True Peak Journey: Christian Hollingsworth

by Lance Ekum on · 26 comments

Note: This is part of a series where I feature people who are on their true peak journey.  If you're interested in sharing your story, please contact me.

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

Today our guest is Christian Hollingsworth, from Smart Boy Designs.  Christian writes about blogging and life at his site, and has created an active community through the stories he weaves.

Below Christian shares a part his story, as he has continues his true peak journey.

Please read and enjoy…

I’m going to put it bluntly, straightforward from the beginning.

I found my true peak by forgiving myself and understanding that I make mistakes.

The past couple of months have been a whirlwind of learning for me. A time to ponder and consider the great questions of life. For a year I was serving as a service missionary in Colorado and then November of 2010 I got incredibly ill. At first it was thought to be the flu, but I never got better. Heart problems, stomach issues, joint pain and more. At this point, over seven months of being ill, the doctors still don’t know what is wrong.

It’s been during this time that I’ve grown the most.

Let’s Go Back a Little Bit

I feel like I’ve had a blessed life. A life full of opportunity and kindness given to me. Brought into my life my forces unbeknownst to me. Life has been handed to me – and I’ve always had no excuse (in my mind) to be my very best.

In short, I have always been my own worst enemy and critic.

Whether it’s a simple drawing or essay, I’ve always been the one to judge myself. The one to say I haven’t done my best. That little voice who distills in my mind – bringing the negativity. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel like you’re the toughest person in the universe, on your own work and output? I often did, and still do sometimes.

I Choose to be Positive.

In order to fight it, I had to understand and firmly believe in a simple truth.

Negativity is not my natural spirit.

That’s not how I’m supposed to be. That’s not who I am. Those feelings are and were only the feelings of the negativity we face on a daily basis – that creeps in from the world.

From our youth we are often positive. We’re going to climb the highest mountains and be the next astronaut on the moon. We’re going to accomplish everything and take others with us. Then the world, people and our own selves start to voice their own opinion. They tell us it’s not possible, we can’t make it, and what we’re bringing to the table isn’t enough.

Don’t believe them.

My True Peak

Let’s go back to my original thoughts. Being ill.

It’s been during this time that I’ve been humbled to the core. I’ve been brought down to a tremendous low. It’s often during these times that we rise, and make something great out of the dust.

From being ill I’ve reached my True Peak – because I am quicker to forgive myself. I’ve come to understand that I will make mistakes, difficulty will arise – and that I have the power within to overcome.

That’s the true peak. That’s the peak we each face every day. The mountain we climb.

We’re going to make mistakes – but we’re also going to reach the peak, and summit.

It’s the happy message. The one we should be proud of.

I don’t know that I’ll ever fully reach my True Peak in this life, but do know that I reach smaller, less pronounced peaks each and every day. I’m still young, and have so much to learn.

I’ve got my backpack, filled with some tools of life – and I expect it’s going to be an interesting climb.

Christian Hollingsworth is the creator of Smart Boy Designs, where he talks about living your life to the fullest, with a special attention toward creating an online presence.  Keep up with Christian on Twitter and Facebook.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Melody | Deliberate Receiving June 28, 2011 at 7:39 am

Hi Christian,
I’ve manifested illness several times in my life and it was always an extreme way to get me to pay attention to something I’d been ignoring. It’s painful, but it really works. When you get ill enough, you stop fighting, you give up and that’s when huge shifts can happen. I try not to make that a condition of my growth anymore, though… :o)
Thanks for sharing your story. And thank you Lance for featuring Christian.



Christian Hollingsworth June 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thank you for the hugs and thoughts Melody. It’s interesting to see the growth that comes when you’re failing, ill or fighting for something that’s difficult. It seems like a heartless way to grow, doesn’t it? Sometimes you just want no part in the process!


Andrew Olson June 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

Thanks for sharing your story. You have so much positive energy, it’s contagious 🙂

You’re right, negativity is not your natural state. In fact, I don’t think it is anyone’s natural state. Some people just get stuck there, forgetting who they really are.

