Summit Podcat - You are enough with Jenny Lebaw

You Are Enough

Incredible stories are everywhere, and if you pay attention closely those you are close to are doing incredible things. This week on SUMMIT I get the chance to sit down with a close friend who made it to the top of their sport, have it ripped away, and then come to terms with a part of their health they had been hiding. You are not going to want to miss our second episode of Stories that inspire the human spirit with our special guest Jenny Labaw. She’s an all-around badass, and in the end, she has a simple truth everyone needs to hear. Check it out.


You are enough – Podcast


Jenny lives with Epilepsy


Kyle Hamer: (00:06) Hello and welcome to the summit, the podcast where we bring you knowledge and insights from the industry leaders and professionals. No fluff, no double-digit overnight growth schemes. We’re having real conversations with real people to get you real answers on how to elevate your career, your path, and your life. Today’s guest and my special friend is Jen Labaw and we’re going to do something a little different today. Uh, Jen. Jen has expertise but probably outside of the sales and marketing realm, which is where we normally play. And Jen is doing me the honor of being my first guest because we talk about people who inspire us or inspire the human spirit. So, Jim, I want to thank you for being a part of the podcast today.

Jenny Labaw: (00:48) Thank you for having me. And thank you for prefacing with I am outside of the realm of sales and marketing. Dude, I have no idea about sales and marketing,

Kyle Hamer: (00:59) you know, and that’s, that is quite all right. Uh, okay. Not Everything needs to be revolving around sales and or marketing. But the, um, the thing I’ll tell you or for our listeners is that Jen, if you don’t know Jen, Jen is a woman filled with life filled with passion, who has daily struggles that she’s figured out a way to overcome and she won’t tell you about them. She doesn’t wear them on her sleeve, but she is passionate about helping people find their best self. To tell us a little bit about your, your passions and, and

Jenny Labaw: (01:35) [inaudible] you are. Ooh, I like this. Okay. So my passions 110000% is spending time in nature with people that I love. And that if I could do that every single day for the rest of my life, I will be the most content person in the entire world. So, um, where do I bring that into my life? Um, physical activity and then nature is the best. So I have been the way that I met you for everyone to know. I met you way back when, when I was a Newbie out of college in Cedar rapids, Iowa at Aspen Athletic Club. And I was my first year as a personal trainer. And what are we at almost 20 years later, I’m still still doing it. I’m still in the fitness and wellness space and my passion for being physically active outdoors with people that I love, it goes directly into my passion of helping people do that and find their strengths and be empowered to live the life that they want. Do Fitness and health and vitality and well being.

Kyle Hamer: (02:37) Hmm. You know, and, and for those that have not met you and through this interview, I think they’ll get this, but there is an energy that is absolutely captivating when people work with you. So it’s, you know, yeah, we met 20 years ago, but you’re somebody that as, as the years have gone by, you left a lasting impression, not only out myself, my wife, and, and, and our family in just the zeal for how you deal with life. So, you know, when you, I think you understate to a large degree, the, uh, the passion that you have for those things, but by the same token, it exudes as people get to know,

Jenny Labaw: (03:13) no, thank you so much, you to make me cry on your part.

Kyle Hamer: (03:17) Hey, let’s let, well, I’m just trying to tell it like it is. Jen, sorry. Now look, today, a normal day for you. You know, you said you spent a lot of time outdoors, you spend a lot of time doing physical fitness and active things. What’s a typical day like for Jen?

Jenny Labaw: (03:38) Yeah, so I’ll just give you what I’ve done today. I got up this morning and I went for like an hour and a half mountain bike ride with Marcus Brown who was the love of my life. And then we went to the grocery store because we’re going to go camping this weekend. So we stocked up on groceries and then I came back to my house where I have my office and I’ve been working on my computer to develop my online space, my online office and my online, um, ability to reach people. Um, and then in a few, I guess in an hour. So I’m going to go downstairs to my gym, which is literally my basement. We built our home with our own here, this big warehouse. Um, we live in the loft and my gym is downstairs and I’m going to coach people for the next four hours of the day and then I have dinner and go to bed.

Kyle Hamer: (04:24) That’s awesome. So now you, you do have clients then that are our physically we’ll come see you at the house.

Jenny Labaw: (04:30) Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I mean I, when I say I have a gym, it’s like a [inaudible] hmm. 12 to 1500 square foot gym downstairs. So it’s not like a little tiny little space. You know, I, yeah, I have a full blown gym. I have members that come here every, every day and I do some private training and they feel very, very lucky.

