Ep# 12: Be willing to fail and never give up with Nick Troutman

In this conversation, Nick Troutman, accomplished paddler and content creator, explores the distinction between fear and danger when assessing risk versus rewards on and off the water.   

Anna and Nick also explore how failing and making mistakes are key to experiencing growth and overcoming self-doubt at the highest levels of achievement and performance.

Nick is a big believer in the power of perseverance and passion in pursuing your goals, and Anna also brings up the concept of sunk cost, and the need to change course when something is not fulfilling. 

They share stories about the importance of knowing your why and aligning your actions with your goals.

In this episode you’ll gain insights into:

  • How to differentiate between fear and danger.
  • Why analyzing the risks versus rewards of challenging situations helps in making informed decisions.
  • Why high performers view mistakes and failures as opportunities for learning and improvement. 
  • How to reassess your goals and change course if necessary, even if you’ve invested a lot of time and effort.
  • Why never giving up is Nick’s strategy for success.
About Nick

Nick Troutman, is a husband, father, world champion athlete, content creator, coach, host of the Art of Awesome podcast, and he and his family have their own TV show called Great Family Adventure.

He fell in love with the sport of kayaking when he was 13 years old, and became obsessed with the adrenaline of the sport, its connection with the wilderness, and camaraderie of fellow paddlers.

At the age of 35, whitewater kayaking has taken him around the globe. He has paddled through canyons rarely seen by the eyes of man, has competed against the world’s best in a multitude of world championships and World Cup events, and has set and achieved some of his lifelong goals.  Nick has created long lasting friendships in the pursuit of living his life to the fullest.

How to connect with Nick:

IG: @nicktroutmankayak

FB: Nick Troutman

Great Family Adventure Show

The Art of Awesome Podcast

Anna
My guest today, Nick Troutman, is a husband, father, world champion athlete, content creator, coach, host of the Art of Awesome podcast, and he and his family have their own TV show called Great Family Adventure. He fell in love with the sport of kayaking when he was 13 years old, and became obsessed with the adrenaline of the sport, its connection with the wilderness, and camaraderie of fellow paddlers.

At the age of 35, Whitewater Kayaking has taken him all around the globe. He has paddled through canyons rarely seen by the eyes of man, has competed against the world’s best in a multitude of world championships and World Cup events, and has set and achieved some of his lifelong goals, has created long lasting friendships in the pursuit of living his life to the fullest. Thanks for being here with us, Nick.

Nick
Thanks for having me, Anna.

Anna
Yeah, I’m excited for our conversation. So I’d like to start off with what does your discomfort zone feel like?

Nick
Hmm. What does my discomfort zone feel like? You know, I would say, um, Wow, we’re really just diving right in, right into the meat and potatoes. I love that. Um, I would say it’s probably a little bit different, you know, depending on this scenario, just because. So.

Anna
Diving in. That’s right.

Nick
The first thing that comes to mind would be within white water kayaking and my discomfort zone of like, you know, being above a 70 foot waterfall or something like that. And, and, um, you know, I refer to it as kind of like the demons of the mind, but it’s really just like the doubt, the, um, the nay saying that happens within your own mind. And, um, for me, it’s kind of like, uh,

I don’t know if a dark place is the right word, but it’s definitely filled with doubt, I would say. But then when you say like, you know, discomfort or an uncomfortable scenario or situation, I can think of other scenarios, you know what I mean? Like I’m sitting in my basement and I’ve got an easel in front of me with some painting on it that I’ve been working on. And… you know, painting a picture and showing it to the public is another thing, or making a podcast and putting it out to the public is a whole different zone of discomfort or, um, writing a book or doing all sorts of different things. Being a host. I mean, there’s, there’s different levels of, of discomfort, I guess, in this scenario that each of them are a little bit different. I mean, I guess for kayaking.

Anna
Yeah.

Nick
You know, there is physical danger. There is, you know, I’ve had some close calls and you can actually get physically injured. That’s a very different level of discomfort versus, you know, getting on stage and having to give a keynote speech or, you know, public speaking in general. And so even though they’re both, you know, can be an uncomfortable scenario or uncomfortable situation. Even like just within kayaking itself, I was just at the world championships this fall, you were there announcing is, or yeah, announcing. And you did the live stream, I think. Am I correct on that? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so…

Anna
Yeah, yeah, I was announcing on the live stream. It was fun.

