Meet Janelle Smiley one of the most prolific climbers, skiers and mountaineers of our era. As a multiple National and North American Ski Mountaineering Champion, first descender of epic proportions and first ascender of even more epic-ness, Janelle is a surprisingly low-key and insightful person. You’d think someone like her lives precariously on the edge of the next big crevasse, wondering how the hell she’ll get up or down, driven only by the thrill of the ride. But Janelle is a different breed. She’s a mountain girl who derives her energy from the sheer proportion of majesty around her. She’s also a deep thinker who, in striving to live her most extraordinary life, has found that helping others achieve THEIR most extraordinary lives is ultimately more satisfying! Phew!


Janelle is fresh off a record-breaking Grand Traverse adventure which she explains at the beginning of this interview. She and her husband Mark do a lot of training and adventuring together through what they call the Smileys Project. If you have any desire to explore the winter world of digging deep through adventures, look her up!


Today we talk about:

  • Janelle’s Grand Traverse record-breaking adventure
  • Suffering: how to reframe it from something negative to a positive
  • Breaking through your perceived limits: how motivation plays a role in this
  • Overcoming Fear: rational vs irrational fears
  • Reframing the negative emotions that take space in our lives: Fear, Guilt & Blame
  • Getting benighted!
  • How difficult events often help us grow the most


After the interview officially ended, Janelle and I continued to talk for another 30 minutes. Maybe I should have left the interview running. The point is that when you feel a connection to someone who helps you get out of your own way and dig deep into what makes you tick, you just want to keep going. In the end, Janelle’s final nugget gets to the heart of what we all battle, often on a daily basis. Stop judging yourself. Just accept who you are and then you can truly find your life extraordinary.


If you want to connect with Janelle, go to Instagram at @janelle.smiley and definitely check out her guided expeditions or coaching options at I just may join you! For some extra inspiration, check out these videos. STUNNING is an understatement!

United States Ski Mountaineering National Championship Races from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.


Skiing the Grand Teton from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.


Thank you so much for your time and energy today. As always, you know where to find me. Until then, you know what time it is – it’s time to get out there and run this world. Have a great workout and I’ll see you next week!