Insurmountable: Turning challenges into capabilities

Face the insurmountable and win.

Life will inevitably throw many challenges at you and some can certainly seem insurmountable. Whether those challenges are extreme or minor in nature, they provide the varying stimuli that allow us to grow both mentally and physically.

insurmountableI’ve found my best approach is to meet them head on, armed with the mindset of doing the absolute best I can to get over the hump. One of the most difficult hurdles I’ve had to get over is the learning curve that came from reinventing myself as a bobsledder after losing a leg in the Army.

The first season was a crowning success. Within five months of learning to bobsled, I returned home from my first major competitions a World Champion. However, this success created a scenario of expectations—both my own and those from outside of the sport. I felt like I was climbing a cliff without the necessary tools; and at the time I didn’t even have a full understanding of the sport.

In bobsled we have the saying, “less is more.” In terms of a single run down the track, less work means more speed and better downtimes. My second season was a true “less” on the success level, challenging the mantra of less truly being more. The one time I tried for “more,” I learned a very valuable lesson. That season was a true grind, and it felt like I faced a constant barrage of insurmountable obstacles.

When I coach my athletes at the gym, I teach them that you never learn as much from a successful lift as you do an unsuccessful one. You have to meet adversity and persevere.

Adversity in business can be conquered through strategic perseverance, even when change is looming. As I run the daily operations of gym ownership, I’ve learned to be fluid and prepare for an ever-changing landscape within my industry. Being strategic, much like preparing for a bobsled run, enables me to crest obstacles that come up without slowing progress.

While we all face challenges from time to time that feel insurmountable, there’s always a way to grow stronger, learn more and, in doing so, win.

Jason Sturm

Jason Sturm

In March 2002, Jason Sturm was training with his Army unit at Ft. Drum, NY when a misdirected artillery round landed five feet behind him. Thirteen soldiers were injured and two lost their lives. Jason lost his left leg below the knee. While his recovery was extremely painful, he was determined to return to the athleticism he had achieved as a soldier.

Jason was introduced to CrossFit in early 2011. Although skeptical he would be able to do the movements and exercises he saw able-bodied athletes perform…he jumped in foot first. After discovering CrossFit Walter Reed (CFWR) the following year, he found he possessed a unique ability to connect with CFWR athletes in ways able-bodied coaches could not.

This experience inspired Jason with a mission. Today Jason is CrossFit gym owner in Ashburn, VA and serves as Vice President of Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance, a non-profit organization that seeks to build a network of gyms to train adaptive athletes. He is also Captain of the Yellow Ribbon Fund Taking Up Fitness (TUF) team, which assists veterans who are fighting the physical and psychological demons of war. TUF offers fitness and the social aspect of CrossFit as an alternative to alcohol, substance abuse, isolation, and depression.

Nevertheless, Jason’s determination did not stop there. In November 2014, he was invited to train with and compete for a position on the U.S. Adaptive Bobsled team. He has earned the following accolades since then:
· 2015 Bobsled World Cup 1st place (St. Moritz, Switzerland) and 2nd place (Igls, Austria)
· 2015 Overall Para-Bobsled World Cup Champion (Inaugural) (St. Moritz, Switzerland)
· 2016 Bobsled World Cup 3rd place (Calgary, Canada); 5th and 3rd places (Park City, Utah); 3rd Place (St. Moritz, Switzerland); 5th and 13th places (Igls, Austria)
· 2016 Overall Para-Bobsled World Cup, 5th place (Igls, Austria)
· 2016 Para-Bobsled World Championships, 6th place (Park City, Utah)
· 2017 Para-Bobsled World Cup, 5th and 12th places (Park City, Utah); 6th and 10th places (Lillehammer, Norway); 11th and 13th places (Oberhof, Germany)
· 2017 Overall Para-Bobsled World Cup, 12th place (Oberhof, Germany)
· 2017 Para-Bobsled World Championships, 4th place (St. Moritz, Switzerland)

In September 2016, the sport of para-bobsled was provisionally accepted into the 2022 Winter Paralympic games. Jason is currently ranked among the top three U.S. para-bobsled pilots and continues to compete in the World Cup and World Championship races around the world on his journey to the 2022 Winter Paralympic games.
Jason Sturm

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