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Episode 222 – Learning to Take Care of Yourself with Jacob Urban
Episode 22229th December 2022 • The Jackson Hole Connection • Stephan C. Abrams
00:00:00 00:42:25

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Jacob Urban is the founder of the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute, and he has an inspiring and multifaceted career in the outdoor industry. Jacob started out in Pennsylvania, but he set out to find his own path as soon as he was an adult. That path led him to study audio and video production in Florida, and then to Vermont, where he studied recreation resource management and began to build a career in the outdoors. After 15 years in Vermont, Jacob made the decision to move to Jackson Hole, where he took on a variety of roles and responsibilities, including teaching at Central Wyoming College, working on Search and Rescue, and founding the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute.

Despite these achievements, Jacob has also faced challenges, including addiction, debt, taking on too many roles and not implementing enough self care. He shares his story of how he took a step back to focus on rebuilding himself and taking care of his mental and physical health in order to thrive. Through finding his tribe and overcoming obstacles, Jacob has transformed himself into the person he wanted to become.

In their conversation, Jacob and Stephan also explore the importance of disconnecting from technology, connecting with nature, and understanding the ways in which we are all connected as humans. 

Learn more about Jacob and Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute at AvalancheAndWildMedTraining.com

This week's episode is supported in part by Teton County Solid Waste and Recycling reminding you to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. Avoid single-use products whenever possible, and remember to bring your reusable bags with you while shopping. More at RoadtoZeroWasteJH.org or at @RoadToZeroWaste.JH on Instagram

Support also comes from The Jackson Hole Marketplace. The Deli at Jackson Hole Marketplace offers ready-made soups, sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and hot lunch specials. More at JHMarketplace.com

Want to be a guest on The Jackson Hole Connection? Email us at connect@thejacksonholeconnection.com. Marketing and editing support by Michael Moeri (michaelmoeri.com,@thatsamoeri)

Transcripts

Stephan Abrams:

You are tuned into the Jackson hole, connection, sharing, fascinating stories of people connected to Jackson Hole.

Stephan Abrams:

I am truly grateful for each of you for tuning in today and support for this podcast comes from:

Stephan Abrams:

Each week I like to share quotes.

Stephan Abrams:

That I find out and about reading books, talking to other people.

Stephan Abrams:

In today's episode, I'll begin with the quote of Be patient and understanding life is too short to be vengeful or malicious.

Stephan Abrams:

And that comes from Phillips Brooks.

Stephan Abrams:

I know that I've learned recently and people have been telling me this for a long time, that have a little patience and.

Stephan Abrams:

Everything in time while you exercise that patience comes.

Stephan Abrams:

And folks, you are listening to episode number 222, and today's guest is Jacob Urban, the founder of Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob is a person with a story.

Stephan Abrams:

The story is for Jacob to share and for you to absorb.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm not gonna give it up in this introduction.

Stephan Abrams:

Why?

Stephan Abrams:

Why is that?

Stephan Abrams:

Well, the why is because it's for you to determine what you'll learn from it.

Stephan Abrams:

not how I'm gonna lead you into this conversation because I learned a lot about myself while speaking to Jacob and learning about him.

Stephan Abrams:

But I will share one quote with you from Jacob that he has during the interview, and I think you'll enjoy this and get a sense of.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob might talk about, and the quote is, when you slow down and take care of yourself, the universe takes care of you.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you for joining me here today at the Jackson Hole Connection.

Stephan Abrams:

Delighted to have you here today.

Jacob Urban:

thanks for having me, Stefan.

Jacob Urban:

I appreciate you having me on board today.

Jacob Urban:

You're

Stephan Abrams:

welcome.

Stephan Abrams:

And now that you are on board, we get to have a little ride together.

Stephan Abrams:

And this is all about you.

Stephan Abrams:

We're gonna make this little time period about you, Jacob, to where you get to share your story.

Stephan Abrams:

You have a fascinating one, and you're very open.

Stephan Abrams:

I, I'd love for you to start off with sharing with us where were you born and raised, and then how did you land here in the world of Jackson

Jacob Urban:

Hole?

Jacob Urban:

So, I was born and raised in a town far, far away from Jackson Hole on so many different levels.

Jacob Urban:

It's not even funny.

Jacob Urban:

I was born in Braddock, Pennsylvania, which was a steel town suburb of Pittsburgh, the youngest of six.

Jacob Urban:

And thankfully, my folks got me outta Braddock quite early and actually got the rest of our family outta Braddock early in my life.

Jacob Urban:

And, It was basically a declining steel town, with an extremely high crime rate.

Jacob Urban:

And, so my folks moved us up to a rural, environment about, out about an hour outside of the city, in a town called Lier.

Jacob Urban:

And, yeah, just kind of, Idyllic, small quaint little town with not much happening, where it was a lot safer for me to grow up, but I never really fit in.

Jacob Urban:

so yeah, that's, that's where it kind of all began.

Stephan Abrams:

Why would you say you never fit in?

Stephan Abrams:

I.

Jacob Urban:

nobody really enjoyed doing the things that I wanted to do, and so I found myself in a situation doing things that other people like to do in an effort to be able to have friends.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

, um, It's just a function of growing up.

Jacob Urban:

you know, you don't know any better and you don't have too many, you don't think you have many choices in life and you get surrounded by people that you're told to love.

