Though she spends her 9-to-5 working with numbers, Jennifer Drummond has learned that digits – namely age – don’t define you.
As the owner of a financial services firm, Jennifer Drummond knows all about balance, not only in the books but in her personal life. She recently took a step back from actively managing her business to pursue some pretty big goals, and mountaineering is her latest obsession.
“I am currently one mountain shy from becoming the first woman to climb the seven-second summits,” she says, referring to the second-highest peaks on each of the continents, which are in reality more challenging than the highest peaks. “I moved to Utah in 2015 where I was introduced to mountain climbing and never looked back.”
Even with that epic milestone so close she can taste it, Jennifer remains humble. Though no doubt a physical triumph, she focuses on the spiritual elements of conquering these heights.
“There is something so satisfying about summiting a mountain,” says Jennifer. “When you get to the top, you reflect on all the trials and tribulations and smile because you are at the summit, even though there were countless times before this point that you wanted to turn around and sign up for something easier.” She even received a compliment from a guide when scaling Cotopaxi, a mountain in Ecuador, who compared her stamina to that of a Sherpa. She credits her fitness and sports background with helping her become so successful in this arena, she believes.
Making Peace with the Past
Most people would be satisfied with this achievement, but Jennifer is not most people. Success, to her, is an ever-moving concept.
“Success has changed for me over the years,” says Jennifer. “Younger me felt a certain income was successful or having a title that showed I was important. The older me appreciates that younger version but has found success to mean so much more.” Remaining curious and savouring every moment ensures she remains humble and connected to the world around her – and, perhaps most importantly, grateful.
But she hasn’t always been that way.
“I am much less competitive than I was before and way more tolerant of ‘other,’” she reflects. “In fact, I think I chase the opportunity to experience ‘other’ now and just smile at all the different ways we can do life and the different experiences we can participate in.”
At this stage in her life, Jennifer knows herself better than ever before and has a lot to be proud of. For example, she now makes a conscious effort to take a step back and examine a situation before acting, which was not always the case years prior.
“I definitely have the tendency to be a people pleaser,” she admits. “But I have come so far on that journey and now operate from a place of ‘Does this make me happy?’ If I do what makes me happy, it automatically gives you permission to do the same, and what better gift can we give to one another?”
As evidenced by her climbing hobby, Jennifer finds inspiration in pushing herself and those around her to ascend to greater levels, whether physical, mental, or spiritual. And it also serves as the perfect metaphor for her life view.
“Everyone thinks you climb the mountain for the view from the summit,” she explains. “The truth is, we climb the mountain for all the experiences on the way to the summit. Life operates the same way. If we can’t enjoy the process of getting there or allow another enticing option to show up before we get to the dream destination, we will be off to chasing the next and the next and the next.”
Chips Off the Old Block
Her family is also taking a cue from her passions, with some following closely in her footsteps.
“I have twin daughters who are into rock climbing,” says Jennifer. “When I go to the climbing gym with them, they will struggle on a particular section of the wall and go at it a few different times till they figure out the crux of the problem they are trying to solve. That moment of satisfaction, when they get through an area that was challenging to them, is priceless. I live for those moments.”
Surprisingly, in some areas of her life, she isn’t as adventurous, such as when it comes to food. Instead, she stretches her creative side through other avenues and loves to move her body, challenge her mind, and explore the world.
For those looking to find happiness (who isn’t?), Jennifer has some tried, tested, and true advice.
“Stop taking yourself so seriously,” she cautions. “We don’t get out of this world alive. Play and enjoy the little moments of the day. It is the littlest thing that you miss.”
Photos by: Cecily Breeding