017. Travis Tetting: Building things, faith, and family

Episode summary

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Travis Tetting joins Craig for a heartfelt discussion of his coaching journey, community, and building things from the ground up. Along the way he describes his love for his community and the rewards of coaching. Travis explains how his bond to his family and Christian faith have given him the strength to get to where he is today.

Is there a story you’d like to share?

Craig: [24:57] Right, right. So I often ask guests if there’s a story you would like to share – if you’ve been listening for a while, you know I say because when people share stories, you get a glimpse into their passions and their inner lives, and it really gives you a good glimpse of who they are. So, Travis, is there a story you’d like to share with us?

Travis: [25:11] Absolutely. Short story. So I have a background in early childhood education, so I went to school for … Did it for three years. Was wonderful. I have a passion for teaching, but I learned that the passion …

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Craig: [25:24] Clearly. Right.

Travis: [25:26] … was not in public education. I needed to find my niche, and I chose to do parkour full-time. I believe this is where I’m supposed to be right now. However, I am a teacher. I recognize teaching as a profession, and it’s something that’s very difficult to turn off.

Travis: [25:44] So, with three children and an early childhood background, my children, as every parent probably says, are very smart. However, my children are very smart. So, four years old, and they’re reading pretty well – not because it’s really been taught, but just because it’s an everyday sort of thing. When they’re curious about something, I use those teachable moments, and I let them go. Once they resist with that direction, then I pull back, so …

Travis: [26:16] They can read clocks and all these wonderful things, and they know that Dad works late. He comes home late, and he needs rest, ’cause not only do I work late, but it’s physical late. My body, quite literally, needs to recover. It’s a huge deal. So they know that, ’til about 7:00, they are supposed to stay in bed. They are supposed to stay quiet. That does not work all the time.

Travis: [26:42] So a recent morning, from a dead sleep, Travis is laying in his bed, wakes up, and just silent. Yeah. “Hey, Dad.”

Travis: [26:52] “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m awake.” Here we go.

Travis: [26:55] “It’s not 7:00 yet.”

Travis: [26:58] “Thanks, buddy. Are you gonna go back to bed?”

Travis: [27:06] “No.”

Travis: [27:08] “All right. I guess we’re up.”

Craig: [27:11] “We’re off.”

Travis: [27:12] That was it. This is how my day has begun. No sunshine, no alarm, no I need to wake up ’cause I need to use the bathroom.

Craig: [27:19] Right. Just “Hey, Dad”

Travis: [27:22] Quite literally mid-conversation, as if I was perfectly awake. “I’m just gonna talk to you real quick, Dad.” That’s … I mean, that’s one. That’s just one instance. Sometimes I wake up to … Once again, another recent thing, I woke up to a rustling bag. By the way, I’m a fairly good father. I woke up to a rustling bag, which is not a regular sound, and so I pop out of bed, once again, from a total sleep, and go head out there. The child has eaten the bag of yogurt-covered Craisins that we had from a vacation. “I was hungry, Dad.”

Travis: [28:07] “You ate the entire bag.” My stomach hurt.

Travis: [28:14] So this is normal. This is life, and it’s good. It’s good. Like other things, you see it as something good or you could see it as something bad that’s disruptive and whatnot. But what I continually tell myself in my mind is, “There is going to be a time when this doesn’t happen.”

Craig: [28:32] Right.

Travis: [28:32] “There’s going to be a time that I wish” …

Craig: [28:33] These are actually precious, rare moments …

Travis: [28:35] Right.

Craig: [28:35] … that you are lucky to encounter.

Travis: [28:37] Right, right, that I wouldn’t have … These huge now problems that I’m dealing with … “I thought the child waking up at 7:00 or before 7:00 was an issue, but, man, I wish I had that back.” The grass is always greener.

Craig: [28:51] Right.

Is there another story you’d like to share?

Craig: [00:48] Tell me about being stuck in the airport on the way to American Rendezvous.