Jacob Urban:

but that doesn't mean that they necessarily support your.

Jacob Urban:

Best interest, even though it's their intention.

Jacob Urban:

as I often joke, my parents loved me a lot.

Jacob Urban:

they had very good intentions.

Jacob Urban:

Some of that didn't, some of those lessons didn't work out for me.

Jacob Urban:

It took me years to figure out what they meant.

Jacob Urban:

and that was kind of a classic situation for me growing up, which was as I got surrounded by people that loved me.

Jacob Urban:

But when I told them what I wanted to do, they were like, ah, no, that's not right.

Jacob Urban:

That's not gonna work.

Jacob Urban:

and so at the age of 17, after I graduated high school, I picked up and left my home immediately.

Jacob Urban:

And as I joke with my family today, they're like, why'd you leave so quick?

Jacob Urban:

And it was like, well, I had to get away from everybody's opinion about what I wanted to do, and I had to figure out what it is that I was supposed to be

Stephan Abrams:

doing.

Stephan Abrams:

where'd you go

Jacob Urban:

when you were seven?

Jacob Urban:

So I ended up, I ended up for a short period of time in South Florida.

Jacob Urban:

got a degree in audio and video production.

Jacob Urban:

despite having a tremendously long background in music and the industry, I found myself not fitting in again.

Jacob Urban:

Ended up moving to Northern Vermont.

Jacob Urban:

And ended up going back to school for, recreation resource management and really found my tribe, really found my stride, and, ultimately started to find a lot of support in my, In my goals and objectives in the outdoor industry and really got my feet under me.

Jacob Urban:

I started teaching, outdoor education for Northern Vermont University, formerly known as Lindon State College.

Jacob Urban:

started ski patrolling, started mountain guiding, and started, really started my career in the out doors, where I spent 15 years there in Vermont.

Jacob Urban:

Ended up in a, my marriage, actually, my, I should say my failed marriage actually brought me here.

Jacob Urban:

and that was actually one of the benefits, like one of the things that I'm really grateful about that relationship is, is that it bumped me onto the next piece of my path, that I didn't know was waiting for me.

Jacob Urban:

And so, 17, 18 years ago, my now ex-wife and I moved to Jackson Hole and, and we started a new life and I thought I hit my stride when I was going into Vermont, but the pace picked up significantly once I got here.

Stephan Abrams:

Is that because there's so much for the outdoors, or was there something that changed in your life?

Jacob Urban:

The easiest way to explain it was I had been, for the previous 15 years, I had been gaining a skillset that I didn't recognize, had as much value as it did, and shortly after I got here, We got settled in pretty quickly.

Jacob Urban:

we found some housing, started caretaking.

Jacob Urban:

I started teaching for Central Wyoming College.

Jacob Urban:

I.

Jacob Urban:

Interviewed for Teton County Search and Rescue.

Jacob Urban:

Within six months of being here, ultimately got declined that position only to be brought onto the team in their next next class cycle.

Jacob Urban:

and then also started, started the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute.

Jacob Urban:

The business that I founded, own and operate currently.

Jacob Urban:

And, and life picked up.

Jacob Urban:

I involved myself in the avalanche community, which I had been working, working towards for some time.

Jacob Urban:

had very much stepped into kind of that role as, as an outdoor educator, more mountain guiding, and then, After a very short period of time and coming on to search and rescue, I found myself appointed to a leadership position after our helicopter went down and, and killed one of our team members.

Jacob Urban:

and uh, yeah, that was kind of the catalyst.

Jacob Urban:

There was a little bit of a tragedy there.

Jacob Urban:

There's not a little bit of a tragedy.

Jacob Urban:

It was a great tragedy when we lost Ray on the team.

Jacob Urban:

and it.

Jacob Urban:

It opened up a significant opportunity for me in order to be able to step into a very large leadership role for the county

Stephan Abrams:

and great opportunity That opened up for you, but How did you wrestle with that knowing that.

Stephan Abrams:

To that opportunity opened up because of a friend and teammates passing.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah, it's, this is such an amazing question for me because I had a tremendous amount of guilt when I stepped into it because I was feeling a lot of the trauma that the team was collectively enduring.

Jacob Urban:

Although I was a relatively new member and, I actually felt bad about how I was impacted greatly by it, on an an emotional level and.

Jacob Urban:

Ultimately that, feeling caused me to kind of dig into the role as deeply as I possibly could.

Jacob Urban:

I really, I really committed myself to serve the community after that happened.

Jacob Urban:

And I was arguably put in a position where we were trying to rectify our sins from the past.

Jacob Urban:

We had to bring the team up.

Jacob Urban:

We had to increase the, the training we had to increase the professionalism.

Jacob Urban:

we found out in a hurry that we were good.

Jacob Urban:

We just didn't have a really good infrastructure of.

Jacob Urban:

Of support behind it.

Jacob Urban:

There was a lot of, there was a lot of things that got exposed when the helicopter went down.

Jacob Urban:

And so while it was a privilege for me, I still felt a lot of the trauma.

Jacob Urban:

And at the same time I took on kind of the mistakes that the team made in the past and kinda made a commitment to try to rectify those moving forward.