Kyle Hamer: (04:48) That’s awesome. No, because this is sales and marketing and I am curious, cause you dropped it. Um, tell me a little bit about this, this exploration of the online, like what, what’s, what’s that all about?

Jenny Labaw: (05:01) Yeah, I don’t, I don’t, I’m still trying to figure that out, man. That’s fine. I’m talking to you now. Um, I, uh, so I’ve been coaching people remotely since 2008 just with like Google docs and phone calls and now facetime or zoom and trying to be as physically present without being present. So you get that technology is just incredible and the way that you can still reach people. So, um,

Jenny Labaw: (05:26) I am, I feel, and I don’t, I don’t know how it was. Let’s see. I think the fitness space is very flooded. You know, when you look at the fitness space online, it has just blown up, which is so great because there’s so many opportunities for people, but it’s also a little scary to me because there’s a lot of people that may not be 100% qualified and are putting out good content for people, um, that are 100% healthy. But there’s a lot of people in this world that are not 100% healthy and they go into these programs and they might get injured or they develop some, um, [inaudible] adrenal fatigue for the common common term or, or they get themselves into. Um, so I’m kind of a downward spiral when it should be an upward spiral with their health. So, um, there are some really great programs out there too.

Jenny Labaw: (06:11) I’m not knocking, knocking that, but my, my goal is to be able to share what I’ve done in person with so many people for the last 20 years with a broader audience, um, for people that are at home and needed to have, they have 20 minutes to get a workout in and pay attention to the health throughout the day for the average person that it just wants to feel better and, and look better in those jeans if they want to, I don’t know, but also address it from a healthy standpoint and not just pounding out workouts and calorie restricting and taking a health conscious approach to wellness.

Kyle Hamer: (06:47) Like I think, you know, I think one of the things that, that oftentimes gets lost and, and again, right there with you, I don’t know how many people that I have met either through the fitness industry or, um, watched from afar who are there, their Pinterest. I mean, there are, there are Pinterest trainer, right? It’s like, oh, I read this great workout on Pinterest. I’ll pin it and I’ll do it. Your body’s not ready. It’s not ready. I mean, I, um,

Jenny Labaw: (07:14) okay.

Kyle Hamer: (07:14) I love the passion that you’ve had since day one about functional movement, whole body health, mind wellness, meats. It’s not just a, hey, let’s, uh, let’s give you bigger biceps or a better looking biotics. It’s really about making sure that the whole human being is in a healthy spot.

Jenny Labaw: (07:32) Yes, sir. Who else had no,

Kyle Hamer: (07:35) th th there are a couple things that I think, uh, above and beyond what you do that I think are really kind of super cool human feats that I’ve physically watched you do. Um, now in 2011, you kind of were like a big deal. You were on ESPN and, and, um, made the, made the world stage. Tell us a little bit about your, your trek into the crossfit games. Was it the first year, the second year of the crossfit games?

Jenny Labaw: (08:06) I think the crossfit games started in Aromas, California on the ranch in 2008. So there was eight. Yeah, eight and nine, I think were at the ranch. And then 10, I think they made it down to Carson. I could be wrong than that. And then 11 was when I found out about it. So I guess I found, I kind of discovered what crossfit was in the, um, late 2010, but in 2011 decided I was going to try to try to become an athlete and crossfit and see what I could do with it. And um, so green and so naive and so passionate and excited and they had happened. I just, in two, I trained my butt off for six months and surprise myself that the northern California regionals and got second and then made my way to the big show. And in 2011 at the time of life when some of

Kyle Hamer: (08:56) the most incredible athletes I’ve ever met and good people and play six with an incredible team behind me. I mean, I couldn’t have done it with, without the people that were supporting me the whole time. Yeah. You know, it’s um, well we’ll get to the story in just a minute, but you know, it’s, it’s really interesting. Oftentimes people will get to the top like you in, in podcasts or, or content in the world. They’re guys like Gary v you get, you’re Tony Robbins, you’re Jack Welch’s. And they’re like, oh, this person does all this great stuff. Yeah. But there’s usually like 15 or 20 other people behind them, supporting them, helping them execute and get things done. So I love the fact that you, you recognize those folks even, you know, eight years later, nine years later, the impact they had in your life. Now how does, how does a wild at heart full of life, twenty-something go from podunk cedar rapids, Iowa, two six than the crossfit games? What’s, what’s that look like? How do you get there?

