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Living and Working on the Frontier of Wyoming - part 2

Mar 14, 2011

by Shelli Johnson (see Living and Working on the Frontier of Wyoming - part 1 - March 7, 2011)


Currently, I am starting up a new mountain. It is Frontier Consulting Group. In addition to providing consulting, and writing and producing travel media, I’m being certified to be a life and leadership coach. (Thank you to the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services for helping me prepare for this new climb with a new business grant.)


My goal with the latter is to coach people to have more fulfilling lives by helping them climb their own mountains, both metaphorically and literally, in natural destinations like the Wind River Range. I plan to help clients formulate and conquer items on their bucket list – things they hope to achieve before they “kick the bucket.”


Occasionally friends or colleagues will remark to me that they want my job, or a job like mine. I always smile, and think to myself, “I haven’t always been this fulfilled; you should have seen me a few years ago.” My current life and work came to me only after enduring the hardships and uncertainties that come with being a business owner. For more than 15 years, I “paid my dues.” There were many sleepless nights, and I remember, poignantly, certain times experiencing feelings of despair, and tears.


I’ve been reading a lot about Abraham Maslow and the concept of self-actualization -- the full use and exploitation of one’s talents and potentialities, to be actually what one can be potentially. Among other traits, Maslow believed that self-actualized people often have “peak experiences,” which are moments of intense joy, wonder and awe, after which one feels inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.


Sounds a lot like something else Frederick Jackson Turner said in his day, which was that at the juncture between civilization and wilderness, a new type of citizen is produced – “one with the power to tame the wild, and one upon whom the wild had conferred strength and individuality.”


Even during the most difficult times of operating my own business, I leaned into the mountain (ie. our mission), not away from it. For much of the journey, I wasn’t self-actualized, but I always felt a calling. It was as if I was meant to share the natural wonders and attractions of this region with the world and to try and motivate people to travel here to have what could very likely be a vacation of a lifetime.


It used to be that being from Wyoming was considered a liability; in some people’s minds it still is. For me, though, being from Wyoming has been an amazing asset. Because I live in the Wind Rivers, on any evening or weekend, I have an opportunity to have a vacation of a lifetime-caliber experience. And that is pretty special. Shelli Johnson is an entrepreneur offering consulting in: personal branding, social media, content development, tourism promotion, media production and small business development. She is also a life and leadership coach and a keynote presenter at various conferences, where she often shares her story about starting and operating a business from out on the frontier.


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An avid outdoor adventurer and traveler, Shelli posts regularly to her blog, - See more at:

Category: Entrepreneur

Mike Lambert

Mike Lambert is the manager of the Wyoming Market Research Center in Laramie, WY.

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