Jacob Urban:

I basically set myself up for maybe the most difficult job I could have ever walked into.

Stephan Abrams:

Hmm.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm, I can't imagine, but I, I'm sure it was.

Jacob Urban:

yeah.

Jacob Urban:

I can only see that now, you know, 13 years later, or 10, or, well, it's 10 years since, 10 since the helicopter went down.

Jacob Urban:

but I can only, I can only see that now that I'm away from it.

Jacob Urban:

I couldn't, I couldn't see the undue stress that I put myself under the, the expectations that were only the expectations I created for myself.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

. Stephan Abrams: And how long did you remain on the search and rescue team?

Jacob Urban:

I was on the team for a total of nine years.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

and six of those, just over six of those were in leadership.

Stephan Abrams:

And what caused you to step away from the leadership and, and the team?

Jacob Urban:

It's fascinating because, my world started to fall apart.

Jacob Urban:

I talk about search and rescue as a culmination of many things.

Jacob Urban:

For me, it was the culmination of all of the skills that I had developed.

Jacob Urban:

It was the culmination of my career.

Jacob Urban:

and it was also the conclusion of that chapter in my life as well.

Jacob Urban:

The stress eventually got to me.

Jacob Urban:

I was doing far too many things for everybody else except myself.

Jacob Urban:

And I was finding myself on, you know, 80 rescues a year when we were averaging a hundred.

Jacob Urban:

I was training the team, I was teaching for a college.

Jacob Urban:

I was teaching for a private institution.

Jacob Urban:

I basically had too many hats.

Jacob Urban:

I had too many roles, and I was serving all of those organizations incredibly well.

Jacob Urban:

And then my marriage fell apart, and then my capacity to manage the team became impacted and.

Jacob Urban:

The easiest way to explain it is, is that I lost everything.

Jacob Urban:

I had to step away from search and rescue.

Jacob Urban:

I stepped away from all of my work and I also had to acknowledge the fact that I had an addiction issue that had been running my life for about 30 years, and I had not recognized it.

Jacob Urban:

And so I broke.

Jacob Urban:

That's how I joke about it today.

Jacob Urban:

I broke and I had to take a step away in order to figure out what it was that was important to me.

Stephan Abrams:

Did you, was that a mental or a physical break or both?

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob?

Stephan Abrams:

So

Jacob Urban:

physically I had many kind of like reoccurring injuries, emotionally, I turned into what I referred to as a leaker.

Jacob Urban:

I cried at the drop of a hat and I cried for about two years.

Jacob Urban:

And as I Jo, as I would joke with folks, you know, I'm a leaker and I have to let you know that I'm a leaker because if I let you know that I'll leak less.

Jacob Urban:

And it may seem like I'm leaking for no good reason, but there are plenty of good reasons that I'm still trying to figure out, as to why this is happening.

Jacob Urban:

And so that it, it, while it was devastating, I, I'm I.

Jacob Urban:

Lost everything.

Jacob Urban:

I was a quarter of a million dollars in debt.

Jacob Urban:

I lost my home, I lost my marriage, I lost the team.

Jacob Urban:

I was in the process of losing my business.

Jacob Urban:

I lost my primary source of income and I literally had to take about a year and a half to two years and just take care of myself, and really find out what was important to me.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm very grateful for you sharing, your, your struggle and, how you broke.

Stephan Abrams:

Not everybody is willing to share this information openly.

Stephan Abrams:

They hide from

Jacob Urban:

it.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

You know, it's fascinating because I spent 45 years of my life hiding.

Jacob Urban:

and then it took me two years to recognize I was hiding.

Jacob Urban:

And then I would say the last five years I've been finding this really cool kid that I left behind 52 years ago.

Jacob Urban:

that's,

Stephan Abrams:

yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

What was, your, a.

Jacob Urban:

Ooh.

Jacob Urban:

It was, it was, so, it all stems from not fitting in mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

and then I would do things in order to fit in.

Jacob Urban:

And so, you know, early on in life that was, you know, drinking underage and smoking weed.

Jacob Urban:

my brother taught me how to do cocaine at a very early age.

Jacob Urban:

and.

Jacob Urban:

I was kind of taught this technique where it was like, Hey, you know, if you can manage these things and get up and go to work in the morning, everything's fine.

Jacob Urban:

And so there I was 45 years later and it, I had a drinking problem, I had a cocaine problem.

Jacob Urban:

I had, I had relationship problems.

Jacob Urban:

I.

Jacob Urban:

Had, the, the fascinating thing was, is that this, it was a repeat relationship with everything that I lost.

Jacob Urban:

So whether it was my marriage, whether it was search and rescue, whether it was teaching for university, private organizations, et cetera, I wasn't doing it for me.

Jacob Urban:

I was doing it in order to be able to please other people in order to make myself fit in well and, and then one day I got extremely angry.

Jacob Urban:

And it was because I was giving all of my time away to everybody.

Jacob Urban:

and it took me, it took me a while to figure that out.

Jacob Urban:

I had to get space.

Jacob Urban:

and know, and it, it's funny because like I was broke and when I say I was broke, like I didn't have money.

Jacob Urban:

I was broken.

Jacob Urban:

And then all the systems that I was working in, I broke them so that I couldn't work at 'em anymore.

Jacob Urban:

And so I didn't have anything for a couple of years.

