Having traveled to over forty countries and being an Australian who now lives in North Vancouver, our veteran Open Performance Team member Tiffany Melius knows a thing or two about climbing and life experience.
I started climbing when I was 14 years old. I had been a gymnast for a while and was looking for a new sport that would keep up my strength and flexibility. It all started with visiting my neighbourhood climbing gym after talking to my neighbour who suggested that I give climbing a try. And I’ve been hooked ever since! I’ve been climbing for almost 20 years now!
With twenty years of climbing experience, what accomplishments are you most proud of?
Back in 2013, I placed 18th at the Hamilton Bouldering World Cup. It was a huge deal for me to make the semi-finals and place in the Top 20. It was my first-ever world cup and it was incredibly exciting and validating to see the results of my hard work and training. Three years later, in 2016, I became the Australian Bouldering National Champion. Placing first in Australia, and in my hometown, was also validating because it was like I had come full circle. Queensland was where I started to climb and compete, so to come back, older, wiser and more worldly, and to win, was an incredible experience.
What’s next for you?
At the moment, I’m focusing on accepting what is, right now. It’s also the way I look at my training and competing. I get very present in the moment, and focus on what is important at that moment, like getting in sync with my body during warm-ups, focusing on recovery during rest periods when in a competition, and being present when performing when on the wall. I think that increased self-confidence and self-awareness, and a focus on the mental side of performance, have been the catalyst for huge improvements in my competition performances. I am currently looking at my relationship with climbing and reflecting on what I want, what is serving me, what is not serving me, and where I can contribute more or in a different way.
You’re very mindful of your climbing so it must also help you in your everyday life?
Climbing gives me an almost meditative space to de-stress. It’s a physical and mental space that helps me focus and gives me purpose. It’s a perfect mechanism to maintain my health – physical, mental, and social. Not only does it give me inspiration, climbers are an incredibly supportive community on a global scale.
At the same time, I also try to approach climbing and the ups and downs of life with a philosophy of ‘acceptance’. On the one hand this means looking at what is, what needs to be, what is in my power to change, and what do I want to get out of a situation – and then taking action. On the other I think it’s important to also accept what is ok or enough as it is and realize what is serving me or not.
Being mindful and accepting is something that I also believe in whether I’m climbing, working as an Executive Director for a non-profit that serves people with mental illness, providing performance coaching for athletes, or acting as a life coach for clients.
What does it mean for you to be on the Open Performance Team?
I really enjoy being on the Open Performance Team because I have access to coaching and teammates who help support me in reaching my goals, pushing my limits and holding me accountable. As one of the veterans on the team, it’s also an opportunity to share my climbing, competition, and life experience with my teammates. The Open Team is a great environment to be in because we support each other and share solidarity in our achievements and failures.
This is part of a series to profile the 2016/2017 Open Performance Team members.