Your Epic Life

Women: Are You Living An Inspired Life?

Women: Are You Living An Inspired Life?

By Shelli Johnson 

"Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?" (Mary Oliver) 

Yeehaw from some Epic Women in July of 2015 from the top of Mitchell Peak, Wind River Range, Wyoming.

Would you like to wake up feeling inspired? Would you like to "crank it up," and do something unexpected? Would you like more aliveness in your life? Would you like to discover more about yourself? Would you like to change the conversation in your life? Are you going through a change or transition? Would you like to gain more confidence, or improve your leadership? Are you interested in an Epic adventure? Would you like to make some changes to your life? 

If you answer Yes to any of these, then I'm looking for you.

The Epic Women program combines life and leadership coaching in the months before and after the Epic adventure, personal training and wellness recommendations, and a 5-day guided backpacking expedition in my backyard, Wyoming’s Wind River Range.

The space for us to grow is bigger than we think it is. But to believe this, we have dare to stretch ourselves. 

Hiking across Jackass Pass, with the Cirque of the Towers in the background, Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Mariah, Jenni, Jackie, Vicki, Diana, Wendy and Roxanne dared to by signing up for Epic Life’s original Epic Women program. These epic women, who came from Colorado, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California and Wyoming, could have signed up for a retreat or a vacation. But they didn’t. They signed up for something that promised to push them.


Vicki, Jackie, Roxanne, me, Jenni, Mariah, Diana and Wendy, at Big Sandy Lake, in Wyoming's Wind River Range, at sunset during the first-ever Epic Women Expedition, August 2013.

Epic Life’s adventures provide an opportunity to embark on a “Hero’s Journey.” A Hero’s Journey is no vacation. Women who sign up for the Epic Women program are answering a call to adventure. Joseph Campbell said nothing brings people together like terror and aspiration. In my individual coaching calls with each of the women in the month before our expedition, the women commonly remark that they are feeling “nervous but excited.” This is right where I want them... After all, when we dare to live our best life, it causes us to be nervous and excited at the same time. We are nervous about the unknowns and the challenge, but excited for the discovery and inspiration they promise.

Wildflowers were everywhere on the way up East Temple Peak, Wyoming's Wind River Range, during the 2016 Epic Women Expedition.

By the way, we each have an Epic life – the question is are we living it? It takes daring and courage to live our Epic life. Personally, I know when I'm living my epic life, because I will feel nervous and excited. "Signing up" to do things that will require courage and learning but that will lead to me feeling more alive, causes me great fulfillment.

The Epic Women program dares women to become actually what they are potentially. When we do something Epic, the experience causes us to become more. And, the people with whom we share the experience cause us to become better.

Epic Women backpack around Big Sandy Lake, en route to Clear and Deep lakes region.

I might add, here, that being a woman – especially one who is also a wife and a mother, as I am – sometimes causes us to feel guilty when we sign up for things that take us away from our families and cost us money. But it is not selfish to sign up for something that causes us to become more. One of the benefits of doing so is that we love ourselves more, which I'm pretty certain means we're also more lovable.

We have only one life, and I want to dare, and help, people to live their Epic life. By your Epic life, I mean your life, not the life others expect or want you to live, and certainly not an ordinary life where you wake up and go through the motions as if on autopilot, just sort of marking time as your life passes by. As the great Stoic Seneca once said, "While we are postponing, life speeds by." 

I have found that the combination of a wilderness adventure and personal coaching provides an ideal platform from which to practice doing the work that living our Epic life requires.

2014 Epic Women, celebrating at Clear Lake, Wyoming's Wind River Range.

And while it's no vacation, and it's a lot of work, the Epic Women program is also a lot of fun. At the end of the expedition, one of the Epic Women (Jackie) remarked, "I have never worked, or laughed, so hard in my life." I don't know about you, but this describes and Epic life, too – a sort of hard-earned celebration.

We did it! "Certified Epic" at the completion of this year's Epic Women Expedition.

Another Epic woman, Mariah, (Director of Annual Giving at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo) says of her Epic Women experience:

"Sometimes, in our lives, we meet exceptional people. People who inspire us, challenge us, and ask questions that force us to grow. These are the people whose voices become part of our inner monologue, and continue to challenge us and cheer us when they're not physically present.

Shelli Johnson is one of these people.

Since participating in her Epic Life program this summer, I have benefited tremendously from the lessons I learned-- lessons from nature, lessons from the other women on my journey, and the lessons I found within myself as a result of Shelli's deft coaching skills. When I signed up for this trip, I wanted to get in shape, see great scenery, and learn to read a map. I thought that life-coaching was something I'd have to swallow along the way, and was afraid I'd have to sing Kumbaya and cry around the campfire.

Six months later, I found myself wearing a trucker hat with a unicorn on it, being challenged to live my best life-- and I couldn't have been more intoxicated with the prospect of living it. This is what Shelli does. She meets you where you are, expertly identifies ways to make your life more epic, and then shows you that it was really inside you the whole time. My trip was a bit like Dorothy's journey in the Wizard of Oz – I went on an amazing adventure, I was helped along the way by wonderful friends, I got a new pair of shoes (okay, hiking boots), and was given the opportunity to pull back the curtain on my own life. I'm not looking back.

You can see images of, and quotes from, other Epic Women participants in the gallery below:

Sign up for the Epic Women program, and expect to be inspired, challenged, fulfilled, and supported. Get in the best health and shape of your life. Make new and lasting friendships. Discover more about yourself and what’s possible in your life. Gain clarity about who and how you want to be in your life. Have something new and unique to talk about with the people in your life. And, for my part, I will give you everything I've got.

Wildflowers and the Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, WY.

Contact me at if you're interested in the Epic Women program. Space is limited, and this is an unforgettable, life-changing program!

Hi. I'm Shelli Johnson. Please contact me at if you're interested in the 2017 Epic Women program. Space is limited, and this is an unforgettable, life-changing program!
You'll have to wake up early on our mountain climbing days, but you'll be rewarded by views like this one, of first light on a hanging lake and mountain peaks viewed while climbing East Temple Peak, in Wyoming's Wind River Range.


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Exploring Our Edges

Shelli Johnson Reflects on her NOLS wilderness expedition