Jacob Urban:

And so, Once I started to kind of find myself and get back into my groove, you know, I quit drinking, I quit, I quit doing drugs, I've been doing cocaine, , and uh, that was pretty, that was pretty good.

Jacob Urban:

That was a pretty good start, you know, and it was fascinating because I quit drinking a year later on my anniversary, the individual that I quit drinking with, he said to me we had to quit doing blow.

Jacob Urban:

And I was like, that's actually a really good idea.

Jacob Urban:

and we did that.

Jacob Urban:

And a year later the emotional piece was, it wasn't fixed, but it was beginning to heal.

Jacob Urban:

And then one year later I was completely out of debt.

Jacob Urban:

my health was in really good order and things started to flow again.

Jacob Urban:

I was fascinated by when you slow down and take care of yourself, the universe takes care of you.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob, I've heard that statement.

Stephan Abrams:

When you slow down and take care of yourself, the universe takes care of you.

Stephan Abrams:

I've heard in many different ways, but it, it essentially, it's the same message that, when you, when you do slow down, you can see the clarity of, of what is around.

Stephan Abrams:

And, and for you, I'm, I'm curious to know, I hear the part that you stopped drinking and stopped, you know, hitting the cocaine.

Stephan Abrams:

so you were clean, during that two year period that you said you started doing stuff for yourself.

Stephan Abrams:

Do you wanna share.

Stephan Abrams:

What are some things that you were, what did you do for yourself?

Stephan Abrams:

How did you realize, hey, this is, this is for me.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm not doing this for somebody else.

Jacob Urban:

So,

Jacob Urban:

all right.

Jacob Urban:

I'm gonna try to keep it together while I talk about this, cuz this is, I had a couple of, I had a couple of outdoor objectives and I was always, Very extremely goal, or I've always been extremely goal oriented in the out outdoors.

Jacob Urban:

And I had, I had been working in the Tetons leading wilderness trips up in the Jedi Smith wilderness, and I'd been taking students across the range and we'd been doing it over a 10 day period.

Jacob Urban:

And I did that for 10 years and.

Jacob Urban:

Somewhere along the line is walking the range from Grassy Lake Road down to Teton Pass.

Jacob Urban:

It dawned on me, I was like, wow, we do this over 10 days.

Jacob Urban:

You know, this would be a really fun like four day trip with friends.

Jacob Urban:

You know, like, and, and then somewhere along the line I started having this pipe dream where I was like, you know, I could probably do that in two days.

Jacob Urban:

And then I was like, Hmm, you know, I actually.

Jacob Urban:

I actually thought one day I was like, I think I can get across the range in a single push unsupported.

Jacob Urban:

And so oddly enough, I took up that objective where I was like, okay, I'm gonna traverse the range.

Jacob Urban:

I'm gonna do it in a single push unsupported solo.

Jacob Urban:

And then I made one caveat, which was is you're not allowed to suffer.

Jacob Urban:

Because I was really good at suffering.

Jacob Urban:

I was really good at taking the pain on and.

Jacob Urban:

What I realized in the process, because over the course of three years, I attempted the, I started training and I was in good condition for it, but I started to take it very serious, and over the course of three years, I attempted it four times.

Jacob Urban:

I failed the first three times, and every time I failed, it was because of the nagging injury.

Jacob Urban:

And I started to find out that.

Jacob Urban:

The more space I gave myself and the less punishment that I delivered, and then the more time I gave myself to heal,

Jacob Urban:

even though I would fail, I knew in the back of my mind I was getting closer to the end.

Jacob Urban:

And so, Out of all the things I did, it was like I picked up a yoga practice.

Jacob Urban:

I started meditating.

Jacob Urban:

I started journaling.

Jacob Urban:

I sold a bunch of equipment and bought a pair of, of running shoes instead, and started really just focusing on me and started working on my diet incessantly and then I took on this objective and I had.

Jacob Urban:

No idea consciously what I was doing, but subconsciously I had taken on the goal of healing, doing something that I wanted to do.

Jacob Urban:

And I didn't give a shit what anybody thought about it.

Jacob Urban:

I didn't care if they didn't think I could do it.

Jacob Urban:

I didn't care if they thought it was stupid.

Jacob Urban:

And then I only started sharing it with people that would support me.

Jacob Urban:

And my friend group changed significantly.

Jacob Urban:

and so it, it was literally like this portal that I went through in 2020.

Jacob Urban:

When I crossed the range in about 25 hours, by myself, solo,

Jacob Urban:

and it wasn't the event,

Jacob Urban:

it was everything the event taught me in the lead up.

Jacob Urban:

And then the better, the better result that came out of it was, okay, now what can you do that you know you can take care of yourself?

Jacob Urban:

And that's everything that changed my life.

Jacob Urban:

it put me back in the contr.

Jacob Urban:

It put me back in the, in the seat of control.

Jacob Urban:

It helped me realize that my choices are mine.

Jacob Urban:

And that if I didn't wanna do something, I shouldn't do it, even if somebody wanted me to do it.

Jacob Urban:

and then I started to be able to focus on the most important things, which was.

Jacob Urban:

Focusing on the details of life that get me exactly what I want.

Jacob Urban:

I became more efficient at everything that I did.

