LTREK's Posts (21)

  • Be Like a Great Pair of Glasses

    As a leader, you can be like a great pair of glasses.  You can help new and experienced people in your organization SEE how their specific work is linked to a greater shared mission. In other words, make sure each person understands how his or her role is linked back to an objective of the organization. Keep your organization’s mission in front of them.

       What is your organization’s mission?

       Is it shared openly and often?

       Consider three people who work at various levels of your organization. 

       How specifically do each of these individuals contribute to the overall success of your mission?

       Do these members see the connection between the work they do and the mission of your organization?

       How can you help them see this connection?  How can you show appreciation for their contribution?

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  • Simple Questions can Free Your Team

        Have you ever been in a meeting where a discussion on an idea or topic has been exhausted, and the group really needs to move on, but can’t? Someone needs to make it stop.  Why not you?

         By asking strategic questions, you can lead the conversation toward a search for solutions, and transition the conversation to a much needed problem-solving discussion. 

        Ask questions such as:  “Considering our goal, what needs to happen next?” “What needs to happen for us to be able to move forward from this point?” “Where do we go from here? Is there something we could do that would help us get back to work together?”  Be sure to not ask these questions too early, otherwise you run the risk of sounding as if you do not care or as if you are not listening.  Use this technique when the topic or idea really has been exhausted and the group truly does have a sense of being stuck. 

    •   Are you working with a person or group right now that is struggling to get beyond a challenge of some kind? 
    •   How can you help the group to move forward to find solutions?
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    One way to show that you are ready for a leadership role is by doing a great job for your current leader.  When you do a great job on a delegated task, you build trust.  Trust in your abilities will grow.  Click on the link above for a checklist that will help you to get what you need from the delegator, so that you can enhance your understanding about the task or project at hand.  By following this list and asking any other questions that you need to ask to be successful, you will reduce miscommunication and potential conflict.

    Here's to your success on this project and in your future endeavors! 

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  • Leadership Chat to Host Sgt. Patrick Swanton of Waco P.D.

    LTrek to Host Facebook Leadership Chat on Trust Buidling:

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014, from 8:30 - 9:30pm CST, LTrek will host a Leadership Chat at LTrek's Facebook Page.  This will be the first of seven Leadership Chats that we will hold in the weeks to come.  The first leadership skill we will discuss is trust building, because trust is the foundation of leadership.  Without it, you cannot lead in the true sense of the word. 
    In Sgt. Swanton's job, he must build trust every day through his actions and communication skills.  He is a certified Crisis Negotiator and is the Team Leader for Waco P.D's Negotiation Team.  He is also the Waco Police Department Spokesman / P.I.O.  There is a lot we can learn from someone who negotiates with people when lives are at stake.  The skills he utilizes transfer to the boardroom and into our daily lives with our teams.  We hope you will join us tomorrow night on Facebook for LTrek's Leadership Chat with Sgt. Patrick Swanton!   - Rachel Woods

    Read More about Sgt. Patrick Swanton:

    Sergeant Swanton’s police career started in 1980, with the Waco Police Department, his assignments have been numerous. He has served in Patrol as a Patrol Officer, Special Investigator, and Field Training Officer training new recruits.

    Sgt Swanton has also worked in the Community Services Section where he specialized in Crime and Drug Prevention Programs and attended D.A.R.E. Officer training.

    In June of 1999 Swanton transferred back to Patrol and was promoted to Sergeant. In 2003 Sgt. Swanton took over as the Supervisor of the Family Violence Unit until his transfer in 2011 to become the Spokesman for Waco P.D.

    Swanton holds a Master Police Officer Certificate and an Instructor’s Certificate with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education. He also has served on the Board of the Waco Police Association, as Vice President of Training with the Texas Association of Hostage Negotiators, the Board of Directors for the Family Abuse Shelter, and the Family Abuse Shelter’s Service Committee.

    In 2010 Sergeant Swanton was recognized by Waco P.D. as Supervisor of the Year.  He has been involved in the aftermath as a SWAT team member in the Branch Davidian Incident at Mt. Carmel, the Veterans Building Take over in Waco and most recently as the Spokesman for the initial response to the Explosion at West, Texas.

