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Meet Matt Dawson of Dawson’s Peak in West Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Matt Dawson.

In 2016, Dawson was working in Los Angeles, CA as a Managing Director for an Investment Bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions. Throughout his 13 year career, he had chosen to work at “boutique” banks that allowed him greater regular access to successful entrepreneurs. Dawson was drawn to the passion, drive, and sense of purpose that such entrepreneurs often displayed. Although the work was challenging and Dawson was successful from “societal standards”, he often felt a sense of unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. Given the nature of the business, long weekly hours over many years typically did not allow for a wider scope of outside activities. Although he had performed at high levels across multiple fields, including athletics, academics, banking, aviation, and motorsports, Dawson felt increasingly disheartened with regards to a lack of greater purpose.

It was during this time that he lost two people instrumental in his life. Dealing with the pain and loss, he knew that it was time for a greater change. In order to identify and begin to institute such change, Dawson felt he must remove himself completely from his comfort zone. Three weeks after the second loss, he flew to Katmandu, Nepal to hike solo around the Mt. Everest region. Over the next three weeks, Dawson completed several climbs/treks including Mt. Everest base camp (17,598 ft), Kala Patthar (18,514 ft), Gokyo Ri (17,575 ft) and Cho la Pass (17,782 ft). Before this trip, he had NO previous climbing experience. During this time, Dawson removed himself completely from outside distractions such as music, television, telephones and, to the fullest extent possible, other people. Spending each day hiking, reading and writing, he discovered the introspective/meditative elements associated trekking and mountain climbing.

It was on this trip that Dawson found a renewed sense of purpose. He began to recognize and understand his desire to transition his life from “self-centered” to “service-centered”. He came to know that his purpose is in helping others identify and pursue their purpose. During this process, individuals will also come to understand the specific fears and additional drivers that keep them in a place of personal stagnation and lacking true fulfillment.

“I want to inspire others that significant life change is possible. We are all guilty, at points, of falling for the typical trappings that lead to momentary, topical happiness. I want to help people develop a true sense of purpose; experience true fulfillment and avoid the traps I fell into.” – Dawson

Over the following two years, he continued to climb, traveling to four additional continents and climbing three of the Seven Summits (the highest peak of each of the seven continents), including: Kilimanjaro (19,341 ft; Africa), Aconcagua (22,841 ft; Argentina) and Mt. Elbrus (18,510 ft; Russia). It was during these trips, he began to develop and refine the concept that would become DP. Dawson’s ultimate goal was to determine a way to transition his love for climbing and adventure into a “service-centered” organization that could be used to inspire others to recognize both their potential for change and their duty to pursue it.

In 2018, DP became a recognized 501(c)(3) public charity. Each year, DP will look to stage multiple, global expeditions involving activities meant to inspire viewers by pushing the boundaries of peak human potential, performance, and experience. Such expeditions will be undertaken by DP sponsored athletes. Additionally, the expeditions will be paired with third-party charities to help raise money and awareness for a variety of worthy causes. DP’s inaugural project is titled Seven for Soldiers and will commence in January 2020. 100% of net proceeds raised from sponsors and donors for this project will benefit two of the nation’s leading veteran-focused charities: Merging Vets & Players and Hope For The Warriors. Both these charities help aid veterans in their transition from military service to civilian life. “Veterans” were selected as the focus of DP’s inaugural project based on the tremendous sacrifices they make for the country.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Looking at my journey since 2016, it has been incredibly challenging, but equally rewarding. My life has basically changed 180 degrees.

With regards to Dawson’s Peak, starting a 501(c)(3) is similar to starting a “for profit” company. You’ve got to not only make sure all the regulatory matters are properly handled but decide on the right people to surround yourself with, from an operational standpoint. Neither of these are an easy thing to do and can dramatically impact the company.

Physically, as my dedication to climbing and training became more serious, I had to totally transform my body. In approx. the last year, I’ve lost 44lbs and 11% body fat. Such a change has enabled me to dramatically increase my endurance base. Prior to this, my athletic background was solely based in strength and power. Before three years ago, I had NO endurance or mountain climbing experience.

I still suffer from complications from compartmental syndrome that required surgical repair in my early 20’s. Every day, I had to spend 1-1.5 hours stretching my legs and specifically working to relieve tension in my calves. Twenty years ago, I had a bi-lateral (both legs) injury in my lower legs called compartmental syndrome. This injury was so severe that I experienced “drop foot” to where I could not physically lift my foot many times. Additionally, I had a very difficult time ascending even a handful of stairs. Any type of long-distance running was impossible. The injury progressed to the point of requiring surgery on both lower legs. After surgery, it took me several years to learn to run again.

Dawson’s Peak – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Dawson’s Peak inspires individual transformation through global expeditions taken by our sponsored athletes who push the limits of peak performance, potential, and experience.

Dawson’s Peak seeks to inspire individuals to recognize that responsibility gives one’s life meaning and that discipline/dedication beget true freedom. We all possess a tremendous ability to develop ourselves. With such development, we contribute more to our own lives, families, communities, and society. Each of us has a duty to pursue this development.

I’m most proud of the impact I can already see that we are having both on individuals coming to learn of Dawson’s Peak and with our charitable partners with project Seven for Soldiers – Hope For The Warriors and Merging Vets and Players.

Some of the things that differentiates us from other charitable operations are: 1) the scope of our expeditions (“projects”) are on a global scale not often attempt by others; 2) the activities will vary from one project to the next – so we will always be pushing the boundaries of human potential in new ways; 3) each of our projects will feature a new sponsored athlete to attempt to complete it, and 4) each of our projects will be partnered with new charitable partners. This scope and variation is intended to reach/connect with as many people as possible; meaning one project may resonate more with some people while another may connect more with others. We aren’t one cause, doing one thing to benefit one group.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me, “success” is living my life by four principles: live with purpose; use that purpose to help others, be kind, and was an absolute stinking animal when I put my mind to something. If I can say that I accomplished each of these principles each day, then I was successful that day. Further, I know that if I can live by these principles each day, that I will accomplish my longer-term goals of helping to inspire others to live lives of greater purpose – elevating not only themselves but all those around them.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 8149 Santa Monica Blvd. #370
  • Website: www.dawsonspeak.com
  • Phone: 424-278-9268
  • Email: info@dawsonspeak.com
  • Instagram: @dawsonspeak
  • Twitter: @dawsons_peak

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