Jenny Labaw: (09:58) I just is just life man. Like just the people you know and decisions you make every day. You never know where they’re going to take you. And I went from Cedar rapids, Iowa to moving home to small town Colorado and running and gym there where I met these, well, these people are my clients. And they met Marcus who was a water skier who lived in California. And I ended up moving out to California and I work at this gym that knows what crossfit is. And I did this competition. I ended up winning it and I decided I should train and I train and, and then I make it. So how does that happen? And just you’re just living life and making decisions day by day, you know, it’s not like it’s, and it’s a lot of hard work. A heck of a lot of hard work.

Kyle Hamer: (10:39) Yeah. But I mean you’ve got, I mean, come on, come on Jen. I mean that it’s part of, it’s your passion, but there’s a lot of people that are like, oh, I think I could do that. But you did it like, so,

Jenny Labaw: (10:49) oh, that’s what you’re asking my dry.

Kyle Hamer: (10:51) Yeah. Like you did it. I mean it, where’d it come from? Like what, what was it about crossfit that had you so curious that you’re like,

Jenny Labaw: (11:01) hmm. It looked hard. It looked hard. It looked like I didn’t think I could do it almost. You know, like, so I’ve done a lot of things in my life and crossfit is one thing that I’m super proud of, but is it the biggest thing I’ve done in my life? Not even close, right. And biggest, I don’t mean where everyone knows about it. Most of the things that are my biggest things people don’t know about, but it’s the, it’s the challenge of thinking, hmm, I really don’t know if I can do this, but I’m sure it’s how I’m going to try and I’m going to try as hard as I can and either prove myself wrong, prove other people wrong or surprised the heck out of myself. I don’t know. Or, or fail, you know what I mean? That’s, that’s also, that’s a very likely thing and happens a lot where you choose these big feats and you work your tail off and you don’t quite make it to the big show. And it’s okay because you learn more about yourself in the process. And that’s kind of how I live my not, not doing, trying not to do the comfort zone thing, trying to live as far out of my comfort zone as I can. And that’s how cross the happen I think for me.

Kyle Hamer: (12:08) That’s awesome. Well there are a lot of people who have a lot of things that they wish. When you think about the difference between say you and your choice with crossfit and making the decision of I can do it or I can’t do it, or let me, let me push myself to the limits. What are practical tips for somebody who like maybe I can give up the bag of chips or I can’t give up the bag of chips to, to make that life change incrementally. Cause it didn’t, it didn’t happen right away. Right. It wasn’t like, hey one minute you’re, you know, one minute you meet this water skier, the next minute you’re doing muscle up. So on ESPN there, there was, there were incremental things that happen. How do you, how do you get there?

Jenny Labaw: (12:51) There are a couple of steps. There were a couple of steps in between. Um, you know, this is something that I work with my clients all the time and that I think is a constant thing that we all have to do. And no matter if it’s your training for the crossfit games or you’re just trying to make it day by day through your job and through your life, um, I’m sure you guys have all heard of Simon Sinek is knowing your why. You know, why, why are you doing it? If your why is not strong enough or you don’t know your why, you’re going to get fried, you’re going to get burned out, you’re not going to be able to make it through those times. That sucks so bad that you barely can function, right? You’ve got to know why you’re doing it. And if, if you get to a point throughout that process where you’re trying and you’re trying and you’re trying and you know your why but it just doesn’t feel right or things are just not going the way that you want them to go and you can’t figure it out and it’s time to rethink your why.

Jenny Labaw: (13:42) Maybe your why has changed, you know, maybe you don’t have that drive to do it anymore. Maybe you really, whatever your reason for for doing what you’re doing is your, what is it, how do they say your reason, your reason for changing much. I can’t, I’m going to totally butcher it. I’m not even gonna judge this. Basically you’ve got to, you got to know why and you have to be, have that clear purpose and that clear vision or at least the direction for that clear purpose and clear vision to be able to make it through the hard times.

Kyle Hamer: (14:13) That particular statement and I’ve heard Simon Sinek speak and, and I heard his wife but I don’t think I’ve really experienced that or felt it would quite like with you. And maybe it’s just cause, cause I know you

Kyle Hamer: (14:27) and I know the way that you live your life, but when I think about people who have to work through the adjustment of finding their why, right? Somebody who was maybe a former high school athlete, they were, maybe they were the jock or they were the, you know, they were the homecoming court, all star athletes and all of the sudden something happens to them. Something maybe medically, maybe it’s an injury, maybe it’s, you know, it’s a pregnancy or a death, something happens. Right? And it changes their course. Finding that why for folks whose identity was wrapped up in a performance or wrapped up in something other than really a passion when it’s about ego versus passion, I think it’s a really hard transition for people to make. How have you seen people be successful? Like what are strategies that are helping, like better successful for helping people get through that?