    Sgt Swanton is an instructor with the National Institute of Crime Prevention whose mission is to provide law enforcement, victim advocates, judges, prosecutors, military personnel, and public health workers quality training regarding domestic violence and sexual assault issues. He has also been a guest speaker at the Texas Association of Municipal Officers and National Information Officers conferences.   

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  • You're Invited - Leadership Chat

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  • There is a fancy new buzz-word in the world of success and leadership: “grit”.   Grit refers to that quality in successful leaders who demonstrate discipline and perseverance.  It is now lauded as the distinguishing quality above intelligence and charisma.  The question is – how do we as leaders acquire or rather cultivate grit?  Recent studies show that those who have it also have the highest capacity for delayed gratification.  In short, leaders who have grit have demonstrated an ability to check their appetites.  This finding is not as new as we may think, however.  It was espoused by Lucretius, a Roman poet and philosopher in the throes of the Roman civil wars.

    Lucretius (99BC-55BC) is a poet whose life spanned the tumultuous years of the Roman Republic. Lucretius witnessed the demagoguery, the client-armies, the fallow fields, and the multiple revolts threatening an overthrow of the government.  It is against this self-serving, self-promoting time in Roman history that Lucretius wrote his venerable and extraordinarily influential poetry.  It is his profound observations on the human condition that spurred conversation not only by his contemporaries, but will provide fodder for us too as we consider the dangers of unchecked appetites.  After all, there is no shortage of modern examples of leaders who destroyed their lives and careers because of an appetite that they could not control. 

    One of my favorite lines of Lucretian poetry comes from his famous invocation to Venus, the goddess of love and physical delight of gods and men.  The invocation is as lyrically beautiful as the imagined Venus, whom Lucretius implores to distract Mars, the god of war, with her beauty.  Set against the backdrop of the warring Republic, this impassioned plea makes for compelling reading and places a premium on the human senses.  Lucretius writes,

    In the meantime let the savage works of war
    Rest easy, slumbering over land and sea.
    For you alone can bless us mortal men
    With quiet peace; Mars, potent of arms, holds sway
    In battle, but surrenders at your bosom,
    Vanquished by the eternal wound of love.
    There, his chiseled neck thrown back, he gapes at you,
    Goddess, and feeds his greedy eyes with love;
    He reclines; his spirit lingers upon your lips.
    Melting about him, goddess, as he rests
    On your holy body, pour from your lips sweet nothings,
    Seeking, renowned one, quiet peace for Rome.
    For I cannot work with a clear mind while my country
    Suffers, nor can the illustrious scion of
    The Memmian house neglect the common good.

    The eyes are rapacious.  They do not merely see, but feed.  However, the eyes, unlike the stomach, cannot be filled – they know no boundaries. Our eyes and ears stoke an appetite in our mind, and these appetites, unless checked, become greedy for more.  Greed breeds more greed.  Appetites war against the will. 

    To return to the all-important quality of grit… there are two ways to develop it:

    1) Make a habit of refusing immediate urges.  If you can say no to little things, you can begin to say no to big ones; and

    2) Make the appetite smaller.  To control your appetite, you must control your eyes and ears.  As Cicero taught his son in his philosophical treatise, On Moral Duty: your eyes control your mind, your mind controls your actions, and your actions are your character. 

    To exhibit good character, grit, and responsible leadership qualities – we must guard our mind and appetites, which means we must guard our eyes and ears.

    By Dr. Michael Sloan

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  • Welcome Guest Blogger: Dr. Michael Sloan

    Michael Sloan is an Assistant Professor of Classical Languages at Wake Forest University.  He received a BA in Economics and Classics at Baylor University before graduating from the University of St Andrews (Scotland) with an MLitt in Theology and PhD in Classics.  Michael finds adventure in marriage and raising three young children while teaching and researching in the Classics.  He has published articles on Aristotle, Cicero, and St Augustine among others.  His first book was on Sedulius Scottus, a poet and scholar of the Carolingian era.  While pursuing traditional scholarship, he is also currently working on a popular book project tentatively titled Ancient Wisdom for Today's Leaders in which he surveys the major figures, events, and texts of the classical world for applicable lessons on leadership.  An avid defender of the humanities and liberal arts education, he has been published in or been interviewed by national and local media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Winston Salem Journal.  