Travis: [00:52] Yes. Yes. So original flight, I’m not gonna give any names. No names. Okay? Not gonna be a flight bias, 'cause …

Craig: [01:01] We only name the guilty.

Travis: [01:02] It was … Yeah, it was almost completely because of the weather in Boston. So we can blame Boston.

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Craig: [01:07] Okay.

Travis: [01:07] That’s okay.

Craig: [01:08] Yeah.

Travis: [01:08] Yeah, we’ll point the finger at Boston. So 7:40 PM flight from Chicago, and I live in Wisconsin. So about an hour and half drive, so, I mean, you can’t just adjust and say, “Okay, I’ll stay at home.” Right? I got email when I was at home saying it was going to be delayed 15, 20 minutes. So not a big deal.

Craig: [01:25] Sucker. Right?

Travis: [01:27] Go down to the airport, maybe … I don’t know, 5:30, 6:00 I get there, check in, everything’s fine. Then, about every 15 minutes, where you hook into the airport wifi …

Craig: [01:38] Right.

Travis: [01:38] You’re sitting there, and you get a … You’re looking, also, at the screen, and it says, “Flight delayed another 15 minutes,” and ding. You see on your phone, “Oh, my flight’s delayed.” So 'til about … Maybe 'til about 11:30 PM, those continued. So you’d be sitting there …

Craig: [01:55] Every 15 minutes, ding.

Travis: [01:56] Yeah, you’re sitting there for, like, 14 emails, right? You’re sitting there, and people are dropping away. Right? There’s like, “I’m gonna get the 6:00 AM flight,” and they go out and get their hotel. You’re just looking around and you’re like, “Yeah, we’re the patient ones. We’re the strong ones. Hold strong. It’s coming. It’s coming.”

Craig: [02:10] The hardcore terminal …

Travis: [02:13] We keep asking the poor ladies up at the desk, and they’re not supposed to be there, either.

Craig: [02:16] Yeah.

Travis: [02:16] So they’re tired. They’re fatigued. “What’s going on in the flight?” It was sitting on the tarmac for, like, two hours. Right? Then us with sympathy, we’re like, “This isn’t so bad. I can walk around, and people are stuck on the plane in a thunderstorm without anywhere to go for, like, two hours.”

Craig: [02:33] Whoa.

Travis: [02:34] So, eventually, they bring the plane back. Everybody gets off the plane in Boston, because after a certain amount of time on the tarmac, they have to let them off.

Craig: [02:40] Right.

Travis: [02:41] Then there’s something wrong with the plane, so they get a new plane. Again, this is all true, 100% true. They get a new plane, a new pilot, new crew, get the people back on, and, eventually, at, like, 1:00 in the morning, the flight … No, maybe, like, 12:30, the flight takes off.

Craig: [02:58] From Boston to come to you, right?

Travis: [03:00] To come to us, right. This is the flight we’re waiting for. We’re so excited. There’s rejoicing in the terminal. The flight gets there, and we’re all weary. We’ve gotten our beautiful, free, blue, baby blue blankets and our pillow, and there’s so many canceled flights that the entire airport at O’Hare is broke out in cots. So it’s become a shelter.

Craig: [03:21] Tentville, right?

Travis: [03:21] It’s become a shelter. The flight comes in. Everybody’s getting off, and we’re kind of like giving 'em fists in the air. We’re like, “Yeah. You finally made it.”

Craig: [03:31] They’re as weary as you are …

Travis: [03:32] Right.

Craig: [03:32] … just to get there.

Travis: [03:32] Right, right, right. So, finally, the last people to come off are the pilots and the crew, and they just keep their heads down and just walk quite quickly past everybody.

Craig: [03:43] Right, right.

Travis: [03:44] We’re all sitting there, and we kind of look at the concierge people. The concierge people look at us, and she just puts her hands together. She’s like, “Hmm. It’s probably not good.”

Craig: [03:54] Right, 'cause shouldn’t they be on the plane getting ready to go back?

Travis: [03:56] Yeah, we’re like …

Craig: [03:57] “Aren’t you driving?”

