Make Your Mark

Making your mark is all about impact: impacting people, impacting the world, and achieving big accomplishments while you’re at it. To find out how people just like you are making their mark, we’ve interviewed individuals with stories to tell and advice to share. Read on to be inspired, and check back often for more stories that are sure to get you motivated.

Today we’re talking with Tyler of Advanced Riskology, a website about navigating life’s uncertainties. Tyler lives in Portland, OR where he likes to run and make use of the mountainous terrain by climbing and hiking. Tyler is currently in the process of tackling his goals to climb the tallest mountain on each continent (3 down so far), and run a marathon on each one, too (5 completed).

Tyler skydiving

You are committed to avoiding “the way it’s supposed to be.” Can you explain what this means and how you live by this statement?

Tyler: In many ways, we all follow set of rules that society says we have to live by to properly function and fit in. For instance, when you meet someone new, you’re supposed to say, “Hi, how are you?” even if you don’t care how they are. Most of these rules are fine — they help us deal with living around millions of other people.

But some rules — like how you’re supposed to spend your time each day, where you’re supposed to work, and how you’re supposed to behave — just aren’t a great fit for a lot of people. I’m one of them. We’re all silently told (no one actually talks directly about the rules; they just “are”) we have to follow them and live a certain way.

The truth, though, is that all those rules were created by people who decided the rules weren’t for them. For instance, we’re all supposed to go get 9-5 jobs with great companies, but how would that rule have ever come into existence if a small group of visionaries hadn’t created the companies for everyone to get 9-5 jobs at in the first place?

Many of society’s rules exist so that you can follow them and get by with a mediocre life. I’m not interested in mediocre, so I try to avoid them when they don’t serve me.

You have many, but can you explain one of your biggest triumphs as a risk-taker and adventurer?

Tyler: My biggest triumph was simply realizing how much potential there was for me to improve my life by taking risks at all, and then allowing myself to do it. Everything else that’s happened since is just a result of that realization.

So yes, there have been many risks and adventures, but the hardest part of any life change is just getting started. I still feel that way about my own life. Getting started was the hardest and most important part.

Tyler of Advanced Riskology

Why did you become passionate about helping people do what you describe as “scary things?”

Tyler: Because once you do something scary, it isn’t scary any more. This problem plagues humans in so many ways. We all fear what we don’t understand. As soon as you take a step towards understanding, it isn’t scary any more. Developing a value system for yourself that includes doing things that make you uncomfortable is the greatest tool you have to make enormous progress in the world.

What is your next goal or risk, and how are you currently working towards achieving it?

Tyler: I always have a number of balls in the air. Right now, I’m working to help a small group of friends host 3,000 people for a weekend here in Portland. I have a marathon in South America coming up in October, and I’m running a 50 mile ultra marathon with a few friends in December.

You said, ” Life’s most important lessons are learned from the risks we take, but we only learn when we actually take them.” Can you pinpoint one risk you have taken that has proved the greatest life lesson so far?

Tyler: There is no “greatest life lesson.” They’re important in their own way. Deciding to leave my old career changed me for the better. Starting a website when I had no audience has been one of the greatest decisions I ever made. Allowing myself to take on big challenges has taught me so much about what normal, everyday people like me are capable of.

There is no “one thing.” Simply allowing yourself to take a risk will show you just how much potential you have inside of you that has, until now, gone unnoticed—not just by everyone else, but even by you.


What  is the best advice you’ve received ? What advice would you like to share with others?

Tyler: Most of the time you stop yourself from going after the things you want in life is because you’re afraid of what everyone else will think. But the truth is most people aren’t paying attention. If you’re worried about what everyone else thinks, guess what everyone else is worried about? The same thing!

Do what you want with your life, take risks, and dare to be great. Fall down and get back up. Everyone that you think is watching you is actually busy watching themselves — just like you are.

How do you make your mark?

Tyler: By trying to live authentically every day.

Thanks to Tyler for taking the time to talk with us! For more on risk-taking, be sure to check out his website. You can also connect with Tyler on Facebook and Twitter.