Nick
You know, being doing a live stream, gosh, that’s gotta be, it’s gotta be a little bit intimidating in the sense that this is going to live on the internet forever and they hear everything that you say for, for always an eternity. Um, but like doing a performance, like going out and trying to give, uh, um, a top level athletic performance of the world championships is a different level of kind of, um, discomfort versus again, like running a waterfall where it’s more like physically dangerous. And so I think they’re a little bit different. I mean, I guess doubt is probably the similar link with them all where you get these kind of like doubts or at least for me, I get this doubt in my head that says like, you know.

Anna
Yeah.

Anna
Mm-hmm.

Nick
Who are you to think that you’re gonna be the world champion or who are you to think that you can run this waterfall or what makes you so good that you think you can have your own podcast or like all these different things that just kind of like pop up in my head. And I just have to kind of like push them aside and just like understand, okay, this is fear and doubt and this is uncomfortable. And I think too…

The best way that I have found, again, just diving right into the meat and potatoes of the whole conversation, but the best way that I have found to kind of overcome that doubt or that the demons of the mind, as I like to say it, is to train myself to do uncomfortable things. And one of the easiest things that I have found for that is simply to take cold showers, to get in cold water anything really it could be anything it could be it could be public speaking it could be um it could be saying a prayer at a at a dinner table uh with people that aren’t religious it could be um it there’s so many ways that you could go out and put yourself in into an uncomfortable situation um and

Again, the shower is just the easiest because for most people it’s very easily accessible and we can all just turn the tap to cold. And instantly you will be hit with cold water and you will think, this isn’t fun, I don’t like this anymore. And so training yourself through that and trying to recognize one, it’s not as bad as it you think like taking a cold shower might be uncomfortable, but you’re like, okay, well, this is fine. I’m not going to die. I’m in, in my house, in my shower. Um, two, I can instantaneously put it back to hot within a second at any point. So I can, I, it, there’s just like, it’s a very, you know, gradual step. Uh, and then you can take that and go do other hard things too. But, uh, but yeah, I think just kind of overcoming the doubt and trying to.

I guess another thing too would be to recognize the difference between fear and danger. This is something that I really like to talk about and just trying to understand that when that doubt kicks in, I try to analyze like, is this just doubt and fear? Fear being like false evidence appearing real. That’s what I try to remind myself when I hear fear false evidence appearing real. So is this fear? Am I being fearful? Or is this dangerous? Because danger is something that you do have to take into account. Like there are dangers. There are, you know, going to play dodgeball on a freeway, bad idea. That’s dangerous. That’s not just fear talking. That’s danger. And so trying to recognize like, is this if fear or is this danger that I’m dealing with and understanding the difference of what the two are and we could dive deep into kind of understanding that too. But yeah, I’ve got on a long-winded answer of the discomfort zone for me.

Anna
Yeah.

Anna
It’s great. I love, there’s a few things that I think are really cool. One is what I hear you say is practice hard moves in easy water, right? Practice the challenging stuff in low consequence environments. Your example of the cold shower. And the other thing, I love the distinction of fear versus danger. And like,

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
Having also competed in freestyle kayaking, and that’s really uncomfortable for me, or was, and also run some hard stuff, I think that’s really interesting. It’s just kind of, I’m just pondering in my own mind right now, like freestyle kayaking, like the nerves there, that is fear really, because I’m not actually in danger, but I’m worried about…

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
sometimes for me when I was competing, I’d be like worried about what other people think or am I gonna perform? A lot of the doubts, like you said, who am I? Those doubts come in versus when I’ve run hard stuff and I’ve also had luckily only one or two close calls, where I’ve been stuck underwater, that is danger. When I’m above a difficult, rapid or in the past,

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
because I ran a lot of harder stuff in the past. But there is some danger to that, right? There are things that can go sideways and they have. And when you find yourself underwater pinned, that is not just self doubt. That’s like, okay, what am I gonna do in this situation? And at the same time, there’s rivers that are at my limit. Like, for instance, for me, the Narrows of the Green super fun.

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna (
I love paddling it. It still makes me nervous. Things can still go sideways. However, the evidence is that I’ve run that a lot of times and it’s well within my skill level, especially when I choose not to run certain rapids. And so I really love that distinction of fear, false evidence appearing real versus danger. And how do you yourself?

How do you make that? Is there something that helps you make that distinction?

Nick
Yeah. And so this is going to make a lot of sense to you and hopefully to your listeners as well. For the listeners out there that are Whitewater paddlers, this is going to be an easy analogy. For anybody else, just try to understand. When you’re running Whitewater…

I recommend and most people do, I’m sure Anna does, that when you get to a harder rapid, you get out and you scout it. So you look at the rapid and when you’re looking at the rapid, you’re running, at least when I’m doing it, this is how I do it personally and how I teach the youth camps and stuff like that I work with, is you get out, you scout the rapid and the first thing that you do is you try to analyze any scene risks.