Jacob Urban:

I quit working on things that didn't matter.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

And I really started focusing on the things that would produce value and meaning to me.

Jacob Urban:

and as that occurred, as I started to do those things, I'm completely blown away what unfolded in my life.

Jacob Urban:

my business has grown in so many different ways.

Jacob Urban:

I have a whole new group of friends, that actually support me with really good behaviors, and then they call me out when I'm not being a good human being.

Jacob Urban:

I never really had that accountability before with my friends.

Jacob Urban:

They really liked it when I was not taking care of myself because then they didn't have to take care of themselves.

Jacob Urban:

Mm.

Jacob Urban:

and so my friends changed, my work changed, my mental health changed, my physical capabilities changed, and at the end of it I just found ease.

Jacob Urban:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying work isn't hard because the holy cow, the works harder than it's ever been, but it's easy to do it because I wanna do it and I'm doing it for me.

Stephan Abrams:

Good man.

Stephan Abrams:

Proud.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

That's, thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

Not that you need me to say that.

Stephan Abrams:

I mean but it's beautiful to hear that you have found friends that support you for you to be the best person who you can be and not friends who encourage you to be somebody that in that supports them to have bad behavior.

Jacob Urban:

It's the thing I'm fascinated by is that how long my, how long in my life I'd been doing it, and, and how well it worked up to a point.

Jacob Urban:

And, and then one day, that whole system, it was like, okay, if you wanna, if you want the things that you want in life, things need to change.

Jacob Urban:

And here's why.

Jacob Urban:

because you have this very bad habit of serving others before you serve yourself.

Jacob Urban:

And then you leave yourself with nothing.

Stephan Abrams:

I'm a philosophies here

Jacob Urban:

person.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah, yeah,

Stephan Abrams:

please.

Stephan Abrams:

For you to take care of anyone, you have to take care of yourself first and when people are bad, it catches up to them and they mm-hmm.

Stephan Abrams:

crash, but the goodness lifts everybody up and brings so, so much more positive.

Stephan Abrams:

Just energy and life to everyone else, and there are good times and bad times, even when you are good.

Stephan Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Stephan Abrams:

. However, when the good is what survives and thrive.

Jacob Urban:

Indeed, I could, I couldn't agree more.

Jacob Urban:

I joke about it teaching pre-hospital medicine today because I literally started.

Jacob Urban:

As all of this was going on, I started diving into the curriculums that I was teaching, and I'm amazed at how much the curriculums taught me when I started paying attention to 'em in a scene survey, in a scene size up, who's number one you are?

Jacob Urban:

Who's number two, the person beside you and who's number three?

Jacob Urban:

The person that's injured laying on the ground.

Jacob Urban:

And I don't think we take that to heart because in regular, in regular everyday life, which is, is we're like, oh, we're okay, but we're not as good as we could be.

Jacob Urban:

and therefore we try to help people and ultimately the help that we're trying to give them is what we're supposed to do for ourself.

Jacob Urban:

That's why it often becomes misaligned.

Jacob Urban:

We actually project our own needs onto other people.

Jacob Urban:

Where it's like, I needed help.

Jacob Urban:

So what did I do?

Jacob Urban:

I was trying to help everybody else with all of their problems because I didn't wanna deal with mine.

Jacob Urban:

you know, and so today, today I have a lot of fun with it and being able to teach the curriculum and kind of tie my own mental health into everybody else's.

Jacob Urban:

because the more I share, the more people see themself in it.

Jacob Urban:

And then they're able to see their own blind spots that they can't see.

Jacob Urban:

that's what I really feel like my role is turned into these days is to, is to pretty much help people understand that my successes are because of thousands of failures and embracing them to learn more about yourself so that you can actually achieve what it is that you're trying to become.

Jacob Urban:

and I shouldn't say achieve it because you already are that thing.

Jacob Urban:

You're just not letting yourself be it.

Stephan Abrams:

yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Well said Jacob.

Stephan Abrams:

Very, very well said.

Stephan Abrams:

We're gonna take a break to get a word from one of our sponsors and then we're gonna come back and talk to you more because you have a lot to teach us.

Jacob Urban:

Excellent.

Jacob Urban:

Sounds great.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob, welcome back.

Jacob Urban:

Thank you.

Stephan Abrams:

Just shared your strength and willpower and desire to improve your life cuz you saw so much more that you're capable of.

Stephan Abrams:

And.

Stephan Abrams:

You are reaching and accomplishing some goals.

Stephan Abrams:

As you said, you've learned a lot from failure.

Stephan Abrams:

We, we do have to ha allow ourselves to fail to try something.

Stephan Abrams:

We might do it successfully, we might fail.

Stephan Abrams:

but as long as we learn from that, that's important.

Stephan Abrams:

in the pre-show, we talked about assumption of risk.

Stephan Abrams:

The power of our choice.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah, and I'd love for you to expand on that for people to hear, for the people who are sitting in and listening.

Jacob Urban:

it's interesting because during this whole process one of the things that shifted in me is understanding what risk management is and then what the acceptance of risk is, and specifically what I believe the acceptance of risk to be is the capacity to self-express.

Jacob Urban:

For a lot of us that work in the, that are in the outdoor industry, we express ourselves through the risks that we engage with in the outdoors.

Jacob Urban:

they literally help us identify who we are.