Jenny Labaw: (15:25) Yeah. Um, so I’m going to throw Marcus under the bus here a little bit and hopefully maybe he won’t listen to this too. I don’t know. I don’t know. But, um, he was a pro water skier for 19 years and he was one of the best in the world. And in, I guess it was seven or eight years ago, he was skiing at a local tournament and doing great and all of a sudden something went wrong and you blew his back out and he was taken from being one of the best in the world and his sport to not be able to even stand up as an athlete. You try to think that your identity is not in that. We try to think that I do not, I am a person, I do not identify with just being an athlete. But when that is taken away from you, out of your control, a piece of you is broken, a piece of you is lost a piece of you might even feel a little bit dead.

Jenny Labaw: (16:18) You know what, you, you’re, you’re confused. And so I’m using Marcus as an athlete, right? Um, but this can happen. Like you said, there’s a pregnancy, there’s a death, you get fired. Whatever it is that you identify a part of you with and that’s taken away from you. How do you jump back? You gotta take some time. You know, I think that’s one people just jump into the, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing I can do? What’s the next thing that I can do? Take some time to reflect on, on w what you just went through and, and except that it is out of your control and you can’t control everything in your life. Like that’s a big thing right there, right? But then that’s not all you are. There’s so many pieces and parts to every individual. So then you have to start thinking about what else am I good at? What else am I passionate about? What else can I bring to this world that is going to be an extreme value. And once you start putting all those pieces together and you find a common ground that is your why, that intersection of all of those things, of your value, of your, um, the skills of your expertise, of your passions, that is your, that will help you to decide what the next step is. I believe,

Kyle Hamer: (17:39) well, I don’t think, I don’t think it’s probably the probably belief is, is part of it, but I also think it’s something that you live very, very vivaciously

Jenny Labaw: (17:50) and out loud in both being still enough to reflect but flexible enough to deal with a lot of uncertainty and you know, at times things happening to you that you can’t control through no fault of your own. Right. Yeah. You and Marcus started, I keep talking about Marcus for crying out loud currently. I spend a lot of time with those guys. We were talking about this morning that there’s, okay, there’s this thing with humans that we have to label things, right? Like say I’m having a really bad month of my life and I’m in this super sad point of my life. Things are just not going right and we might label that as depression or we might label that you’re having some anxiety or we might label it as something. Whereas we’re trying to put a title on the way that we feel instead of just feeling it and accepting that that’s just, oh, it’s okay.

Jenny Labaw: (18:46) Like we’re not always going to be happy. Things aren’t always going to be going right. And if they were like, when suck, because then you’d never know that things were always going right. You know, you have to have, you have to have the bad to have the good, you have to have this suck to have the glory, like I was saying. So I sometimes get frustrated when people have to label the way that they’re feeling is instead of just feeling it and rolling with it. And the next step will come. When you do that, when you’re actually in the moment and present and aware of what’s happening.

Jenny Labaw: (19:20) So you keep talking about Marcus, but, but it really is the person that inspires the human spirit. And in, let me, let me, let me help our audience understand. So you compete in the crossfit games, you play six. Right. Okay. Why didn’t you compete again? I, yeah, I competed again in 2012. I got regionals and got back to the crossfit games in 2012 but halfway through, well, the whole year I was battling a pretty severe neck injury and ended up finding out that in life past I had broken my neck, which I did not know and I had bulging, still have bulging c four, five, six. So that, um, flared up really bad at the crossfit games that year, halfway through and I had to make the hard decision to withdraw. I probably could have pushed through, but turns out you only get one neck in your lifetime.

Jenny Labaw: (20:18) So I tried to hang on to that one as much as I could and made that hard decision. And then in 2013 I was humped and this was going to be my year. I was going to win. And the day before the open, which is the first qualifying rounds. Um, I was riding my bike home from work and I got t-boned by another cyclist and tried to be super athletic and jump over my handlebars and ended up breaking my foot. So the day before the competition season, I was, I wasn’t essentially out cause I was in a, I was in a boot. And um, I talked to a friend of mine, Kelly Strat, who’s a big, big guru in the fitness world and he, he said, you’re not done. He was like, you’ve just got to figure out how to do it on one foot. And I said, your feet, you’re absolutely right.