Are there logs that we can see? Are there sharp rocks? Are there undercuts? Different things that we could see that are actual hazards right there, just plain and simple right in front of us. If there are no hazards, I’m like, okay, sweet, I’ve checked that off. Then I start to understand what is the line that I’m trying to navigate through this rapid. And then…

How hard and difficult is that line? Can I make that line? Are my skills up to par with that? Essentially, what could go wrong? What are the likelihoods of it going wrong? Again, for me, at my skill level and where I’m at in life,

You know, as a father and as a parent, I get told all the time, like, oh, you’re, you know, you don’t run class five anymore. It’s like, no, I still run class five all the time. Um, I just run class five when I’m like 98, 99% certain I’m going to nail the line. Uh, I’m not running stuff that I’m like 50, 50. Um, and, and so that’s really just it is that I try to analyze the situation. So take this out of a kayaking scenario. Um, public speaking, okay? That’s a common fear for a lot of people or at least a common discomfort zone for many people. So in that scenario, I would say like, okay, is this life threatening? Am I gonna, when I go up on stage, am I gonna get physically injured? Unlikely, I don’t think so, unless I trip going upward down the stairs. Okay, so.

Now, there could be other things like, could I say something that could be maybe not physically dangerous but it could be dangerous to maybe my career path or something of that sort, right? So, okay, well, maybe I have to understand who my audience is and what I’m talking about or where my morals are or what my beliefs are and where does that all fit in line? You know what I mean? If it’s, again, something…

that I’m morally believe in, even if it goes against the audience, then it’s like, well, then it’s up to you to determine is the risk worth where your morals are, whatever, any of that kind of thing. But really just trying to analyze, again, the risk to reward scenario. Is the risk to reward in line? And then two,

Anna
Yeah.

Nick
Like just trying to understand, okay, so if it’s not going to be physically dangerous, I’ve got my risk and reward kind of in line. What else could possibly go wrong? It’s like, okay, well, maybe I stumble on my words or my, I say, too many times or whatever it is, or I forget what I’m about to say. It’s like, well, you could just practice your speech if you’ve got a speech, or you could just speak about something that you’re extremely passionate about. And then you’re not stuck because you’ve got so much passion within you that it’s gonna come naturally to you. So really just trying to analyze what are the dangers, what are the risk to reward scenario and make sure that it’s all in line. And then just really trying to overcome, baby step, overcome any obstacles that have come along the way.

Anna
Yeah, and the other thing is that if you do bomb, let’s say, or let’s say I’m live announcing at the World Championships and I call a wrong move, which I did, it’s okay. It’s a moment in time. Yeah, there might be some people who don’t forgive you. That’s really on them in that type of situation. You can do it again. You have opportunities to try again.

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
Again, life is not in danger. We’re all human and I think embracing our humanity. I also think like what you said, the sharing of our, whether it’s our art, TV show, podcast, it can be really scary. And I think embracing that sometimes we are gonna stumble and fail and embracing allowing ourselves to do that and knowing that is a moment in time, it does not define our self-worth.

Nick
Well, I think to something that we live in a world right now where there’s just so much, I don’t even know maybe the right way to explain it, but just our lives are put online, whether it be through social media, whether it be, you know, whatever, pick your thing, TV, podcasts, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, everything is out there for the people to see and to critique. And man, people on the internet have a tendency to like to critique. And also people like to post their best stuff. Rarely, and it’s actually kind of shifting. I’ve been noticing a bit of a shift, but rarely are people posting their mistakes. And rarely do they post their growth.

They really just wanna say, here’s my overnight success. Like what we talked about when I interviewed you on my podcast, rarely do they say, oh, it took 30 years to get there. They’re just like, oh wow, look at that success. And so I think just recognizing that one, you only get to that 30 year success, that quote unquote overnight success by making the mistakes and learning from the mistakes. And then you take one step further. You stumble again, you learn, you go one step further and you stumble, you learn, and you keep going. Like you don’t become a world champion athlete. You don’t become a top podcaster. You don’t become an incredible like artist without making mistakes along the way. Like that’s just, it’s part of growth. That’s, that’s, that.

I was playing kickball with my son and EJ and my daughter yesterday. And my son had a hard time because we were losing the game of kickball, which is kind of funny. And I was trying to explain to him, I was like, well, we just learn, okay, in this scenario, we do this. And in that scenario, we do that to try to get the person out, like baseball. And trying to explain that, it doesn’t matter that we make a mistake.