Jacob Urban:

And I find it interesting because, You know, as a collective, people don't necessarily look at physical risk taking to be a, a healthy objective.

Jacob Urban:

And I joke about it all the time where I'm like, well, so it's, it's a healthier objective to take risks with money.

Jacob Urban:

That's a fabricated form of paper that has suggested meaning that you've implied on it.

Jacob Urban:

And they go, yes.

Jacob Urban:

And I go, well, that's exactly what I'm doing, which is, is I'm fabricating a meaning into and in an experience that I'm pulling out of it.

Jacob Urban:

And, and so there's no metaphor in life for me.

Jacob Urban:

It's all the same thing.

Jacob Urban:

and so I find it funny that we're willing to take risks in one part of our life, but not in the other.

Jacob Urban:

and then at a certain point in our lives, we believe that security is healthier for us than taking risks.

Jacob Urban:

And I, and so as I've gotten older, I find myself taking more financial risks than I ever have in an effort to gain something more for myself and the people around me.

Jacob Urban:

I find myself taking more physical risks in the out doors.

Jacob Urban:

Because they show me the out doors is this like amazing mirror where it reflects back at you.

Jacob Urban:

And so when you engage with it, it reflects back to you, your condition.

Jacob Urban:

Are you in good enough shape?

Jacob Urban:

Are you able to control your breathing?

Jacob Urban:

Can you control your mind?

Jacob Urban:

And.

Jacob Urban:

It ti it shows us whether we have great excellence, whether we're mediocre or where we com and where we completely lack in personal development.

Jacob Urban:

And I've watched that over the years.

Jacob Urban:

It's fascinating because teaching outdoor education, I've watched students completely melt down and, and I'm like, that's interesting because you're melting down in the place that can take the most care of you if you allow it to, meaning the out outdoors.

Jacob Urban:

But we get so fearful of the unknown.

Jacob Urban:

That we choose the security of the same repetitive thing over and over again, thinking that we're making choices and thinking that we control the outcome when we're only making the same decision over and over again.

Jacob Urban:

And when you start making different decisions, the risk is, is making the wrong decision and having some type of a loss.

Jacob Urban:

and so for me, the assumption of risk is really about failing without life-threatening consequences so that I can get back up again, and it's the getting back up over and over and over.

Jacob Urban:

That.

Jacob Urban:

Oh, true.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

that's the confidence.

Jacob Urban:

That's the confidence.

Jacob Urban:

confidence is not succeeding.

Jacob Urban:

Confidence is failing and getting back up and trying again.

Jacob Urban:

and the more you get up, the easier it

Stephan Abrams:

becomes

Jacob Urban:

cuz you train yourself to do it.

Jacob Urban:

And then you calm your nervous system down from the fear of the unknown, where you're like, oh, it doesn't matter.

Jacob Urban:

And then as I joke with folks, you know, it's like my mental health was in such a state where it's like I considered ending all of this.

Jacob Urban:

And it's like when you come face-to-face with your own mortality, you start to wake up, you start to live.

Jacob Urban:

And you start to realize that you can't waste time.

Jacob Urban:

And that's the only thing we have.

Jacob Urban:

That's the only thing we make in this existence.

Jacob Urban:

We make time for ourselves.

Jacob Urban:

We make time for other people, and we make time for the things that we want.

Jacob Urban:

And the more distinctive, the more conscious we are of the fact that we're making choices for everything that we have and accept the fact that our choices brought, brought us to everything that we have or don't have or don't want.

Jacob Urban:

Now we have the capacity to make different choices and change those things.

Jacob Urban:

it's like if you keep blaming other people for the things that you don't have, you're missing the source of lack, and it's you,

Stephan Abrams:

you know, I, I want to challenge you on one thing though.

Stephan Abrams:

Mm-hmm.

Stephan Abrams:

, I agree with everything that you have said, and I like your perspective of time, but I don't feel that we, we create time.

Stephan Abrams:

We all have the same amount of time available to us.

Stephan Abrams:

It's how we use that time, how we each use the time each second, which adds up to the minutes and the hours.

Stephan Abrams:

It's not made, we don't make it.

Stephan Abrams:

It's just how we, allocate it and use it.

Jacob Urban:

I would, I agree, I agree with that.

Jacob Urban:

But as I often, as I often show folks in, in, in retreats, uhhuh, , and.

Jacob Urban:

Which is as time is a construct of perception.

Jacob Urban:

Okay.

Jacob Urban:

And so I'll do retreats with folks where I take electronics away and Awesome.

Jacob Urban:

We focus on food, we focus on community living.

Jacob Urban:

we focus on sharing.

Jacob Urban:

We focus on the practice of lifestyle and the one thing that everyone says to me, and we actually focus on work part of the workday as well, where it's like we incorporate, we incorporate work into our, into our days too, and everybody says the same thing to me.

Jacob Urban:

They're like, I can't believe how long the days are.

Jacob Urban:

And it's because you're not distracted.

Jacob Urban:

By the electronics, which makes you believe that time is limited.

Jacob Urban:

And see, and that's why I believe that time is a construct and because it's limitless, meaning there's been nothing but time.

Jacob Urban:

The question is, is how do you choose to use it, much like you're saying.

Jacob Urban:

And then when you are using it properly, it actually goes incredibly slow.

