your ability to balance everything and and and and and do everything or or youknow do a lot of things that that lift you up and you know build your career up herepull those things up what do you have any kind of um advice for anybody who might befeeling like they’re Maybe that that maybe they’re feeling trappedor they’re feeling like they’re just doing too much of something that they don’t like and not enough of something that they do and failing to prioritizeas well yeah um I would say follow your curiosityanything that you’re curious about anything that you know if you turn on the TV and you see someone doingsomething and you think gosh that’s that’s amazing I don’t understand how they do that follow that see where itleads you um make time in your schedule prioritize some time for yourself and use that timeto follow those those Curiosities and see where it takes you I mean I think a lot of how I ended up doing some ofthese really phenomenal things um it’s hard for me to believe it when I wrote it down for you I was like wowthis is pretty impressive looking but it’s every time I think I just thought well Iwonder if I could do that or I wonder what that would be like or I can’t believe people do that I wonder what that’s like I mean starting with just atriathlon I remember thinking this is such a huge thing I don’t I don’t think I can finish this I don’t even know howpeople do this and but I wonder what it’s like I wonder if I could what ifyou know so sometimes when there’s that fear of failure or it feels you knowinsurmountable sometimes just starting with what if and asking yourself wellwhat if I try it would it what if I can do it what if I could do that what wouldthat be like and then just follow that and see where it takes you because it can take you to some pretty amazingplaces you know I finished a triathlon and then what if I could do a half Ironman and what if I could do an Iron Man and what if I could do an Ultra Manand wonder what it’s like to run 100 miles and then you realize wow that’sactually not that’s not as far as I thought it was you know I I think it’s it’s sort of amazing when you you startfrom that what if place and you end up realizing wow that’s really not as big as I thought it was what’s the nextbigger thing and then you can really kind of dig in and do stuff that is inspiring to youyeah I love I love that idea of being curious um because I think that one of the elements of being mindful or beingpresent is really curiosity it’s awareness and curiosity that that Curiosity piece is a lot of times it’sjust immediately replaced by I mean I remember the first when I asked about the what if about uh Iron Man the firsttime I did and I was on the couch and I was drinking heavily at the time and I saw it on like well what if I could dothat and then my the other part of my mind just said snaptube said shut the hell if you can’t do that so just leave it on and then you never explore it butthat other piece that you mentioned which is explore it like you know lean into it or or find out what’s there Ilove that because that’s what makes life an adventure and Adventure is one of the antidotes to anxiety and fear and andall of that so I love love that so you’re starting to get now into more of the ultra distance running like in thein the trail running and things like that you’ve done a couple races is that something are you pursuing anything inparticular there are you or is it what’s next for you on that level yeah I don’t even know if I want to admit itum so like biking my beginnings and trail running wereum pretty Rocky I I’m kind of a clumsy person I always say I think I’mdedicating about 20 of my mental energy to not tripping over like most of the time and that’s on flat surface you knowwhen I’m not running running on Trails I’m just notorious for falling um but I just did a lot of it thissummer and I was finally you know not falling every single time I went for a run and I thought well if I’m nevergonna do this let’s try it this year so I did a 100 Mile Trail race at the beginning of November and it was it wasawesome um I don’t get a runner’s high so I’m not one of those people that I’m like oh I want to go run every day because itmakes me feel so great I have never had a runner’s high when I run less than like 35 miles I mean it’s not and then Idon’t even know if it’s technically a runner’s high I think you’re just sort of delirious at that point so it’s alittle different but um so I did that run and I was just amazed by how much Ienjoyed it and it was pouring rain and it was 40 degrees and I was I was crankyjust as you’d imagine but it was um it was a really cool experience so Idecided um that I’m curious about what some of these crazy running events are like andone that I have my sight set on right now that I haven’t admitted out loud is bad water so you probably are familiar with badwater it goes oh yeah the lowest point in Death Valley to Whitney portal is 135miles um so I can’t even apply for bad water right now because you have to have runat least three 100 mile races and they have a list of preferred races and so I’m not even I can’t even apply but Idecided that if I had done three 100 mile races even if they’re not the right ones at least I could submit anapplication so I’m gonna try to do two more before January nicewait January’s like two weeks away with this will Air in January so we’re gonna know so I did my first hundred inNovember I’m gonna do another 100 next weekend and then another 100 at thebeginning of January and then I’m going to submit an application wow see where it goesbecause I figure well three and three months is you know better than three and three years even if they’re not theright ones and we’ll see I probably won’t get accepted but I’m gonna try um and I may not even get through the200s so you know I’ve only done one and um I was surprised by how well Irecovered I seem to recover pretty quickly from it so I think I’ll be fine to run this weekendum but then you know I’ll only have four weeks before the next one so it’s most of the time is recoveringum it’s you feel better or I felt better after about a week but it took about three weeks for all my metrics to kindof come back to normal so oh wow we’ll see if my body holds up I’m gonna do two more and apply and we’ll see whathappens next well that’s awesome well now it’s out in the it’s out in the universe so now it’s going to happen right so it’s all submitted I know it’sscary so that that’s incredible yeah the bad water that that is definitely a big bucket list race and and uh and and justand so kind of give to give some perspective on that too that’s done in the middle of summer right in DeathValley is that yeah it’s the fourth of July so Fourth of July 120 degree heatyeah oh wow you have to run on a white line so yeahit