What we’re trying to do here though is learn and try to improve for next time. That’s really the whole process. That’s really the goal is to improve next time. And so I think too, just understanding, I guess part of maybe because I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I have made so many mistakes and I have been critiqued harshly. And trust me, getting critiqued harshly is never fun, which you’re very aware of as well.

Anna
Yeah.

Anna
Hmm.

Nick
But what it does is it kind of makes you have a bit of a thick skin. Eventually you start to realize like, I just don’t care what you’re going to say. I’m going to put my art out there for the world anyway, because I love to do it. And I would love for people to enjoy it, but if they don’t, I’m sorry. I’m going to put it out there anyway. And I really think that like, the best people in life kind of recognize that. Like Joe Rogan, top podcast in the world, he says a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t like, but he keeps doing it and he’s still the number one listen to podcast. And again, I’m not saying like him or not, it’s up to you, but it’s not gonna stop him from doing it. And just like how whatever it is that anybody’s trying to do, listen.

Maybe it’s worth listening sometimes to the critique because that’s one thing too, is when people say harsh things or they do critique you, it’s almost like getting hit with a golden nugget. A piece of gold, it’s kind of heavy. If you get hit with a golden nugget, it’s going to hurt. But what’s going to happen is that golden nugget is going to drop at your feet and you have an opportunity to pick it up and look at it and be like, huh, okay. And then you can use that again as ways to improve.

Not just make yourself, you know a little bit thicker skinned, but also it’s like oh well They didn’t like my podcast because I was stumbling on my words too much. Okay, maybe I need to Slow down my speech and stumble less or maybe I need to pause or whatever it is, you know, listen sometimes but don’t take it like

Don’t take it too seriously where it stops you from continuing on, would be my best advice, I guess.

Anna
Yeah.

Yeah, that’s great advice. And the thick skin part, what’s funny is what I was thinking of is like, I don’t know if I have thicker skin because it always kind of sucks to, it always gets me. And though, to your point, it doesn’t stop me. It doesn’t stop me from doing what I do. And as long as I feel like I’m being of service and people are benefiting because they’re…

giving me that feedback, then I’m gonna keep creating. So, you know, one thing you said early on in this, earlier on in our conversation, that I think listeners might be really, I think interested, I’m interested, is that when we see folks who are really highly accomplished, like how many times have you been on the podium at the world championships?

Nick
couple. I’d have to count four that I can think of. I don’t know, maybe more. Yeah.

Anna
Yeah, right, at least.

Anna
Yeah. So, okay. So at least four podiums, world championships, exceptional paddler, like you said, you’ve run 70 foot waterfalls, you have a TV show, and yet, so by all means, very successful, and yet you still experience that self-doubt. That’s what you expressed in the beginning, that you have those demons of the mind as you call them.

And I think it’s really important that we understand that no matter how successful someone is or you become, that this discomfort zone is always with us to some extent, right? It’s gonna shift, for instance, discomfort zone for like a paddling analogy. When I first learned like class two is my discomfort zone, but then I…

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
you know, develop my skill and my nervous system got used to class two. So then it was class three. So it kind of shifts around. And so does that surprise you that you’re so accomplished and yet you still have that self doubt.

Nick
Yep.

Um, I would say to be completely honest, not really, because I think of, um, I mean, okay, let me put it this way. The self doubt, you know, maybe that’s just my personal way of internalizing the discomfort zone. Um, I’m not certain. I don’t know if everybody, you know, if it’s the same doubt is, is like the number one trigger or not. Um, but for me, the doubt is, is there.

Um, and that’s just something that I, you know, continually battle with. But as far as like the discomfort zone, it, that doesn’t shock me that it’s always there because it always will be there forever and eternity until you stop growing and it’s still until you, I guess, not even stop growing until you’re perfect and, and no one will ever be perfect because, because you can’t grow unless you have that discomfort zone. We again spoke about this a little bit on my show, but you have to push through your comfort zone into the discomfort zone, because that’s where the growth lies. If you wanna get good at anything, I just bought some weights this afternoon. I was a little bit late to our podcast because I was at the store, getting some gym equipment and stuff, because I’m planning on working out with my son. And…

If you don’t lift heavier weights, you’re not gonna get any stronger. You have to do the hard things to be able to grow. If you only ever run class one, guess what? You’ll never be a class two paddler. And if you only ever do class two, guess what? You’ll never be a class three paddler. And so forth, and it’s just forever. It’s Dane Jackson, arguably one of the best paddlers currently, maybe one of the best paddlers there’s ever been.

