We had the good fortune of connecting with Jess Tiergyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jess, how do you think about risk?
“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask ‘What if I fall?’ Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” — Erin Hanson I was taught by life and leaders throughout my experience on this planet to avoid risk and then I would be safe. I was told, just play it safe and you won’t have to be afraid. As a queer teen escaping an abusive home I wanted to be safe, I wanted the world to not hurt anymore. But if we stop for a moment we know that it is not true- we know that being alive on this spinning sphere of dirt contains intrinsic risks. The first time I threatened for being queer/non-binary- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I notified a family that their teen had died in a car crash and held them as they sobbed- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I lost a patient after working excellent CPR for an hour- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I sat with a 4.0 student after they were sexually assaulted- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I held the hand of a friend, who had lost their life to suicide and sobbed out all the pain of why- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I walked through the bullying and cruelty experienced by a trans client, with them- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I was a witness and support to an adult who has been sexually abused since she was 3- I knew risk was inevitable. I learned that life can hurt, that life can be devastating, that life can take from you everything that you love. I learned that pain is inevitable and that none of us gets out of this life experience unscathed. The first time that a rescue dog I had rehabbed was adopted and her tail wouldn’t stop wagging- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time a friend celebrated 6 months of sobriety- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time a friend held me in my darkest hour and I wasn’t too much- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time a client was able to show up as their true self and felt glorious in their queerness- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time a client could be present in their own body and feel powerful again- I knew risk was inevitable. The first time I was actively suicidal and found a curiosity that made tomorrow worth living- I knew risk was inevitable. In all the times of watching a sunset, kayaking a river, sipping a coffee or embracing a friend- I know risk is inevitable. At some point in my journey, I realized that life is full of risk, every moment is a risk. But risk isn’t only about the bad that could occur, it is also about the good that could occur. There is an everyday risk that amazing, beautiful and powerful things will happen to you. This awareness, at an emotional and somatic level changed my life. Every decision we make in life contains risks. Every step we take can lead to great pain or to great joy (and usually to both). When a head injury left me unable to stay in my chosen line of work, I realized (after much anger, hopelessness and struggle) that a beautiful opportunity for risk awaited me. I had the chance to gain much and lose much and experience life in the process. Out of that risk, my Caliber triad was born- Caliber Counseling, Caliber Consulting and Caliber Coaching. Caliber Counseling is a counseling practice that specializes in walking alongside queer folx and first responders. It is a practice that accepts all the risks that come with being human and doesn’t walk away because something is too dark. Caliber Consulting works with business to help them become more queer affirming, more mental health affirming or to help them heal/shift after a workplace tragedy or loss. It allows folks to take risks with intention, to mitigate unwanted risks where possible and to be confident of the ability to respond to outcomes as they arise. Caliber Coaching offers somatic based coaching to address emotional pain, struggles and traumas that feel stuck in the body. It uses movement (often through the outdoors and martial arts) to assist folx in regaining elements of freedom and power that they desire in their life. It challenges folx to take risks while trusting themselves and learning how many risks might work in their favor instead of to their detriment. It is a trauma informed coaching practice. Daily I choose risk, daily I know that nothing is permanent, and everything could be lost, daily I know that adventure and fun is possible. Will you join me on this adventure called life? Will you take a risk and dare to live?
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a ‘street rat’ that came from nothing and was fortunate enough to be able to get a college degree and turn a dream into a reality. I am a trans/non-binary human with a trauma history and a disability from a head injury. I am not the type of person who generally gets to have a successful outcome. But, I am determined, focused and have had the most amazing people walk alongside me through all of the hard parts of the journey. I have experienced great loss, but have also experienced great community and great opportunities for adventure while creating a business. Caliber Counseling, Caliber Coaching and Counseling Consulting are different than many other businesses because we understand how difficult it is to be human and embrace all the elements that make us up as humans. This means the scary parts, the dis-regulated parts and the parts that folx have been told are too much. We believe in taking risks, showing up in big ways and walking through the muck to find ways to make long term changes. We love partnering with people who have big dreams, big struggles and are willing to challenge the status quo. Throughout this journey I have learned that many things we think aren’t possible, are actually just hard. I have learned that standing for what you believe may cost you in the beginning, but will pay off in the creation of a brand. I have learned that it is imperative to see people, living, breathing humans as valuable beings, as individuals, as worthy of being seen and heard. I have learned that honor and integrity matter more than money ever can and that building a foundation on honor can lead to great business success. The Caliber Triad is excited to partner with you in the days to come. If you are seeking counseling in a place that sees you and isn’t scared of your darkness, Caliber Counseling would love to walk alongside you. If you are seeking business consultation around creating a queer affirming organization, around mental health concerns in your business or are seeking trainings for your organization, Caliber Consulting would be honored to help your organization reach it’s greatness. If you are wanting to become a greater version of yourself and want to use a somatic approach to do, if you know there are things ‘caught’ in your body that you need to release to reach your potential, Caliber Coaching would consider it an honor to press forward into ‘muchness’ with you.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Northern Colorado is filled with many exciting places. Weld Werks is an excellent place to grab a local brew and have a conversation with the artists that work there. The local rivers are begging to be rafted or kayaked down as the bighorn sheep romp on the nearby rocks. Once you get off the river you might want to grab a coffee at John Galt (in Greeley) or Alleycat (in Fort Collins). El Pueblito in Greeley is a delicious place for Mexican food served by a local family. Rocky Mountain National Park is a must visit– give time to roam through the mountains, touch the rocks and admire the tiny flowers.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this shoutout to Jesse, known by many of us as Rev. Rev showed up for me in my darkest hours, when I was angry, confused and couldn’t see any future. He unfailingly saw potential in me, he never thought I was too much and he always pushed me to go further. Saying goodbye to him this year was saying goodbye to one of the gentlest bad ass men I have known.