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  • Welcome Greater Waco of Chamber of Commerce YPs!

    It's great to see you here at the LTrek Summit!  Be sure to click on "Sign Up" in the right hand corner to join the LTrek Summit, which will allow you to then conversation in our new online leadership development community!  Also, we hope you'll visit our "Resources" page and download your FREE Delegation Assessment and FREE Delegation Checklist! 

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  • How Well Do You Delegate? Find Out Now!

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    There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to delegation.  It can be a source of conflict if it is done ineffectively.  It requires mutual understanding between the person delegating and the person receiving an assignment.  It is certainly not just giving someone else something to do.  The better you communicate up front, the more successful you will be!  Download our free Delegation Checklist and improve your delegation skills today!  Click here to download your free Delegation Checklist:  DELEGATION CHECKLIST

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    Writing in from the Dolomites:

         With my adventure travel business growing quickly right now I don't have the time or the luxury to put things off.  So far this year I have had led around eight one-week walking tours to three countries and have been on trips to Italy (five times), South Africa, Canada, Dubai (twice), Germany, France, Croatia, Slovenia, the Republic of Georgia, and to California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, New York, and Hawaii in the U.S. - and before the end of the year I will be leading six more tours to the Dolomite mountains of northern Italy, tours to Croatia, Slovenia and leading a three week trek of 24 people to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, then to Austria, Slovakia, back to the U.S. where I will travel to California, Washington, Colorado and Minnesota then to three states in Australia and then to lead another tour in New Zealand.  I joke about not having time for jet-lag, let alone putting off staying ahead of the game and all the organization and logistics required to take 100+ guests a year on 16 different trips to five different countries.  (Let alone to keep up with my own personal travel schedule.)

         I am not writing all that to brag - far from it.  I share this with you just to put things in perspective for the purpose of this blog post, and I know many people have schedules that would put mine to shame.

        We all are busy, and I do put things off for sure, but I spend whatever time I have each day working on the things I need to get done.  I will admit I have been putting off editing my new website and getting it on-line but it is far easier to answer emails (and write blogs) than edit a website when every word counts and how it looks and reads can determine my success or failure over the next year.  I need to be in the right mindset for that - but I do need to focus and get to work on that!

        I run my own business, and I don't separate work or play.  It is just what I do and who I am. I work every day as much as I have time for - early mornings, late at night, whenever I have a chance to answer emails or book hotels or my next flight.  In the travel business I have to have my tours planned and scheduled over a year out, so I am always looking at my calendar and making sure I have everything in place.  I often have back to back trips to three different countries with different groups and need to have my act together so I do not turn up to a hotel on the wrong day, or head to the wrong location or country and forget to pick up some people - it has never happened fortunately.

    Time Management Behaviors that have Led to Success

     1.  If you want something to happen, YOU must make it happen.  I remember 20 years ago teaching ice climbing in New Hampshire all day in the freezing cold, then heading to the gym for a hard workout - to stay in top shape for other mountaineering goals I had - then going home and working on a typewriter late into the night pumping out a new brochure for my next overseas trip I was trying to promote.  If you have a dream you have to work on it little by little and step by step every day to make it happen; it will not happen on it's own.  Other mountain guides could have done the same thing, but many chose not too - because they were "too tired" hoo.

    2. Spend More Time Planning & Less Time Watching TV or on the Internet.  I spend time thinking...looking at my calendar and planning things out, thinking about tours and trips I have ahead of me and also putting TO DO notes in my calendar for when I need to get things done.  Watching TV or surfing on the internet will probably not get you closer to achieve your dreams. With smart phones and technology today is SO much easier today to get things done and make notes of things you have to do in your calendar.