Um, there’s, there is a discomfort zone for him. I don’t know exactly where it lies because he runs some pretty crazy stuff. Maybe it’s a 200 foot waterfall. Maybe it’s a 300 foot waterfall. I, you know, I’m not sure. And, and same with your husband, Andrew, like Andrew, I’ve always been amazed with his like, you know, fluid, smooth style for sure. He has a discomfort zone. I can’t tell you what it is.

I don’t know what level of waterfall or how hard the rapid is or what the move is, but there is something out there that he would look at and be like, Ooh, man, I don’t know that one. Whew, that’s going to be a little tricky. I think I can do it. Man, is it worth it? Okay, here we go. And then you go for it. And that

To grow in any aspect of life, you need to push the boundaries. We’ve heard it forever and eternity. You could count, like, there are so many quotes about, you know, pushing beyond the comfort zone, trying to, like, that’s where the growth lies. I mean, but all the quotes are there because it’s true. Like, you can’t grow within the comfort zone. I had a, I was talking with my wife about this.

Um, recently and, and I was just trying to explain that, like, I actually don’t think that you can really grow in a comfort zone. I think that you have to expand beyond it because if you stay within your comfort zone, you are likely staying where you’re at and you, you might be able to maintain at your comfort zone, but you’re.

I just don’t think that you can grow beyond it without pushing out of that comfort zone into whatever the discomfort zone is for you.

Anna
Yeah, I agree. And I think why I started this podcast is so that I could have conversations with folks to hopefully inspire, because we have heard it, there’s a million quotes, but what does that look like for different people? And I think that’s where we can really feel inspired or take those gems away is when we actually hear real people who are having these experiences like you having self doubt.

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
Okay, well, if Nick Troutman is experiencing self-doubt, it’s okay that I’m experiencing self-doubt. Or if Anna’s experiencing self-doubt and look at all the things she’s done, then I’m okay. I think knowing that we’re all okay, we’re all human and embracing that humanity is so key. And it helps us be like, I can do this. I mean, that’s the whole thing, is I can do this. I want folks out there
to know that even if you thought you couldn’t do it or there’s something right now, you might be like, I don’t think I can do this. You can do it. And you’ve given us great strategies so far to work with.

Nick
Yeah, I would just, to agree with that even further, I would say that anytime that you feel that you can’t do it, just remember you just haven’t done it yet. It doesn’t mean that you can’t do it, it just means that you haven’t done it yet.

And so keep pushing, keep trying. Again, I regularly like to remind myself and others, I mainly work with youth and kids and stuff like that, or teens, but to remind people that you cannot lose if you never give up. Could take you six days, could take you six minutes, six hours, six months, six years, 60 years.

But eventually you will win. You will succeed at whatever it is that you’re doing if you just straight up never give up and you just keep going. And again, I spoke with my son about this the other night about Thomas Edison creating the light bulb. He did 10,000 tries that didn’t work, but he never gave up. And what he did is he said, okay, well, these are 10,000 things that don’t create the light bulb.

Okay, well, I’m gonna keep going. He didn’t say I’ve failed 10,000 times. He’s saying, okay, I’ve found out 10,000 ways not to do what I’m trying to do. I’m gonna keep pushing forward to figure out how can I create this light bulb that I’m trying to create. And just remember that the hard things will happen, just keep pushing forward and you will eventually succeed.

Anna
Yeah, and I think that consistency and that perseverance is easier when you have a passion for what you’re doing, right? It keeps drawing you in, it keeps pulling you forward. There’s something to be said for, I don’t know if you’ve read Adam Grant’s book, Rethinking. I think it’s Rethinking. One of his podcasts talks about sunk cost. So I think that there is that, you know, he talks about, so you’d have to read that for us to have a conversation about it. But at some point, if you’re really unhappy or it’s not pulling you forward, no matter what you’ve invested in it, it might be okay to change course. And that might be a huge discomfort zone. And that’s okay. And what you’re saying or what I hear you saying is, yeah, if you’re really committed to something and you’re going with it, that perseverance is key.

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
It will produce results. Yeah.

Nick
Yeah, 100%. And I do agree with that the sunken cost, man, that trying to pull out of something that you have sunk a lot of time and energy and money into at times, it’s frustrating. But those are the times where for me anyway, I do like some inner reflection. I usually like, I’ll lay down on the floor and try to meditate and try to understand what is it that I’m actually trying to achieve here.

Anna
Great.