Jacob Urban:

I remember being a kid growing up in the seventies, being bored.

Jacob Urban:

Do you know how slow the time goes when you're bored?

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

. Stephan Abrams: Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

People, you're punished and you have to just sit in the chair.

Jacob Urban:

. Jacob Urban: Yeah, exactly.

Jacob Urban:

And people, and people aren't bored anymore.

Jacob Urban:

They're distracted and then they don't think they have enough time.

Jacob Urban:

I'm too busy to do this.

Jacob Urban:

I'm too busy to do that.

Jacob Urban:

I'm like, look at the, look at the, look at the evaluation of how much you use your phone and your computer through the week, and then specifically, look what you use it for and then identify whether any of those things are actually producing what you want out of life.

Jacob Urban:

And then decide if you wanna keep spending your time on it or not.

Jacob Urban:

Media and soc social media and just like the news in general, I joke about it with folks, which may be the biggest vacuum of time because it's stories that are not happening to you, and then they make you worry about things that are not happening to you.

Jacob Urban:

That's what the news does.

Jacob Urban:

It tells us stories about things that we can't experience, and then we have opinions about things we haven't personally experienced.

Jacob Urban:

And it's like, well, where'd you learn that?

Jacob Urban:

Oh, through this.

Jacob Urban:

Well, is that true?

Jacob Urban:

Yes, this source is true.

Jacob Urban:

Well, in that individual's perception, it's true.

Jacob Urban:

I joke about it all the time.

Jacob Urban:

People tell me about things that are going on socially or like environmentally or this and that, and I'm like, where'd you f?

Jacob Urban:

Where'd you find that out?

Jacob Urban:

And they're like, oh, like, here's this article.

Jacob Urban:

And I'm, and they're like, you ought to read it.

Jacob Urban:

And I'm like, no, I'm not gonna read it.

Jacob Urban:

I'm gonna go out and experience the world because I keep having different experiences with people.

Jacob Urban:

Hmm.

Jacob Urban:

I have different experiences with our environment.

Jacob Urban:

The people I run into are genuinely, genuinely kind.

Jacob Urban:

They're loving, they're accepting.

Jacob Urban:

I love the diversity in our country.

Jacob Urban:

It's amazing, and I chuckle about it because every the, the media will tell you that there's these race riots and all these things going on.

Jacob Urban:

But it's funny when I keep traveling and I travel all over the world and I keep interacting with people, they all just want to know your story and figure out how their story connects with yours.

Jacob Urban:

oh, sure.

Jacob Urban:

Jacob.

Jacob Urban:

And, and I think the more, the more time, if we like, if there's anything that we could do in this existence, it's interacting with other people in real time and interacting with people that don't believe what you believe.

Jacob Urban:

Because that's how you challenge your own belief structure and either fortify it to have it become more, have more meaning or change it and align it more closely to your values.

Jacob Urban:

But you don't get that when you talk to somebody that agrees with everything you say.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

No, I think, I think it's a shame.

Jacob Urban:

I think it's a shame that we don't travel as if we're gonna travel.

Jacob Urban:

I wish I, I, I wish my experience is that the more I travel outside of the country, the more I understand this country better.

Jacob Urban:

and the more I travel outside of the country, the more I understand who I am.

Jacob Urban:

and I primarily like to put myself in places where I don't speak the language so I can feel helpless and.

Jacob Urban:

It's really amazing how compassionate people are when you try, when you just put yourself out there and you acknowledge the fact that you're embarrassed because you can't speak the language as well as you would like.

Jacob Urban:

And then have to depend on people.

Jacob Urban:

That's the other piece of it, you know?

Jacob Urban:

Cause it's like, as a kid, we used to have to depend on one another.

Jacob Urban:

Today we depend on our phone.

Jacob Urban:

Today we depend on our computer, we depend on our work.

Jacob Urban:

and we depend on generating money in order to be able to take care of ourselves.

Jacob Urban:

And I laugh about it.

Jacob Urban:

I'm like, I'm like, that's funny.

Jacob Urban:

We don't have to make money.

Jacob Urban:

They make enough of that . Hmm.

Jacob Urban:

. Like they give that away for free.

Jacob Urban:

And, and so what's your value?

Jacob Urban:

Is your value in money or is your value in people?

Jacob Urban:

and that's the piece of it.

Jacob Urban:

Like, for me, value is this funny thing.

Jacob Urban:

Meaning the more meaning the more value I create, and then the more financial stability that comes from that.

Jacob Urban:

But it doesn't come by trying to make money.

Jacob Urban:

It arguably for me, it comes for making more time for myself and then understanding more specifically what I need to work on.

Jacob Urban:

which is generally me, like just trying to be a better human being.

Jacob Urban:

Trying to not be reactive, trying to respond appropriately, being in control of my emotions and, And not blaming anybody else for anything that happens to me.

Jacob Urban:

They might have co-created it with me, but I allowed that to happen.

Jacob Urban:

And I think that's the biggest piece.

Jacob Urban:

You know, it's like we like to blame people for other problems when at the end of the day, we only create our own.

Jacob Urban:

And, that's, and the only thing we can

Stephan Abrams:

do, take responsibility and push it off versus.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

Really realizing that, yeah, that was my responsibility.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

Doing the hard work of recognizing that we have to change.