Thanks again, and keep up the great work on your blog!


Christian Hollingsworth June 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

We all forget. Often. Every day almost. We forget that out true nature is to be happy – and that the negativity shouldn’t be there! Don’t let it! Push it away and fight!

I wonder what some other things we can do, as humans, to push away that negativity? Because I certainly don’t have all those answers!


Meg June 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

Christian… you are great! Thanks for sharing your positive and energy filled life with us. I look forward to reading your blog and seeing how it evolves. I am glad I stumbled upon you! I love your outlook on life. Thanks for sharing!


Christian Hollingsworth June 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Really appreciate you stopping by as often as you do, Meg. So fun to see people you enjoy so much, throughout the internet. It’s like living in a small town!


Ewa June 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm

“I found my true peak by forgiving myself and understanding that I make mistakes.”
Christian, this is a beautiful sentence. Often we are very hard on ourselves, we forgive our enemies but have a hard time to show the same kindness to ourselves. Thank you for this wonderful post. You are an inspiration.
I wish you good health and soon. Sending a lot of prayers your way.


Lance June 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Thank YOU for sharing your story here! I love this line about “…the power within to overcome.”. Yes! It’s there within all of us, and sometimes it takes something challenging in our lives to really have that power within shine through.

What a great place to “be”…knowing what this past year has been like, and to know – deep within your soul – that you CAN overcome!

Christian, you are an inspiration – and your story is one I’m so glad you chose to share here!


Christian Hollingsworth June 29, 2011 at 1:37 am

Well thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings. Often I wonder if I’m taking the growth I feel from this experience in the right way – and it helps to get this type of feedback from each of you.

I’m grateful for the feedback. All of it.

At times when being ill you feel alone. For some reason the online world seems to taper and tend to those feelings – because instantly I can become connected with others who have been through a similar or same experience. How grateful I am to live in a time when we have that ability! It’s fantastic!

I look forward to what I’ll learn from you Lance. Continually. And all the people you choose to connect with and share their stories here at your blog. This blog is a place of learning and healing. For that, I thank you.

It transcends virtual – and lives in reality.


Lynn June 29, 2011 at 7:59 am

What an inspiration you are, Christian. How lovely that you have not given in to your illness, but grown in character from it.


suzen June 29, 2011 at 8:14 am

Hi Christian and Lance! Two of my favorite dudes all wrapped up on one page! Wow!

Christian I am so sorry you’re still plagued with illness. It is, indeed, a humbling experience that I’ve had as well. It is a great catalyst for change and re-thinking pretty near everything. Your loving spirit fills this page and I swear attitude has more to do with healing than anything else. Sending healing vibes and hugs!

Being immersed myself in the alternative medicine holistic health care field, I am wondering if you have explored your issues with a natural health care practitioner?

Lance, as always, great choice here!
hugs and love to you both,


Audra Krell June 29, 2011 at 9:07 am

You were created to do great things and it’s inspiring to see that you are! I love that you’re not focusing on what you don’t have, but on what you do and how you can use that to help others. May you be healed to the core, from the inside out.


Holly Latty-Mann June 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

Christian, you share so much wisdom in such a short amount of space! I wish I had caught onto such wisdom at a much younger age. You clearly have a full, rich life ahead of you! Thank you for your gracious sharing today. Holly


Dr. J June 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Have you been evaluated for Lyme disease?


jasmine June 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Times are tough these days. Best luck to you and all yours. 🙂


Christian Hollingsworth June 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

To answer all of your questions, yes, I’ve worked with a natural health practitioner during the course of the past couple of months. I’m using drops, essence of flowers, energy readings, etc…as well as Western medicine in conjunction.

Most things I’m been prescribed by doctors has been ridiculous. Medicines like Prylosec just made things much worse. At this point, the doctors don’t want to see me anymore – because they just don’t know what’s wrong.