Nick
And what is my real goal? And then like, is this the path to that goal or do I need to actually shift paths? Because maybe I thought this was where I was trying to get, like I started a coffee company a couple of years back and I put two years of work and dedication and money into it and really thought that that’s what I wanted to do in the sense of just having this side hobby and this whole create my own business and all that kind of stuff. And then I realized, no, what I really want is just time freedom and financial freedom. And I thought owning my own company would give me that, but that’s not really it at all. And then even so, then I start even thinking, okay, well, maybe…

If the financial freedom is really what I want, why do I want financial freedom? What would that bring me? You know, if I had all the money in the world, what would I do? I’d probably travel around the world going kayaking and adventuring with my family. And, well, wait a second. Maybe I’m already doing that. So maybe I don’t need to chase the money because I can go ahead and just like shortcut straight to the end zone. Do you know what I mean? Like, and so it’s like trying to really understand what is the end goal here. Because.

Anna
Right.

Nick
Maybe the path that you think is taking you to the end goal just might not be the right way. And like what you said, at some point you just have to, you know, bite the bullet and take the sunken cost and go a different route.

Anna
Yeah, and that takes a lot of courage. It’s like, I remember when I did, I had produced instructional DVDs for whitewater kayaking for women that did really well. This is back when DVDs were cool, like in early 2000s. And then I totally was like, oh my gosh, if I produce a wreck kayaking video for women, it’s gonna blow up because wreck kayaking, there’s so many more people. And I did do it more for…

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Anna
Yeah, for the monetary return, I wasn’t as passionately invested in it like I was with Whitewater. And it didn’t go the way I thought it would. Yeah, it sold out because we did a limited run. So I learned that lesson, just like you’re saying. Be real with what are your values, what do you really want? And don’t… chase or at least I learned like don’t chase things just for like a monetary outcome. For me, everything that’s worked out is there’s been a passion behind it, a desire to serve, which there was for sure a little bit in that video, but not like in my other projects. So yeah, I love that you brought that up.

Nick
Mm-hmm.

Nick
Yeah. And even like, you know, as far as the monetary stuff goes, you know, to each, to each their own, maybe, maybe for someone else, you know, financial security is like, well, I grew up, you know, literally starving to death. And so I really want to have, you know, X amount in my bank account. So I always know I can afford my next meal or I want to donate to this cause or the other thing, like to everybody might have their own why, do you know what I mean? But it’s, it’s trying to understand what the why is.

Anna
For sure.

Nick
and have that be the driver versus just like money or fame or throw whatever, you know, like celebrity status or Instagram followers. It’s just like, figure out what your why really is. And, you know, there’s a saying something along the lines of, I’m probably going to butcher this quote, but it’s like someone who has, or someone who really knows their why can always overcome anyhow. Meaning that when you really have the reason of why you want something, you will find a way.

Anna
Mm-hmm.

Anna
Yeah, I love that. And I agree. And what’s interesting is that when I’m passionate about something, it actually generates more revenue and gives more success. And to be clear, another stand that I have for within the outdoor industry, something that I’m committed to, is that outdoor professionals, whitewater or paddling professionals should be able to make a good living.

Right? Because there’s a lot of value in that. And so I’m all about, I just want to put that in there that, you know, there’s nothing wrong with having abundance and valuing your worth, especially when you’ve had years and years of experience and lots of training. So just wanted to add that as well.

Nick
Yeah.

Anna
So you’re a mentor to youth, you said. Did you have a mentor when you were young or at any time that really has helped you navigate your discomfort zone, your self-doubt?

Nick
Great question. I have had many mentors over the years. I’m trying to think of any that really specifically helped me. To be honest, I would say that my mentors probably helped me a lot more with… you know, technique and just learning and education and all that kind of stuff. I think a lot of my mental, like overcoming kind of a mental doubt and that kind of stuff, I would say those mentors were probably a lot more from books to be honest. And I think when I was, I don’t even remember when, at some point,

Maybe when I was 30, no, I think it was right around when I was having kids and my son’s like 10. So maybe like 25, I really got into reading. I was not into reading as a kid. I was not into reading as a teen. I think like other than the books that I had to read for school, I read Harry Potter series, but that was like the only thing. And then at around 25, I started recognizing that there was a lot of…

very knowledgeable people that have written books and have shared a lot of insight within these books. And when I didn’t have mentors that could, you know, help me navigate mental space or different things, maybe, you know, maybe the mentors, like I had James Roddick, he was the one that kind of like really got me into kayaking. Billy Harris, a friend that you would know, also helped me a lot when I was younger.

