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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Petty

APiD Ep. 054 | Live Life in Full Color

Lessons from the Limits of Human Ability, with Extreme Adventurer Doug Tumminello

Check out the full transcript here.


It's one thing to encounter Mortality unexpectedly. It's quite another thing to voluntarily put yourself in situations where encounters with Mortality are around every corner. Yet that's what my guest on this episode does often--and with jaw-dropping results. What he's learned in his years of exploring the edges of human ability will inspire you to live with more guts, gusto, and abandon than ever before--to live life in full color.

Meet Doug Tumminello, Extreme Adventurer

Doug Tumminello is an attorney by trade and a world-class adventurer at heart. His exploits include successful summits of 4 iconic mountains--including Everest and Denali, a Guinness-World-Record-setting team crossing of the Indian Ocean in a rowboat, a solo attempt to traverse the South Pole, and a plethora of other feats of endurance and perseverance like the Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon.

A Defining Mortality Moment

Several years into a lucrative but all-consuming law career–-at one point, Doug logged 11 months straight without a single day off–-Doug got word that a friend had died in a climbing accident. Doug had fallen in love with climbing in college but put it aside once he started a family and kicked off his career. But his friend’s death forced Doug to pause and reflect:

"What am I doing?" I'm spending my life in this job, which I enjoy, but it's taking up all my time, all my efforts, all my energy, and I'm abandoning those things that I really love, being out in the wild and in nature. And [I] decided at that point, that I was going to get back to doing those things I really loved to do in the outdoors. And the [day after the memorial service], had started planning for an expedition to Denali.”

And so an unexpected encounter with Mortality prompted Doug to begin pursuing adventures that voluntarily expose him to Mortality around every corner. He’s never looked back.

Highlights from This Episode

We cover a lot of rich territory in this conversation, including:

  • The importance of responding to your heart's call and the costs of not doing so

  • How to find the thing you're intended to do

  • Embracing your mortality and organizing your life accordingly

  • The “scary simple” way to break free of the gravitational pull of the status quo

  • The importance of getting in touch with mystery

  • Dispelling the illusion of safety and security

  • Bold vs. timid living

  • The thing that’s worse than dying

  • Which matters more, the journey or the destination?

Tune in to the full episode for the full impact of this conversation. I know it’s made an impact on me. I’m chewing on what big adventure I might create for myself to tap into some of what Doug has learned through his experiences.

Making it Matter in YOUR Life

Doug's extreme adventures have taught him about the riches available to us when we listen to the call of our heart and following it wherever it leads us. The bigger, the better. The more profound, the better. We go further, see more, do more, and understand more when we respond to your heart's call than we ever would otherwise--even if we don't fully achieve the thing that you set out to do. We'll live life in full color rather than a diminished life in the grays and in the shadows--deluded by a false sense of safety and security.

I want that full-color kind of life. What about you?

What call of your heart are you suppressing, shrinking away from in fear, or stalled out on because the many overwhelming "hows" are distracting you from the more important "what?" Maybe you can't yet hear the call of your heart because it's drowned out by the white noise of day-to-day living. Maybe it's time for some solitude, reflection, and contemplation so your heart's call can begin to make itself known.

What's your heart telling you right now? Whatever it that thing.

Remember: You ARE going to die. But you’re not dead yet. So get after it!

Let’s Connect

What stuck with you from this episode?

Message me on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, visit my website, or email me.

I’m so glad you tuned in today. Don’t forget to follow this show, and I’ll see you next time on Andrew Petty is Dying.

Connect with Doug

Follow Andrew Petty is Dying & Leave a Review

If You Liked This Episode, I Think You’ll Like These, Too

Check outEndurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Alfred Lansing), the book Doug mentioned in this episode.

New to Andrew Petty is Dying?

If you're new to this show, browse the archive of past interviews with fascinating people and short, topical solo episodes like this one--all designed to equip you with the mindset and the means to become the person you were made to be and live the life you were made to live with guts, gusto, and abandon. We flip the script by inviting our ancient foe, Death, to become an unlikely ally in our heroic journey to leave it all out on the field of life. Turns out, Mortality might just be the most potent motivator available--blasting us out of our ambivalence and complacency and toward the fullness of our potential.

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