Midweek Interview

Midweek Interview with BridgeClimb Sydney’s Chris Zumwalt

We headed to the summit for a chat with Chris Zumwalt, and came back with windswept hair and some interesting insights into the BridgeClimb Sydney CEO.

The challenge for the industry is…

So many tourism operators are affected by the weather, especially in Australia’s current climate, where conditions rapidly change. We’ve experienced more storms, drought, bush fires and high winds, and unfortunately these are all conditions that are out of our control.

The things I like about my job are…

Connecting with people, hearing their stories and banding together to create business milestones.

And the frustrations are…

Outcomes not moving at the speed that I’d like and my patience with this. The rate in which results need to happen don’t always reflect the outcome.

If I didn’t work in travel, I would be…

A meditation or breathwork coach.

My favourite airline is…

Japan Airlines – excellent service, great food and, in typical Japanese style, always on time.

My proudest moment was…

That’s a tricky question, because I’ve had a hard time in my life being proud of myself, but I want to say my proudest moment is where I am and stand today. I am proud of my commitment to my mindfulness, self-awareness and emotional intelligence. I also have enormous pride in my children, my wife and being backed by the incredible BridgeClimb team.

The naughtiest thing I ever did was…

As a teenager, I once hid in a dumpster for three hours waiting for a friend to bring the garbage out, under a mask. I scared the hell out of him by saying, “Spare any change for an old man?”

I try to relax by…

Meditating every morning and night, and practicing breathwork as often as I can. I also write a ‘future-self’ journal every day.

The last time I feared for my life was…

When I had kidney stones four years ago and required surgery because the stone was stuck in my urethra. I’d never been under anaesthetic before, so the thought of it brought on fears of death, which stems from not liking being out of control.

If I can, I always try to avoid…

Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, as well as negativity. Although, there is something in facing it. It’s about how you perceive it and running away is never the answer.

I really wish I had…

While I don’t usually have many regrets, I really wish I had more compassion in the moments where I may have said and done something that could’ve been handled differently. But in saying that, I learn from these moments and believe they’ve added to my character as a person.

The best advice I’ve ever received was…

Recently, a good friend told me a mindset about a Japanese way of life relating to seaweed. They referred to it as “Wa-Ka-Me”, which is Japanese for a type of seaweed. He said that in your life, be like seaweed; seaweed is firmly planted in the ocean floor at its roots. As the waves come and go, the seaweed moves with the tide, while always staying planted in the ocean floor. When the waves subside, the seaweed goes back to its original position of stillness.

For me, this was a great analogy for life. Life is full of ups and downs or ‘waves’.  We must find a way to stay firmly planted in our foundations, our values, a knowing higher than our self, and family. So, when life does challenge us, we know we can return to that space of a solid foundation.

I don’t understand why people…

Again, I’m a big believer in duality on this planet, meaning I know for there to be good, there must be bad. But I am human, so I don’t understand why people like macaroni and cheese.

My greatest weakness is…

I can sometimes take things too personally and connect it to my self-worth.

And my greatest strength is…

My ability to develop meaningful relationships with people expeditiously. I like to connect with people’s hearts and understand what their needs or pains are to help them grow.

If I won a $1 million lottery, (aside from travelling) I would…

Buy a piece of land in the Blue Mountains (where I am from) and start a mindfulness/wellness retreat space. I would, of course, be the self-appointed guru in all white… just kidding!

If I was prime minister, I would…

Throw everything I have into reversing climate change and ensure I was on the right side of history.

If I could be someone else for one day, I would be…

One of the enlightened beings like Buddha or Jesus. It would be incredible to experience what they witnessed and felt first-hand.

I’ve always wanted to travel to…

Bora Bora. The beautiful imagery of the huts over the water always sucks me in. Just Google it.

My favourite holiday was…

To Japan with my wife and two kids this year. I love the people, the food, the culture, and the politeness. It also helped that my wife is fluent in Japanese!

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