Eric Jackson, my father-in-law helped me a ton. And then some of my peers and best friends like, Dane, Rafa Ortiz, Joel Kowalski, they all helped me. But at some point, I guess I got to a space where I was seeking something different from my mentors. And so I started looking into books.

And it helped a lot and so much you can see I’ve got like I built a library in my basement because I got so into books and learning from them and also wanting to kind of pass that on to my children is like we can learn a lot from books. There’s a lot of and it doesn’t have to be books. I mean, there’s podcasts now there’s YouTube. There’s so much so many different ways to get information. But just recognizing that you can have a mentor that you have never met in person.

Anna
Yeah.

Nick
You could have a mentor that doesn’t even still live, you know in this timeline in the sense that like Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich back in 1929 Still a great book and still has many, you know tangible lessons that you can learn in 2023 or 2024 and so So yeah, I think I got more navigating the discomfort zone, probably a lot more mentors were from different books.

Anna
Great. There’s a question in my rapid fire, which we’re coming up to here in a moment. So I might ask you your favorite book for that. But don’t say it yet. Okay. Do you have a question for me?

Nick
I’m gonna have to okay. Okay. I’m gonna have to think about it now

Nick
Do I have a question for you? I kind of do, but I kind of ask them all in our interview on my show, but I would just say for your audience, why is it that you started the podcast?

Anna
Yeah, I started the podcast, as I mentioned earlier, to really inspire folks with real life, real people, extraordinary people, examples of stepping into your discomfort zone for growth and learning, hopefully to inspire people that they can do it to. And to hear what your strategy, you know, I ask my guests, you know, what are your strategies? So we’re getting real world

Hopefully feedback, strategies, just listening to experiences, which I think to me is really inspiring. So that’s why I started it. Hopefully y’all who are listening are feeling inspired and getting some good stuff out of this. I know I am. And I am so stoked. I’m as excited about this as I was when I produced my first instructional DVD for women back in 2004.

Which I was so passionate about, so scared about. I was like sharing my, you know, I was putting it out like, hey, you know, this is the female experience as it was. I know, right at the time, it was only women in my circles who were expressing that they were, lacked confidence or they felt judged by the guys. So at the time, that’s what I wanted to put out. Like, hey, women are not…in this sport are not feeling like they can show up as they are. So here’s their experience. So I kind of like feel that way a little about this, a little nervous and hopefully it’ll be been, you know, inspirational.

Nick
Yeah, I had a similar reason for starting the podcast. And I think too, just getting to have incredible conversations. Something that I personally found was just that I benefited so much for getting to talk to these people and like-minded individuals and non-like-minded individuals to learn from different ways of thinking. And yeah, so I’m really excited for you and for the show and wish you great success with it.

Anna
Yes.

Anna
Thanks. And if you’re listening and you haven’t listened to the episode, the Art of Awesome episode that Nick interviewed me for, then you can check out his podcast as well. Go over there, check it out. I know, yeah, at some point. All right, okay, I’ve got, are you ready for rapid fire? Okay, here.

Nick
Yeah, I don’t know when this one comes out. Well, I’ll try to send you the link and you can put it in the show notes or something.

Anna
Here are rapid fire questions. What’s a morning ritual that sets you up for success?

Nick
Hmm hands down hands down the best morning ritual that I have and I try my absolute best to do it every single morning and I miss every now and then and I immediately notice, but it’s actually a gratitude practice. I usually, I like to go for a run. I’ll go for like a couple of miles usually and I’ll spend the first 15 minutes just kind of walking and just doing a gratitude practice for everything that I have to be thankful for and I have so much to be thankful for. And it just, it, brightens my day in a way that, yeah, it’s just so powerful. Yeah, so that hands down is the best morning ritual that I have.

Anna
Love it. What’s a non-negotiable self-care practice?

Nick
I don’t know if any of the things that are coming to mind fit in self-care or not. I like to work out. I like to spend time with my family a lot. And so I try my best to play with the kids every day, spend time with my wife, family. I like to read a lot. As far as self-care, I guess maybe that’s one of the best ones. Yeah.

Anna
Those are all self care to me. Yeah.

Nick
So yeah, those would be, time with family is certainly a non-negotiable for me.

Anna
Okay, what’s a favorite motivational book or talk?

Nick
You know, oh, I’ve got many, many favorite books. The Alchemist is one of my favorites.

The Richest Man in Babylon is another one. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, all kind of like parable books with great lessons. As far as one, I don’t know if you’re about to ask me one that has to do with overcoming the mental side of things or not, if that question’s coming. But one of my favorite books as well, just for…

Anna
Yes, yes, please share.