Jenny Labaw: (21:01) That is, you’re so right. So I did the open on one foot and did not qualify for the [inaudible] the games that you’re on for regionals, but um, but inspired a heck of a lot of people and how to realize I had a completely different purpose that season. My season was not to win. My season was to inspire people. That adversity is just there and you got to figure out a way to get through it. So that was 2013 in 2014 the plan was to compete again. I got to regionals and I ended up getting eight, but we had been building a house. I was working full time building a house full time and also trying to train for the games full time, not a good combination. And after that I was pretty fried. I had to, I just was done training by myself and beating my body up and so I decided to call it.

Jenny Labaw: (21:48) So you, you did, you did come back? I did. I did. You didn’t give up, you didn’t lay down until you found out a different way? Yeah, totally. The different why he is very personally I think. Oh yeah. What you did next was pretty special. What did you do next? Yeah, well in 2012 after I kind of built that platform with crossfit. Marcus is a videographer and he is that Jenny, you have a, you have the ability to share your story. And at this point in my life, when I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with epilepsy and there was a handful of people in my life that knew that at this point. So it was very scary at what was I 31 years old, something like that to all of a sudden tell the entire world. But in my world, but I had epilepsy.

Jenny Labaw: (22:44) But um, Marcus has created a video called Jenny ball living with epilepsy. I think it’s still on YouTube. And he said, if you don’t like it, we don’t have to share it. If you do, then then we can. And so he created the video in 2012 just before I went to regionals and I couldn’t not share it. I was so scared. I was probably scared, one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. Right? Cause there’s all these people that are following my healthy lifestyle and my walks of life and my exercises and my workouts and my nutrition and just, just my life. And so to put that out there was, I thought people were gonna just what a Weirdo. So, but I did it. And the result was overwhelmingly positive. And people from all walks of life reached out to me and said, either I’ve known you forever and I had no idea, or I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but my mom has epilepsy, my sister has epilepsy, my best friend has epilepsy, my dad has cancer.

Jenny Labaw: (23:41) Thank you for showing me that. I can so encourage him to do things. So there was just this awesome response. And it wasn’t until I quit competing in 2014 that I had space and energy to do something with that new part of my life that had been opened. Um, and I was sitting on the couch watching a documentary with Marcus called, um, into the wind. It’s Terry Fox. He’s a Canadian who you got to watch it. I don’t even want to spoil the story, but dude was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and ended up running across Canada for cancer research in the 80s and when I saw that we were sitting on the couch, it was over, the credits were rolling and I looked at Marcus and I said, okay, I gotta do something bigger. And in June that year, it was 2015 we were in Colorado where I’m from and we were driving through the mountains and it hit me like a ton of bricks and I just started bawling and I said, I’m going to, I’m going to run across Colorado for epilepsy. And two and a half months later, I found myself on the New Mexico border of Colorado. I’m taking off on a 31 day journey, running 500 miles over the Colorado Rockies to the Wyoming border. And it was by far the most incredible thing I’ve ever done in my life to this point, personally, socially, globally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, all of it. Two and a half years prior you were,

Kyle Hamer: (25:11) you are a closet epileptic.

Jenny Labaw: (25:13) Yup.

Kyle Hamer: (25:14) Right. You mean you, I knew you, I saw you all the time. I had no idea that this was part of who general buy was. It was, where were you ashamed of it?

Jenny Labaw: (25:26) Um, I sh, I don’t know if ashamed is the word. I mean, there was nothing. I was afraid people were going to judge me and I was going to, um, I dunno. I was just, I was, I was just afraid that people were going to think that I was a Weirdo, you know? And I, I did totally irrational thought except for, except for some people. Do you know? So, um,

Kyle Hamer: (25:53) well look, I think, I think from a personal standpoint, I didn’t appreciate what epilepsy was and how it impacted people until you shared your story.

Jenny Labaw: (26:11) That makes sense. That’s the whole reason I shared my story. So I’m so glad to hear that. There was a little boy

Kyle Hamer: (26:17) when I was, uh, sophomore and junior at junior and senior, I can’t remember in high school. And we went to [inaudible] table rock, Missouri. Like we’d go skiing and there was this family that had a five-year-old four and five year old boy. He was a really, really, really deep into the autistic. He was really autistic, wouldn’t connect. And I remember his first epileptic episode and episode Pepsi as well as being autistic. And I think seeing that in him, like you get this kind of this, this fear, this uncertainty, there’s this loss of control. He and I bonded for whatever the reason we, we bonded through his autism and when he had his epileptic episode the first time, like I really didn’t know what to do. And it was, it was terrifying.

