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Balanced Pursuits

Author: Kristi Leskinen & Jen Hudak

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A podcast for dreamers & doers, Balanced Pursuits is hosted by all-around badasses, extreme sport athletes and television personalities, Kristi Leskinen & Jen Hudak. Each episode, Kristi & Jen interview thought leaders in sports, business, and entertainment. They discuss what it has taken each guest to cultivate a life of purpose & passion, to live life on their own terms, and find balance in their pursuits. Balanced Pursuits is an compelling exploration of the grit, fire, and determination it takes to create a life you love and offers a dose of inspiration for those seeking to do the same.
21 Episodes
Phil Costa is a former starting center for the Dallas Cowboys. After retiring from football, he worked as a medical device salesman, assisting heart surgeons during more than 500 operations. And in 2018, Phil graduated with an MBA from Columbia Business School. All of this makes it sound like he transitioned smoothly out of sport without struggle, but as you’ll learn in this interview, that was not the case.Phil faced challenges in his retirement process that he wasn’t expecting and wasn’t prepared for. After navigating the transition, he realized that there was a void in the market for resources to support athletes as they face this transition out of sport. It was then that he decided to write a book. Phil co-authored the book The Transition Playbook for ATHLETES, How Elite Athletes WIN After Sports in which he interviews 100+ athletes about their transition process and shares their best strategies & tips.
Stephanie Dankelson is a body acceptance coach, podcast host & writer on a mission to flip diet culture on its head. She is passionate about helping high achieving women end their battle with food so they can discover what it means to feel at home in their bodies.From the age of 14, Stephanie struggled with disordered eating, exercise addiction, and body image issues which lead to over 10 years of seeking externally for approval, endless perfectionism, and feeling disconnected who she wanted to be on this earth. It wasn't until she learned what it meant to drop out of her head and into her body to truly understand her worth that she was able to start healing and feel whole again.Stephanie is now helping others learn how to not only feel freedom around food, exercise, and their bodies but deeply know their worth through 1:1 coaching, online courses, and her podcast Move with Radiance.
This might be our favorite interview of all time. Kelly Clark was an early pioneer in women’s snowboarding and a women that both Kristi & I looked toward for inspiration throughout our careers. She is incredibly wise, grounded, and committed to leaving a legacy that motivates others to live their fullest lives.IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS: * Kelly’s wakeup call with her strength and conditioning * How her 2002 Olympic Gold Medal catapulted Kelly into deep reflection about what she had been seeking for her life * Why Kelly’s work to understand her identity helped her reconnect with snowboarding * How being internally motivated is the key to Kelly’s success * How her motto of “what an opportunity” transformed her competitive career
Hey friends! Welcome back to the Balanced Pursuits Podcast! This week’s guest is Jen Gurecki, the co-founder & CEO of Coalition Snow, a women’s ski and snowboard company designed to deconstruct the status quo. We have a very raw and honest discussion with Jen about the state of the outdoor industry & how to use business as a tool for radical change.Jen is not shy about sharing her opinion on how we, as a society, can do better for marginalized communities. She’s committed her career to this work not only through Coalition Snow, but also through Zawadisha, a social enterprise whose mission is to provide small loans to rural Kenyan women, and Sisu Magazine, a quarterly print publication whose focus is to uncover the untold stories of the outdoors.
This week we have the honor of introducing you to Taylor Killian! Taylor is the co-founder and creative director of And She’s Dope Too, a world-wide adventure collective of women that he and his wife Jenn started. Their mission is to connect people & planet with perspective & purpose. They’ve done this by completely stripping away the compare-and-compete culture that is so prevalent in our media today. ASDT encourages women from all walks of life and of every ability level to get out with them. They’ve created rendezvous & retreats that allow women to feel 100% comfortable in their own skin while trying new and exciting things.Taylor is also the father to four kids, a photographer & filmmaker and the Creative Director for And She’s Dope Too and Lady Wild Film Festival. We’ll dive into all the details of these endeavors in our conversation. Today’s episode may bring you to tears (as it did me), while Taylor shares how he balances family, business, community, and giving-back. He’s a true example of how to leave the world better than you found it & it’s an honor to have him on today’s show.
This week, Kristi & I sit down to answer some of the best questions we’ve received on Instagram since starting this podcast. We’re doing this podcast for you, after all, so we want to make sure you’re getting everything out of it you can!Some questions we answer: * How do you become such great friends with your competitors? * I’d love to hear how you manage stress? * Can you share more about the people behind the athlete? * Where do you find inspiration?
We’re so excited to share our conversation with Lane Merrifield with you! Kristi & I both met Lane at Baldface Lodge separately, four years apart. But it was the same qualities in Lane that struck us both. He’s one of the most down-to-earth, welcoming, engaging, and interested people we’ve ever met. Yes, interest-ED (also interest-ing, but we’re sticking with ED for now). He truly wants to connect and learn from everyone he encounters now matter how different their respective walks-of-life may be.Lane has achieved a level of business and financial success that many of us could only dream of, but it’s not his success itself that we admire, but how grounded, unchanged, and unattached to it he is. Lane has maintained a level perspective and always remains focused on how he can contribute to the world around him.
Circe Wallace is a woman you want in your corner. She’s walked an incredibly unique path through this life and has so much to share. Throughout her life, Circe has worn many hats. She was an early pioneer in the women’s snowboard movement as an athlete and she now represents some of the biggest names in action sports as the VP of Action Sports & Olympics for Wasserman Media Group. But that’s not all, she’s an entrepreneur (twice over), a producer, mother, and advocate for social change.
We can’t wait for you to meet this week’s guest, Jim Harris! Before sustaining a spine injury at the end of 2014, Jim made his living from hard days in the mountains. After 6 years of teaching wilderness mountaineering courses, Jim began creating content in photo, video and written form, for clients like National Geographic, Camp 4 Collective, and Powder Magazine. That is, until he was paralyzed while snow kiting in Patagonia.It took over a week for Jim to reach definitive care in the States where five of his nine broken vertebrae were fused. After his spine fusion he began to wiggle a toe. Within a few months, muscles in both legs began firing. In the four years since that accident, Jim transitioned from wheelchair to walker to cane and continues to challenge the limitations of his disability. He is now mountain biking and backcountry skiing at a level most able-bodied individuals would only dream of.Jim shares a lot of knowledge in this episode, from getting into flow state, managing expectations around goal-setting, using creativity to fuel your sense of adventure and creating beliefs that can lead to success.
This week we have the pleasure of sharing Sarah Herron with all of you! If you’re a reality TV fan, her face may look familiar from her time on The Bachelor. But, that show was just the beginning for Sarah and the impact she’ll bring to this world.Sarah Herron is a Colorado native who gained her notoriety on ABC’s The Bachelor for being the first contestant with a physical disability. Sarah was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, but it hasn’t stopped her from climbing mountains, skiing double black diamonds and even searching for love on television.It was the outreach of young women who watched and related to Sarah on the show that inspired her to start the nonprofit, SheLift and A Course in Confidence. Sarah wants to share with other women that whether it's on the slopes, on a trail or on a show... finding love is possible, and it starts with loving yourself.
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