Travis: [03:59] … “Where are they going?” So now we were complaining about the plane before. We have a plane, but now we have no pilots.

Craig: [04:03] Great. Sorry. Careful what you ask for.

Travis: [04:09] So they make some calls, and, obviously, at 2:30 in the morning, there’s not a terrible large selection of pilots.

Craig: [04:14] … of additional flight crew to pick from.

Travis: [04:16] That’s right. They have a standby, probably, but …

Craig: [04:17] Yeah.

Travis: [04:18] But, I believe, those people were the standby from Boston, so … So then the letters go across the board, “Canceled.” Canceled.

Craig: [04:29] Oh.

Travis: [04:29] Wait for, like, 12 hours and cancel. At this point, I give up hope. I was totally fine with before. I was like, “Yes. Bring on the challenge,” like, “This is Level 2 ADAPT,” like, “Hit me with tiredness. Hit me with fatigue. Go into the fire and battle.”

Craig: [04:44] Right, 'cause people are wondering, “Why is Craig starting with a story about an airport?” Right …

Travis: [04:47] Yes.

Craig: [04:47] … and I’m like, “No, this matters, 'cause you’re gonna get a lesson about Travis.”

Travis: [04:50] So Level 2 ADAPT, which … Previously, we should know that I’m a stay-at-home dad with my three kids, and then I teach classes in the evening. I get to see my wife for about an hour each day. When I come home, she’s sleeping.

Craig: [05:03] Right. Tag-team, right?

Travis: [05:03] Yeah. When I come home, she’s sleeping, the kids are sleeping, and when I get up, she’s already gone. So in order for me to get in morning training, which I realized I needed, because everything I have done is evening and late night, I need to be prepared to see what my body is like early in the morning. So I was getting up before she would go to work to go do my 5K, to go do a bunch of the physical requirements.

Craig: [05:25] Right. Sneak out of the house quick.

Travis: [05:26] So, most of the time, I’m going to bed midnight, whatever, once I get, actually, my work done. So, for me, now five hours, and then by the time I get back from doing my physical, I’m not going to go back to sleep. Then my kids wake up, and I have now begun my day …

Craig: [05:41] Right.

Travis: [05:41] … and I’m on very limited sleep. So it wasn’t too …

Craig: [05:45] It was like a regular day, right?

Travis: [05:46] It wasn’t too bad.

Craig: [05:48] Just more indoors than usual, right?

Travis: [05:50] Yeah. So the concierge lady, poor lady, she gets then, like, mobbed by people. “You need to call somebody.” Then we’re all sitting there, like, “She can’t do anything.”

Craig: [05:59] Right.

Travis: [06:00] " Leave her alone. It’s a storm."

Craig: [06:01] She wants to go home, too. Right.

Travis: [06:02] Yes. So I get put on the 9:00 flight, which is not good, 'cause 9:00 my time …

Craig: [06:08] Right.

Travis: [06:09] … is 10:00 Boston.

Craig: [06:10] Right.

Travis: [06:10] So I’m already now an hour late, and I haven’t even left. Now I’m missing the first half of the day.

Travis: [06:16] I just go up to her. I just get real close, and I say, “Is there a list, like for the 6:00 AM? I know it’s full, but is there like a standby list?”

Craig: [06:25] Yeah.

Travis: [06:25] Then she’s like, "Hold on a second.

Craig: [06:27] “Let me check.”

Travis: [06:29] She didn’t wanna alert other people …

Craig: [06:31] Right.

Travis: [06:32] … and be mobbed again. She was like, “I put you on the front of the list. It’s not guaranteed.” She slides me over a little standing-by boarding pass.

Craig: [06:39] Travis plays the blue eyes card, right?

Travis: [06:45] So I’m looking at the different flights, 'cause six months of my past training has led up to this.

Craig: [06:52] Yeah, he’s focused on this one event.