Jenny Labaw: (27:08) [inaudible]

Kyle Hamer: (27:09) but there was still this stigma, even though like is a sweet boy, there’s still this stigma of absolute ipsy, this weird, crazy, creepy like cooties type of thing. And I think you’re right. Like a lot of people would still be like, hmm, yeah, I know Jen can’t compete in the cross games, or no, Jen can’t do this or that because she has this thing that’s gonna prevent her from doing it.

Jenny Labaw: (27:31) [inaudible]

Kyle Hamer: (27:31) but when you came out and you showed your story, it was like, Oh wow, Jen did do all these things. Not In spite of, but alongside with like it was like there, there was like there was no separation between the two. And and watching your story and watching your run.

Jenny Labaw: (27:50) Okay,

Kyle Hamer: (27:51) man, can you just, you, um, you moved a lot of people in a short period of time.

Jenny Labaw: (27:59) Thank you. That was, you know, I, my mom said something really cool at the end of my run that I will never forget. She was there on and off. You know, she had to work so she was not there the whole time, but she was in there on and off. Then she, at the very end of my run, something very surprising happened. I crossed the finish line of the 500 miles and Aye, my feet were completely annihilated. My body was, I had lost 14 pounds. I was just, I was, I was withering away. My body was done, but mentally I just wanted to turn around and run back. I didn’t want it to be over. I didn’t want, I did, I didn’t think I could go back to like normal society. Like how can I go and deal with my clients? I just had the most massive moments of my life.

Jenny Labaw: (28:47) How can I go back to, to real, to real life, quote unquote. And I would just in t I had to take, I mean I had so many people at the finish line, I was so lucky and this is in the middle of, when I say finish line, middle of nowhere, the people are with me, use tent tent poles to put out Wyoming flag on. There was no flag and it was just in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road in the ranch. And there were all these people that showed up and I had to take 20 minutes almost to just sit there and cry by myself. And I was in like squatting down and almost a fetal position, just just lost. And my mom said to me, she said, Jenny, after what we kind of collected myself and we had got in the truck, she said, Jenny, what are you running from?

Jenny Labaw: (29:30) When I told her I wanted to keep running, she said, what are you running from? And it just, it hit me and I in my gut and I thought, man, I don’t know, what am I running around? Like this is, you know, and of course we have things, we all have things in our life that are not perfect. So maybe that’s part of it, but I didn’t want it to be over because I felt like there’s just so many more people that I could impact. So it wasn’t running, running from something, it was running to something like, what else can I do to continue to inspire others and to continue to get messages from people telling them that I’ve changed their life because now they realize that epilepsy does not control them or their diabetes does not control them or whatever it is. You know, it was, I realized from that run what I thought I was just going to go spread a little message about epilepsy was so much bigger than I ever could’ve met imagined. And I didn’t want that to be over, you know? So I don’t know why I got on that topic if no idea. But

Kyle Hamer: (30:30) yeah. Well, you know, that’s really interesting that you, you know, you talked about wanting to turn around and running to cause this or in a run run back across this, the state. First of all, it sounds like your mom’s super wise, so she gets bonus points. She gets super big bonus points for being super smart lady. But it sounds like what you experienced, cause how many days was it, was it 21 days, 31 days with four days in hospitals and gyms and stuff at the hospital. The first thing that comes to mind is, is it was a person in recovery day in a hospital with an id?

Jenny Labaw: (31:07) No, I mean I was doing, I was like [inaudible] hospitals speaking it.

Kyle Hamer: (31:11) Oh, okay. Got It. Yeah. Um, so 31 days,

Jenny Labaw: (31:19) 31 days, 31 days.

Kyle Hamer: (31:22) That transformed you.

Jenny Labaw: (31:25) Yeah.

Kyle Hamer: (31:28) Jenny going in versus Jenny coming out. What was the big thing you learned about you during that time?

Jenny Labaw: (31:34) Okay. Oh Gosh, there were so many things. Um, okay. You know, one thing that I as an athlete is I try to always be or try as much as I can to be in the moment. I tried to be present. I tried to, um, be fully aware of where, what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, when I’m doing it. And I realized on my run that I’d never achieved it. Until then. I had always thought that I had, I always thought that I had just, um, I mean, I shouldn’t say never. There’s probably points like mountain biking. If you’re not present, you’re going to hurt yourself way back. But, um, there, there were hours that went by that I don’t remember because I was literally in the moment. I was so present in what was happening and I could feel all the fields or not feel any of the fields and depending on where it was. And so what was my biggest personal takeaway is I think the reason, personally, that was one of the most influential times of my life is because I was really present. And when you’re truly present, you can truly understand who you are, what you’re doing, and what your purpose is, what your why is. You feel it. You are it. You’re not just thinking about it. You are at, and that was, I am s I still struggle to get to that point. There’s so many more things that happen, but that was far as something that has stuck with me personally. That is it.