sounds fun well I think that’s it’s it’s all about that Curiosity and onceyou do one thing realizing like wow okay so what would it be like to do somethinglonger or what would it be like to do that in a really hot environment or what would it be like to do that you knowfaster you know just how how will my body hold up how will I train for itwhat what can I learn I felt like I learned so much just in the 1 100 that I did things that as an endurance athletefor years now you think I would know like I learned about fueling on the run in the middle of a 100 mile race afterI’ve been running you know for years and years is it pizza it’s pizza right pizza it was quesadillas quesadillas I’mplant-based and I was chicken stock and quesadillas but it was life but you doyou learn because you just can’t you can’t fake it through some of these longer things and you learn aboutyourself and about you know both physically and mentally and emotionally what you need to do to get through toughspots and that applies across life yeah well that that’s what I love about it Imean we jokingly say oh sounds like fun to do 100 miles in 120 but the challenge of that I mean some people might look atthat the perspective of like oh I don’t want to experience the pain of that but others of us think of it like wow toexperience the achievement of that uh you know to to rise above that feeling of not knowing if we could do somethinglike that and then doing it I mean that’s that’s powerful there’s a powerful force there that pulls us to itand so I totally get it I mean it’s just like it’s it’s just like this this feeling of like if I could do that whatelse can I do and where else can I take this it’s the right kind of discomfort to lean into yeahthe thing that’s so interesting about ultra running that I didn’t really experience with Triathlon islike after I’m running for I don’t know four or five hours I’m gonna have I’m going to 100 break down and havehorrible horrible horrible experiences and if I stay out there I will havewonderful experiences and that’s like it is guaranteed and it’s just reinforcingthat if you can continue to manage yourself and keep moving forward in the sport or in life it changes and there’sgood on the other side of that and I will say too you know there’s nothing better than something assimple as a hot shower after you’ve been out in the mud and rain for 24 hours andyou’re sitting on the floor of the tub with hot water running on you that’s Bliss and so just being able to puteverything in perspective it’s really powerful it’s just while you’re out there and then after in the reflection Ithink it helps to put a lot of things into perspective and and really helps me to be grateful for very small things aswell yeah that that’s a that’s an incredible perspective and and one that’s a good reminder to to to keepthose little things in perspective when we’re too comfortable a lot of those little uh you know those little Comfortswe take for granted but when we are uncomfortable when we when we really can’t appreciate it that I I thinkthat’s a that’s a huge lesson we could take from that um so uh and then how about so what’snext for you I mean I know you’re you’re talking about more Ultra stuff and all that kind of stuff but where are you going from here or what’s uh yeah I knowyou’re traveling the country and the van um what else is going on what else wellum I did sit down so I am a little bit embarrassed to admit that I never really had gotten into journaling and I lovewriting and I will say when I had my bike accident that was one of the things that really got me through it when youread your thoughts um or write them down or speak them and listen to them you if you’re like me youcannot listen to yourself being negative and whiny and complaining and you immediately start to reframe um so thatwas a really powerful tool for me in my recovery and I just love to write so Idid start journaling again recently because I was feeling a little bit like I was in a rut like where am I goingwhat’s next and um I actually I’m gonna try to write a bookum so that’s totally different it’s not you know my professional Direction and it’snot my athletic Direction and I I don’t really want to do an autobiography because I don’t feel like my story isready to be written but I do want to write about some of the things I’velearned I’ve done a ton of reading around you know values and value-drivenlife and I’ve had practice in turning things around and using tools to turnthings around in my life and I I would really like to help other people provide other people with tools that they canuse to get on a more positive path so that’s that’s my next project and I haveno idea how long it’s going to take me I’m going to try to do it over the course of the year but I I gave myself Idon’t have to start until January and I’m gonna I’m gonna work on a book next year I’m really excited to hear that I’mreally really glad to hear that I’m also really glad to hear that the language you used around not right in your autobiography so I want to read yourautobiography but the fact that you said it’s not ready to be written yet that’s fine but I just yeah but you have astory worth telling for sure but I’m excited to read because I think the values thing of it or values within ourworld I mean especially uh when we want to find our purpose so powerful and we need more of that and I think someonelike you writing that that’s a great voice to have that come from uh I’m really excited to to see that come tofruition and and hopefully talk to you again on this show about that very subject yeah absolutely um more to comeon that yeah for sure well thank you very much for being here Allison I loveyour story I’m grateful uh that you shared some time with with me and uh what where can people find you what umum if they want to reach out yeah I’m um I’m not really very out there I am onInstagram it’s Ali Paris um and Facebook but that’s about itum I kind of just doing my own thing awesome well thank you so much for being here Allison I’m I’m very grateful andto all of you out there thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you next time hey everyone Thanks for tuning in to theflow over fear podcast if you’d like to learn more about getting into flow andlearn the foundations of flow I have a free video series on my website atwww.adamcliffordhill.com called the foundations of flow feel free to gothere and download it and start your journey to Rising above fear achieving greater flow in your life if you likethis episode and I’m guessing you did if you stuck around for this long then please do me a favor and hit theSubscribe button and you will receive notifications when I have new interviews new Recaps and new trainings that pop upon YouTube thanks again for joining us [Music]thank you