Travis: [06:53] I do not want to miss this, in any sense, if it’s a little bit or completely, the first day. I mean, it’d be tremendous, and to not have people then doing it with you, now you’re just doing it individually with a coach, entirely different feeling, entirely different mentality. It’s not … Like I said, I wanted to go into battle.

Craig: [07:09] Yeah, there’s an esprit de corps.

Travis: [07:09] Yes.

Craig: [07:09] There’s a team aspect to any sort of certification, and you kind of miss that. Obviously, you miss it if you’re not there, but you … In your heart, you miss that, 'cause you draw strength from those other people. Just like in a community or in your family, you draw strength from the other people with you. So 6:00 AM flight, short list.

Travis: [07:31] Yeah, so I look at the other flights, and there’s another 6:00 AM flight on a different airline, 170 bucks, guaranteed, and it’s going out. Well, as guaranteed as any flight.

Craig: [07:42] There is a caveat there.

Travis: [07:44] So I call my wife, and I just say, “I can either get on this flight or kind of bank that I’m going to be on this.”

Craig: [07:50] Yeah.

Travis: [07:51] So I go up to the concierge lady, and, once again, I get real close. I kind of look at her. I was like, “In your experienced and professional opinion, how likely is it that I’m going to get on the 6:00 AM?”

Travis: [08:01] She’s like, “I can’t guarantee it.” Then she just kind of nods and looks me in the eyes.

Craig: [08:06] There’s often one seat that slips in.

Travis: [08:10] So I was like, “All right. All right.” So I just trusted her.

Craig: [08:13] Yeah, I’m not gonna hold you to it. I understand.

Travis: [08:14] Yeah, got on the 6:00 AM and got out. I was only an hour late. Rubbed my quads a little bit.

Craig: [08:21] Then off we go.

Travis: [08:22] Dan Edwards looks at me and says, “Are you going to be able to do this?” I was like …

Craig: [08:25] “We’re gonna find out.” Right?

Travis: [08:26] Yeah, right. So everybody’s running the 5K, and I don’t know. For me, I’ve talked about it with some other people, but, for me, to not be there at the beginning, it’s such a core value of what I teach. It’s such a core value of what I hold that not starting together and having them run into battle and then me being at the tent, like, “Who didn’t wake me up? Wait, guys. I’ve been training, too” … It just feels so wrong to then jump in at the second exercise.

Travis: [08:57] So that part, I think more than the fatigue or anything else, I really didn’t like going into it that way, coming into the second exercise fresh …

Craig: [09:06] Fresh.

Travis: [09:07] … where everybody else is …

Craig: [09:07] Right.

3 words?

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Craig: Of course, the final question: three words to describe your practice.

Travis: But I think three words for me, specifically … Maybe it’s just going to end on one word. I don’t … Yeah, making up rules now. But one is phoenix, the rebirth from the ashes.

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Craig: Right, right.

Travis: There’s a lot of things I don’t wanna talk about, but a phoenix is maybe all we need to know, that, through everything, it can come out new and it can come out greater, and that … I don’t know. I can keep pushing on, and maybe it’s not going to be the same, but if I keep putting the time and energy into it, it’s going to be new and it’s going to be better – different, but better, more fitting. So phoenix.

Travis: Maybe the next one is love. So much of it in the heart of what I do that drives it.

Travis: So when I was leaving my wife, my wife was getting emotional as I left Wisconsin to go to Chicago, and I haven’t seen her like that. But it’s good. Then I think perseverance is the last one, or maybe … Yeah, maybe perseverance. Share. Okay, four words. Perseverance, just keep going. Just keep going. But also share, that … Just give. Give to other people and share what you know. Seek places where people want to do that, where people desire to just give everything.

Travis: I tell people that in the extremes, you can see two worlds. Yes, I know this doesn’t work this way, but I think of it as two worlds – one in which everybody has to do everything themselves. Every time you are sick, you figure it out. There’s no hospital. There’s no mother. There’s no person making you soup. You take care of yourself.

Travis: Or the other world, where nobody takes care of their self, and everybody looks after someone else, that there is never a single time that you need something, because it’s always provided.