Kyle Hamer: (33:25) Ah,

Jenny Labaw: (33:27) okay. I can’t imagine 31 days

Kyle Hamer: (33:31) of being present. And I don’t mean that because of the distractions. And I don’t mean that because it’s like, oh, we’d never do that.

Jenny Labaw: (33:41) I mean that because then on a micro scale, okay,

Kyle Hamer: (33:45) in 2001, uh, I took an adventure up the, uh, saddle in the grand Tetons and we were up there for six days

Jenny Labaw: (33:57) before dies.

Kyle Hamer: (33:59) And the solitude, right, you don’t have cell phone service. You might’ve taken a book, but the winds blow in. So you can’t really read the book because the pages are blowing all around and you’re just there. And when you’re walking up, it’s you, your breath,

Jenny Labaw: (34:12) your pack,

Kyle Hamer: (34:13) some sounds right. Maybe you hear somebody hollering at something, but it’s just, it’s just silent. And the, the, the lack of distraction or obligation or any of them. It just, just trying to think about that amplified at 31 days. Um, I know what four, four days, five days in the Tetons did for my soul. I can’t imagine what 31 days did for years.

Jenny Labaw: (34:46) Yeah. So it’s 110% filled my soul. And it’s not, I don’t want you guys to like, it’s like I was totally present for 31 days. There was a lot of distraction. It was a lot of pain. There was a lot of, oh my God, I wish I was somewhere else right now. Everything on. Um, but yeah, those, those moments of truly, truly being present, there is nothing like that. You can’t find your why

Kyle Hamer: (35:14) if you’re distracted with other things.

Jenny Labaw: (35:18) No, you can’t. And the other, okay, so if you, I don’t know how much I probably have, I haven’t even talked about not being a master or an expert on this stuff. I’m not even pretending to be, but I try to be as present as I can. I tried to be as aware as I can. I try and I’m terrible at meditating. My meditating is hiking. That is how I meditate. I can not sit and just like, that’s not me. Right. So one common misconception, which I have been this misconception, so I can say this, is that people think about being present and being just being as an meditating, as being completely clear in the mind, being like, you’re not thinking of it. That is so wrong. That’s so weird to me at least being present is being aware of everything that’s coming in and out of your head.

Jenny Labaw: (36:08) Like you’re aware of the thought. You recognize it, you let it go. You’re aware of the pain in your feet, you recognize it, you let it go. You’re aware of the awesomeness around you and you take it all in and you eat it all up, right? You, you’ve got to [inaudible] that on an everyday basis. But I don’t know that everyone that we’re listening here is going to go climb the Tetons or run across Colorado. So on an everyday basis, how do you achieve that? You take time and that is what our society is terrible at and I am pointing my finger straight back at myself is we don’t take time to feel and to be and to be aware and listen to our thoughts and to feel our thoughts and to, to ask ourselves questions. We don’t, we don’t take time to do that because we are constantly going and striving to be better. And you know what? You’re pretty damn good. Just the way you are. So stop trying so hard to be better. You’re enough like, sorry, I’m getting fired up. But this is, it’s, it’s a, it’s something I’m going through and working through every day and since I finished my run has been something that I’m constantly working, working through is to know that we are enough just the way we are and taking time to realize that and feel all the fields and know all the nos than you’re going to be doing pretty good.

Kyle Hamer: (37:27) Everything that you just said. I think every human on this earth needs to hear.

Jenny Labaw: (37:37) It’s true. There’s [inaudible], there’s so much out there right now, and this might even be your podcast of how to optimize your performance, how to optimize your business, how to optimize your life, how to optimize your feelings in your family and your everything. We weren’t made to be optimal [inaudible] we were made to be and we were made to fail and we were made to hurt and we were made to be happy and we were made to succeed. And that roller coaster is what we call life. And that is where it’s enough. And if you don’t feel like what you’re doing is enough, then you start taking some steps. But you where you are right now are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Kyle Hamer: (38:22) And you know the thing that’s interesting,

Jenny Labaw: (38:25) right?

Kyle Hamer: (38:25) Somebody who may have heard that just now, we’ll say, yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s easy for you to say. You’ve had this transformative life experience. You like who you are. I don’t like who I am.