As for lyme’s disease, I’ve been tested for it. Yes. One test came back positive, one came back negative. That’s when they did a spinal tap – and it came back negative. At that point my internal medicine doctor didn’t want to continue lyme’s disease treatment because she said I couldn’t have it at that point.

But I still believe it could be lyme’s disease. After doing much research, I hear it can be misdiagnosed for years even. So, Dr. J, I think you’re onto something there. I’m going to get tested again here shortly, and then possibly look into other methods of testing as well.

It seems to correlate all along with Lyme’s disease. Even the joint pain will come at random times throughout the week – and all my systems have been taxed or “played” with in different ways in regards to this illness.

I’ll keep everyone updated. Thank you for your kind comments, support and love. I’m going through now and checking out each of your blogs. Excited to connect further. I didn’t know some of you before today!


Galen Pearl June 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Like Dr. J, lyme disease was the first thing I thought of. Nothing like a bunch of bloggers to diagnose your illness after you’ve seen so many experts–ha!

But besides that, what I admire about your post is the way you have incorporated this illness into your life journey. It can be so emotionally and spiritually debilitating to have a chronic condition, especially when you don’t even know for sure what it is. You are very brave and wise, I think.

I hope that your condition improves. Thank you for sharing your story.


David Stevens June 29, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Hi Christian & Lance,
I like your choices. We all have them however many fail to exercise the power of “choice”. Christian you chose to be ‘positive’. I can’t think of a better choice than that. Congratulations on your journey thus far.
be good to yourself


King Author June 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Hey Christian,

Negativity is no ones natural spirit. Its about living life, enjoying the moment, embracing this world as an adventure where dreams come true and life is about loving what you do. Life is also about loving your family, caring for those who cannot care for themselves and being a role model to those who never had one. Loved the post.


Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker June 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Christian, thanks for sharing your story. I do believe that true healing starts with forgiving ourselves and learning to love ourselves. Yes, we all make mistakes. Making mistakes and learning from them is one of our biggest lessons in life. Wisdom isn’t always a product of age. Young people can have wisdom too.


Justin June 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Hey Christian,
I appreciate your honesty in this post. It seems to be a common problem for us to be our own worst critic. This is the minds way of dealing with circumstances that it can’t understand.

We have to shift our awareness from the mind to the heart to end negativity in our lives.


Beverley July 1, 2011 at 5:09 am

a great read Christian. I think we are all our ‘own worst enemy and critic’ but hearing your journey helps us all to lessen that part of ourself a bit more 🙂

Thanks Lance for highlighting Christian on your blog


Matt R July 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

“Don’t believe them.”

Best advice anyone could give. Don’t believe anyone’s viewpoint that isn’t aligned with yours because that’s them. You’re you.


Janet @ The Natural Networker July 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Lance, aloha. Thx so much for directing me to this post by Christian.

Christian, no wonder you are wise beyond your years. Your appreciation and joy for life comes through in everything you say and do. Having read your story of your illness and knowing the type of person you are, I should imagine that the research and introspection are running a neck and neck race.

Because of what you have endured and now realized, you have a rare ability to touch people deeply, to inspire them to become all that they can be. At the same time, you remind people to be joyful, to relax and to have fun.

Christian, you have well learned your lessons and are teaching them masterfully so no need to keep on with this “program.” Time to be done with this illness and move on to vibrant health. That, Christian, is how I choose to see you in my thoughts.

Be well, my friend, and know that you are loved and cherished. Much love and aloha. Janet
Janet @ The Natural Networker´s Last Fabulous Post ..Do you know Smart Boy by Janet Callaway | The Natural NetworkerMy Profile


Lance July 19, 2011 at 8:59 am

Thanks for visiting! Christian sure is a great guy, isn’t he!!

By the way, I love how you use the word “aloha” – it just instantly put in a state of relaxation (and I LIKE that!!).

Have a SUPER day!!


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