    3.  Get Away and Be Quiet.  I often think when I walk.  It is my time to clear my head, almost a silent meditation.  I often go and have a cup of coffee by myself and spend time thinking, taking notes and thinking abut what I need to accomplish next to achieve my goals and dreams.  I often suggest to people that they walk in silence on the trail, and to let the mountains speak to them...but sadly, they rarely do, being more happy to talk about their last trip, or their next trip, rather than BEING HERE NOW!!!

         On a guided walking trip with 8 people for example, I have many things to think about and do each day and while I am on the trail. I am thinking we need to get lunch here and be gone by this time so we can walk there and catch the last cable car by this time to get to this place by then so we can get back to the hotel and have time to shower and change before meeting the hotel owner at this time for drinks...etc, etc.  It is thinking about these things ahead of time that makes the difference between an OK trip and a fantastic-blow-your-mind-trip for my guests.

    4.  Wake up Early.   One other principle I have taught to younger apprentice guides is very simple, but very effective - GET UP EARLIER!!!  Can't sleep the day away!

    Ciao for now,  gotta stop procrastinating and get to work on that website,

    Gary Scott


    You, too, can travel with Gary - check out Right Path Adventures today!



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  • Why Don't We Go to the Beach? By Rob Eichelbaum

    As a young child I developed a tremendous fear of sharks.  I saw Jaws at a young age and the idea of being attacked by one of these fearsome creatures consumed me.  I would read stories about shark attacks, study shark biology and look at shark pictures.  It was one of those fears that consumed my choices and behaviors.  I remember skipping several trips to the beach with friends throughout my teenage years.  I finally agreed to go to the coast my senior year of high school and ended up playing a game of football in about 1 foot of water at the beach.  A stingray hit me with his barb on my ankle and I remember panicking.  I had to go to the emergency room to remove the barb and to be treated for a mild case of shock.

    Around the same time, my wife to be was dealing with other issues.  At the age of 12 she lost her father.  It was both sudden and unexpected.  The grieving process, as you can imagine, was incredibly difficult and something that she internalized for a long time.  She kept photos and notes and held fond memories of her father.  One of her best memories included family trips to the coast and walks on the beach with her father, where they would share stories.

    Fast forward several years, when my wife and I were in our courtship and honeymoon period.  We had an amazing relationship and got along well.  We were both still very young, finishing up our college degrees.  We hardly fought; except for a single argument that seemed to come up at least once a month.  Both of us would finish classes on Friday and when neither of us had to work on the weekends, we would talk about “getting away” and having a nice weekend.  My wife would start by saying, “We have no plans; why don’t we drive down to the Coast for the weekend?”  I would respond, “Yes, let’s get out of town.  How about we go visit friends in Austin or head up to Dallas?”  The conversation would escalate quickly into an argument.  My wife would accuse me of never wanting to do what she wanted to do or not trying something new.  I would respond by saying that she never listened to me or that she was being selfish in only wanting to spend time doing “her activities”.  Often times we would end up in a fight and not go anywhere for the weekend.  Neither of us actually thought to share with the other person our thoughts and opinions about the beach and what the beach symbolized to us.  It was eight years into our marriage before I completed a course on communication and came home to ask my wife, “What was it about the beach that made it so special to her?”  That is when we exchanged stories about our beach experiences.

    Many times, individuals process information differently, based upon their own learning styles, thought process, and communication concepts developed over a lifetime of modeling, experiences, culture, and other factors.  We internalize our communication styles and consider them to be the norm.  In other words, our understanding and meaning of the word “beach” is the same as everyone else.  In order to assist with effective communication, we must first learn to set aside our opinions and concepts regarding words and phrases and be willing to ask questions and to listen to how others perceive words we use every day.

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  • Introducing Rob Eichelbaum, J.D.

    Rob Eichelbaum, J.D., is a licensed Attorney and Adjunct Professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law.  He is the Founder of San Antonio Mediation, and the newest member of the Leadership Trek team.  This week, on the LTrek Summit, Rob will share communication techniques with our members.  He has taught Mediation at St. Mary’s University School of Law for 18 years.  Rob has over 3,000 hours of Mediation Class training and instruction at Universities including Harvard Law School, Pepperdine University, University of Texas at Austin, South Texas College of Law in Houston, and, of course, St. Mary’s University.  His Mediation exercises and course materials have been utilized throughout the United States and Latin America. 