Jacob Urban:

I, I joke about it in my peer group because everybody around me is anywhere from like 20 to 30 years younger than me.

Jacob Urban:

And folks say to me all the time, they're like, fr like, old friends will be like, you know, they're like, do you have any friends your own age?

Jacob Urban:

And I'm like, not really.

Jacob Urban:

Hmm.

Jacob Urban:

They're like, why?

Jacob Urban:

And I'm like, they.

Jacob Urban:

How the world is now.

Jacob Urban:

I help them understand how we got here and that's how we're able to change our universe.

Jacob Urban:

That's how we're able to change our construct.

Jacob Urban:

And then we recognize how to work together.

Jacob Urban:

like.

Jacob Urban:

And then they separate us by generations, meaning they make us feel, and when I say them, the powers that be, they make us feel as though the younger people are doing something wrong.

Jacob Urban:

And the older generation had it right, and the younger generation trying to create change, the older generation is steeped, you know, is antiquated and not willing to change.

Jacob Urban:

And the reality of it is, is that nobody's having a conversation.

Jacob Urban:

The kids aren't talking to the adults.

Jacob Urban:

the adults aren't talking to the kids.

Jacob Urban:

The generations are not trickling down through one another in order to realize we're all dealing with the same problem.

Jacob Urban:

Who are we?

Jacob Urban:

Who are we?

Jacob Urban:

Who am I?

Jacob Urban:

And once we start to find ourself, we realize that we're connected to everybody else.

Jacob Urban:

But but the more you watch the news, the more you listen to the media.

Jacob Urban:

The more they focus on the division.

Jacob Urban:

And the reality of it is, is we've never been divided.

Jacob Urban:

That's just a, that's just a construct that arguably makes a lot of money for big corporations.

Jacob Urban:

Now

Stephan Abrams:

you teach and or take people on, outdoor excursions mm-hmm.

Stephan Abrams:

in leadership.

Stephan Abrams:

Yeah.

Stephan Abrams:

And I'm gonna, What's the time period that you take them out, out in the woods?

Stephan Abrams:

The great outdoors.

Jacob Urban:

So it depends.

Jacob Urban:

When I'm teaching wilderness courses, those can be up to two weeks.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

if I'm teaching a wilderness EMT course, those are classroom based, but I'm with people for 35 days during those time periods.

Jacob Urban:

And then, you know, We have other courses that are 10 days and then all the way to, you know, and every ratio between that, all the way down to one day, or just a few hours.

Jacob Urban:

and today I teach one curriculum, which is, let me help you learn more about you.

Jacob Urban:

I, I say it all the time about the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute.

Jacob Urban:

Join us at the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute, where we help you learn more about you.

Stephan Abrams:

That's, that's fabulous.

Jacob Urban:

Yeah.

Jacob Urban:

Everybody's worried about everybody else's stuff, but if you focus on yourself, you then understand everybody.

Jacob Urban:

Mm-hmm.

Jacob Urban:

It's a little paradigm trick that the universe plays on us, which is is it's like, ah, there's a lot of distractions in this world to take us away from who we are or who we'd like to become.

Stephan Abrams:

So true.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob, I am so honored that you have shared so much of you today, and I am.

Stephan Abrams:

Just blown away of your openness and sincerity, of what you have shared.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you,

Jacob Urban:

Stephanie.

Jacob Urban:

I can't thank you enough for, having me, having me on board.

Jacob Urban:

I appreciate the opportunity to share.

Jacob Urban:

my only, if I had any hope or expectation, it's that others can find themself in my story and they can realize that we're all just spinning around doing the same thing, having the same problems around different circumstances.

Jacob Urban:

And, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.

Jacob Urban:

I appreciate

Stephan Abrams:

You're welcome.

Stephan Abrams:

You're welcome.

Stephan Abrams:

Jacob, how can people reach out to you and

Jacob Urban:

connect with you?

Jacob Urban:

they can connect with me a bunch of different ways.

Jacob Urban:

They can, they can, reach out to the Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute.

Jacob Urban:

and, they can find us at, j h o l i.net.

Jacob Urban:

that's the, that's the simplest way you can find me on Instagram at Jacob underscore underscore Urban.

Jacob Urban:

you can find me on Facebook as well.

Jacob Urban:

At the end of the day, I love it when you find me in the community.

Jacob Urban:

if it's lunchtime, you can normally find me at the healthy being juicery in town.

Jacob Urban:

and, and if not, you can always jump into one of our classes and you can, help me understand who you are better and we can learn about each other.

Stephan Abrams:

Excellent.

Stephan Abrams:

thank you so much, Jacob.

Stephan Abrams:

I appreciate it.

Jacob Urban:

Thank you.

Jacob Urban:

You be well.

Stephan Abrams:

You too.

Stephan Abrams:

Take care buddy.

Stephan Abrams:

To learn more about Jacob Urban and Jackson Hole Outdoor Leadership Institute, visit the Jackson hole connection.com, episode number 222.

Stephan Abrams:

Thank you everybody for getting out there and sharing this podcast.

Stephan Abrams:

and thank you to my wife Laura, my boys Lewis and William, and of course to Michael Morrie, who does all of the editing, organizing of this podcast and marketing.

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