Nick
I would say the book that has helped me the most as an athlete and as a competitor, but also just really navigating kind of the mental side of things was a book called Thinking Body, Dancing Mind by Jerry Lynch. And yeah, one of my favorites. And so I love that book. But yeah, man, I’ve got to, I love books. Yeah, there’s a lot of great stuff.

Anna
That’s a great book. Yeah.

Anna
Great, so much, yeah. What do people get wrong about you?

Nick
What do people get wrong about me? I don’t know. You know, I’d have to think about that to be, again, like I said a little bit earlier on in the show, at some point in my life, I just, I really started to try not to care so much about what other people thought or said or whatever, and really just tried to live my life the best way that I could live it and tried to not even hear it, to try not even listen. So I don’t know, to be honest, how much people say, but what people get wrong about me. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know, I’m sorry. Yeah, I don’t really think of the negativity that people say. I’m sure it all exists for sure.

Anna
Okay, that’s a fine answer too.

Very good.

Anna
Yeah.

What, okay, throughout the course of your life, have you felt like the underdog or the favorite to win?

Nick
I probably, I think I would relate a lot more to the underdog than the favorite. Even though I have been maybe the favorite to win in certain scenarios and stuff like that, I think I actually, here’s a funny story. I perform better when I’m going into finals, not in first place, because when I’m going into finals in first place, instinctively I just think, oh, I’m just gonna kind of, I’m gonna maintain, I’m gonna kind of just do what I have been doing, where when I go into finals at second, third, fourth, or fifth, something like that, I have the drive to push forward. So yeah, I definitely relate more to that underdog and want to push further than just kind of like drift and maintain top spot.

Anna
Got it. Hard moves in easy water or flooding.

Nick
Hmm. Yeah, I’m probably going to go with flooding. Yeah, yeah.

Anna
Got it.

Okay. One word that describes your comfort zone. So we’ve been telling a lot about our discomfort zone, but what’s a word that describes your comfort zone?

Nick
think of lots of one words, joy, passion, love, peace.

Nick
Yeah, abundance. I don’t know, lots of just feeling of gratitude maybe. I don’t know, thankfulness. There’s just joy, I guess, if I was to put it in a simple term, but yeah.

Anna
Got it.

Okay, freedom through discipline, or I do what I want.

Nick
Hmm, definitely I do what I want. Yeah, that’s, I remind my wife of this all the time and she laughs at me. When I was, I don’t even remember, when I was like three or four, one of my earlier memories as a child, I remember my mom telling me, don’t put your hand on that stove, it’s hot, it’ll burn you. And I remember thinking like, I do what I want. And I put my hand right on the stove for the heck out of my hand and I was like, okay, well maybe mom was right. But it just like in my mind that for whatever reason that was like a foundational memory of like, no, I do what I want. And yeah, I don’t know. And I’ll get burned. I will learn the lessons the hard way because I’m going to do it my way. Yeah, exactly.

Anna
I’ll get burned and it doesn’t matter. That’s right. Love it. It’s a great story. Okay, last one. In one word, what do you hope your legacy will be?

Nick
Kindness. If I had to pick one word, I think I’d go with kindness.

Anna
Love it.

This has been an awesome conversation, Nick. Is there anything else you want to tell our listeners? And where can we find you? Where can they find you?

Nick
You can find me at a river, especially if it’s flooding. You can find me anywhere. I’m on all the social medias. Nick Troutman Kayak on Instagram is probably where I’m most active. And I try to answer all my messages there. You can check me out on my podcast show, The Art of Awesome, or check out our TV show, The Great Family Adventure, but Instagram’s probably where I’m most active on the social medias.

Any parting words for your guests or for your listeners? I would say whatever it is that you want to do, I highly encourage you to chase your dreams and go after it. And don’t listen to the naysayers and just keep going and figure out whatever that passion is and just follow that. It’ll lead to at least a happy life, if anything.

Anna
Well, and that’s everything, right? I think, I mean, a happy life is a successful life.

Nick
I think so. I think sometimes we forget the goal of what we’re doing here. And in a lot of ways, I think it is to be happy, you know, and figuring out what brings joy to you and chasing that. In a lot of ways that might just be better than money, success, fame, all the other things that we think sometimes that we need.

Anna
Yeah, well said. Thanks so much, Nick. I really appreciate you being here and I really enjoyed our conversation. So thank you. And I hope we get to do it again.

Nick
Awesome. Thanks so much, Anna. And yeah, thanks for having me on the show. And congrats for starting the podcast.

Anna
Thanks.