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  • Gary, What is the best team experience you have ever had?

    Gary:  My 50th birthday trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

    How many people went on the birthday trek with you? 

    Gary:  We had 20 people for 20 days and we climbed a 20,000ft mountain.

    Tell us why you enjoyed it so much.

    Gary:  We had a fabulous trip and everyone got along well and many life long friendships were developed.   I co-led the trip with my best friend Steven Tickle.

    Were there any challenges along the way? 

    Gary:  We had only two members get sick, and each time was only for a couple of days.   And even though only a few people climbed the mountain (out of ten that wanted to), we had a great time and a very successful trip that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

    What are you most proud of about this trek?

    Gary:  It is very hard to balance and juggle 20 people's varied goals, objectives and expectations let alone their doubts, fear and anxieties - yet everyone was happy and had a blast.   I felt like I did a very good job leading the group, and it is not easy to keep that many people happy for that length of time in sometimes difficult conditions, and sometimes stressful circumstances where most people are out of their comfort zones.

    Awesome, Gary!  Happy belated birthday from LTrek! Thanks for Sharing!   We hope you'll share your best team experience!!!  Click reply to share your story.

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    Leading the Future Focus team, founder and medical director, Dr. Curtis is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas and 1990 Calallen High School graduate. Earning and running on a track and field scholarship, Dr. Curtis completed his Bachelors degree in Biology in 1994 from Baylor University. He began his medical career at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, completing his Medical Doctorate in 1999. Wanting to pursue a well rounded specialty, he completed a 3 year residency in Family Practice at the Corpus Christi Family Practice Residency program. During his training he emphasized and sought special rotations in emergency medicine, preventative care, dermatology and plastic surgery. He was awarded the prestigious Victor C. Calma Award in 2000. This annual award is given to the top intern in the CCFPRP, a testament to his medical, interpersonal, and leadership skills. Upon completion of specialty training, Dr. Curtis entered private practice and ultimately helped guide his management and staff into what today makes up Future Focus Family Medicine. Dr Curtis has expanded his practice and sphere of service to his community both locally and across the world. He serves as a medical director for Bay, LTD and promotes health/wellness initiatives in his community via health related lectures and educational services. Dr. Curtis coaches Division 1 soccer and encourages athletic participation in his community. Overall, Dr. Curtis promotes lifestyle, ftiness and nutrition as the primary tools for acheiving wellness and longevity. He has authored a manual on nutrition and lifestyle (NRG DIET & LIFESTYLE COMPASS) intended to serve as a primer for those interested in acheiving their highest potential in life. Currently Dr. Curtis also routinely blogs and podcasts on the  website. This blog/podcast serves as a resource for those seeking "Real" information about health, wellness, and lifestyle topics. Dr. Curtis has special experience in emergency medicine, Family practice, prevention, nutrition, corporate wellness, and dermatology. In his spare time Dr Curtis, his wife Kimberly, and daughters Dana, Jillian, and Roslyn live on a working ranch. They enjoy raising cattle, chickens, goats, and practicing self-sufficiency as a mechanism for better health. 

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    Emily M. Hunter, Assistant Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship in the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, earned her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology at the University of Houston in 2009. She teaches Negotiation and Conflict Resolution and conducts research on work-family conflict, workplace deviance, and servant leadership.



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  • Riley Woods, Waco, Texas - In 2003, I set out on a journey to the Mt. Everest Base Camp with an expedition called Team Everest ’03.  Upon making it to the base camp at 17,400 ft., our team became the largest cross-section team of people with disabilities to ever reach that height.  I’m a T-5 paraplegic, so to sit in my wheelchair on the top of the world, gazing up at the final trail to Mount Everest was quite extraordinary. 