Jenny Labaw: (38:35) Okay,

Kyle Hamer: (38:35) okay. Did sounds to to a degree that there was a moment where there was a part of you that you didn’t necessarily want to accept

Jenny Labaw: (38:43) or didn’t, could tell ya you like, yeah. And you know what? This whole game of social media, what’s up, don’t even get me started on this, but [inaudible] use this as my social media channel right now. I try to be as authentic as I can be, but you know what? We’re all putting on a show. You know, we all are. There are parts of me that I don’t like at all. There’s parts of me that I look in the mirror and I’m like, right, I don’t like how that looks. Or there’s thoughts that go through my head or judgements that I pass that I don’t like. I don’t. And that’s also being human. And that’s where I say, you know you are enough because we aren’t made to be optimal. We’re made to be human.

Jenny Labaw: (39:24) And that’s exactly that person right now who’s thinking, oh well you have it all. You’re exactly where you want to be. No, I’m not. I’m not at all. But I’m accepting where I am and I’m going to try to get to where I want to be. When it feels right to do it, I’m not going to push it. You know, I’m not going to do things that don’t feel right or don’t feel authentic. And that’s, that to me is that to me is life and that is being present. And then that’s what I learned from my run. And that’s what I’ve learned from competing in the cross, the Games. And that’s what I’ve learned from having epilepsy and every other trial and tribulation that we’ve had is that you [inaudible], you’re pretty am good the way you are. Okay. But there’s also things that we can all improve on. So it’s a hard battle. You know?

Kyle Hamer: (40:16) Th Th th there’s definitely that, that balance, you know, one of the things that, that I believe firmly in his is don’t get it right. Get it going. Yes. They all have the fail, fail hard, fail fast, and fail often because if you get comfortable failing,

Jenny Labaw: (40:33) you’ll learn to fail forward. Exactly. I love that. A couple things

Kyle Hamer: (40:42) because I know you are a tremendous spokesperson just in general for for wellness, but probably more so I would like to help, uh, the foundations that you care about related to epilepsy. How can people get involved in helping bring additional awareness to epilepsy or finding their best life? What, what are, what are organizations that let you know that, that you inspire them as well?

Jenny Labaw: (41:10) Nope. Um, so I’ve been involved with the epilepsy foundation of America, um, both professionally and personally. They’re a great foundation. There’s also a foundation called cure. Um, there it’s a epilepsy specific as well. Let’s see. You are, um, this is super random. This has nothing to do with epilepsy, but another huge, um, organization that I love is protect our winters o w and it’s all not to get into a completely political discussion, but it’s all about climate change and protecting this one place that we have to live right now. Um, so that’s another, another, going back to my whole where I started that nature is, my nature is my therapy. Nature is my home. Protect our winters is a great one.

Kyle Hamer: (41:52) And if somebody wants to to reach out, get in contact with you, talk to you. What’s the best way to get ahold of the agenda?

Jenny Labaw: (41:59) Um, my website is [inaudible] dot com my email is very simple. Jenny at Jenny [inaudible] dot com okay, please email me and then Instagram is at Gen Laba. Then Facebook is genuine, Lubbock.

Kyle Hamer: (42:15) We’ll have all those links in the, on the web, on the blog as well as we’ll embed them in the podcast description for folks.

Jenny Labaw: (42:25) And if you have seriously, if you have like personal, I’m all about getting back to like direct messages and personal messages as often as they can. So you have personal stuff you don’t want to put on my own by big feed, then please reach out. Personally, I’d love that. I’d love to hear from you.

Kyle Hamer: (42:39) I, it’s really been my pleasure to have you on the show today. I’m super honored that you were willing to share your story and reminisce a little bit. Thank you.

Jenny Labaw: (42:49) Thank you so much. It means the world again, completely honored to all that are listening.

Kyle Hamer: (42:58) [inaudible] Instagram. I promise you, she will drop truth bombs like crazy fitness. You’ll be blown away. But more importantly, I think you’ll be encouraged by just what an incredible human being she is. And that’s probably the quickest and easiest way to get ahold of her. Thanks for listening to our special episode on people who inspire the human spirit. And thank you so much, Jen, for being here today.

Jenny Labaw
Jenny LabawProfessional Athlete
Jenny LaBaw has been an athlete her entire life. Growing up in the Colorado Rockies with an active family, she has spent her entire life embracing the outdoors and treating it as a natural playground. At the age of three, her parents took her on her first high mountain hike (10 miles round trip). Although she may have been coaxed up the trail with Reese’s Pieces, she walked every step of the way.
As a 3-sport collegiate athlete, she competed in soccer, as well as indoor and outdoor track and field. Post college she found her need for competition fulfilled through running endurance races, anywhere from 5Ks to marathons.
She also lives with epilepsy.
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