    For those of you who do not know how I was injured, I was in a snow skiing accident in 1996 when I was 21 years old and a junior at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  It was an ordinary February day on our campus ski slope, until I fell shattering several vertebrae in my back. The injury bruised my spinal cord and left me paralyzed from the chest down.  My life changed that day. In such a moment, you may not think you’re motivation will come back, but it did.  My will to live was strong, and not just to live, but to lead a happy, productive life. 

    Several years later, I learned of the Team Everest expedition from a friend who was on the team. And he was a quadriplegic! I knew the moment he told me about the trek that this was a challenge I needed to face.

    As to be expected, there were obstacles along the trail, the most obvious of which were physical in nature, such as steep slopes, rocky terrain, narrow bridges, high altitude,  and yaks (yes, yaks - lumbering bovine beasts of burden that pervade the mountain trails. Fail to yield to a yak along the path and you may be risking injury or even death!).

    However, sometimes the greatest obstacles are inside of us.  And, for me, this was definitely the case.  My greatest internal challenge was pride. The one expectation I had when I joined the expedition was that the trek would be physically demanding and difficult to negotiate in a wheelchair. What I did not expect was that under the circumstances it would, in fact, be impossible to complete in a wheelchair. Once the trek was underway, I quickly learned that the intention was for those of us in chairs to be carried most of the way by Sherpa and porters.  This was an incredible blow to my ego, and truly demotivating.

    There was something that really helped me get my motivation back though, and it was changing my focus from what I wanted to do, to what we need to do to accomplish this goal as a team. While it may be possible for someone in a wheelchair to hike on their own to Everest Base Camp, under the logistics and constraints of the Team Everest expedition, if we were going to have success as a team and reach base camp together in the planned timeframes, those of us in wheelchairs would need to be carried. It was as simple as that. This understanding helped me to regain my motivation and made all of the difference.

    And even though I had to set my pride aside through much of the trail, I still had incredible moments when I could push myself along the trail, wheel over bridges spanning deep gorges, and even participate in a little ice climbing.  Changing my perspective made these opportunities all the more rewarding and memorable, and also kept me motivated along the way.

    Since completing this adventure, I have learned that my experiences along the trail equipped me for other challenges in life as well. As leaders, and in just about everything we do in life, whether it is family life, business obligations, hobbies, political endeavors, or other miscellaneous commitments, a certain level of motivation is required to succeed. And although we will not always be motivated in everything we do at all times, in those instances when we find our motivation low, if we can change our perspective and focus on the long-term goal and those things that are truly important, we can often rekindle that enthusiasm which is so essential to our ultimate success.

    Riley Woods is an attorney in Waco, Texas.  He has been married to Rachel Woods for fourteen years, and they have two children, Jackson Riley and Reagan Victoria.

    You can rent or buy the documentary feature film about Team Everest '03 expedition on Amazon at 

    Photo: "Staying Motivated - Overcoming Obstacles Along the Trail" - Next week on the LTrek Summit, we will have Guest Blogger, Riley Woods. Riley Woods was a member of Team Everest '03 - the largest cross-section disability team to reach Everest Base Camp at 17, 400 ft. Riley Woods is an attorney, husband, father and lover of life and adventure. Riley is also a paraplegic, who was injured in a snow skiing accident 18 years ago, while a junior at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He will share about how to stay motivated when you are faced with obstacles along the trail, and he'll give examples of barriers along the trail to Everest. You can rent or buy the documentary feature film about Team Everest '03 expedition on Amazon at

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  • Introducing Guest Blogger: Riley Woods

    This week on the LTrek Summit, we will have Guest Blogger, Riley Woods, who will share about "Staying Motivated & Overcoming Obstacles Along the Trail."  Riley Woods was a member of Team Everest '03 - the largest cross-section disability team to reach Everest Base Camp at 17, 400 ft. Riley Woods is an attorney, husband, father and lover of life. Riley is also a paraplegic, who was injured in a snow skiing accident 18 years ago, while a junior at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He will share about how he faced obstacles along the trail to Everest, while in a wheelchair and also about overcoming obstacles in everyday life.  You can rent or buy the documentary feature film about Team Everest '03 expedition on Amazon at

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