Hey! I'm Jen Hudak.
Pro Skier turned life coach & I’m On a mission to help retiring athletes step confidently into their second act.
I choose HAPPY. Do you?
For as long as I can remember I've been obsessed with human performance, capability, and potential. What does it take for someone to beat all odds, to break records, to do the impossible, to achieve greatness?
I always imagined that these were the happiest kinds of people. The record-breakers, the high-achievers, they were the ones who would rest soundly at night, satisfied with all they had done.
And then I became one.
By 2010, I was a two-time world champion, 5-time X-Games medalist, 4-time national champion and an ESPY nominee. On paper, my ski career & life was a success.
The mystery was why, after achieving all my goals, did I feel it wasn't enough? What was I missing?
Over the next 4 years, the life I knew completely unraveled. Devastating injuries held me back in my ski career, friends suffered irreversible injuries and one lost her life.
I failed to achieve my ultimate goal of becoming an Olympian, and my father endured a 5-year battle with leukemia that claimed his life.
It was time to retire from skiing, but I felt I had no tangible skills to bring to the "real world," no traditional work experience to make me worth hiring, and more than anything, I just didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.
I was jobless, fatherless, purposeless and worst of all, hopeless.
I told myself I couldn't desire a life lived on my own terms because I was lucky to have had that once.
I felt burdened by responsibilities and failed to look at the complex nature of my desires. I judged those desires with a harsh scrutiny. I was scared, so I retreated to what felt safe: living how everyone else was living.
I began believing in all the things I "should" be doing - finishing college, establishing a "career," reserving adventure & travel for rare special occasions, starting a family of my own. I soon found myself stuck behind a desk under fluorescent light for 10+ hours a day.
Somewhere along the line I remembered that I get to choose how I live this life. How I spend my time, how I earn my money, how I recirculate it - it's all choice. So I made mine.
I chose to take back the reigns, remember how to dream, and build from the bottom up.
I used the same fear management techniques and visualization skills that I developed in my ski career to get my life back on track. I took a thorough inventory of how I was living and began to close the gap on the life I wanted to live. I was ruthless with my time as I built the bridge from one life to the next and I cultivated empowered thoughts instead of misguided ones.
Part of the redesign of my life, led to this work: to share my knowledge and experience through coaching, written-word, workshops & adventure retreats. I love connecting with my clients, holding space for their journeys to unfold, and offering unconditional support & guidance. I get vulnerable alongside my clients to help them redefine their relationship with fear & carve a new path for their future.
By no means does this mean my life is perfect.
My life is a constant work in progress. I still struggle with balancing masculine and feminine energy, overcommitment & burnout, fully accepting myself & all my shortcomings, learning to love my body as it is (not based on physical performance or aesthetic), saying "no" with love & grace, and engaging with conflict from a place of deep compassion & curiosity.
I love the process of learning & growing & expanding. My job here will never be done.
I love slow mornings.
I wake with the sun. Coffee with cream (no sugar). Bacon, eggs & avocado. A little journaling, some movement & the DEEP FOCUS playlist on Spotify.
I live in a modern log cabin in the woods.
The dream for this mountain abode was one that Chris had before me. And now I wake up in a dream every day!
I'm a crier.
Tears are common-place around here. Tears of joy, tears of pure awe, tears of frustration & inspiration, tears of sadness, and tears of deepest empathy.
Chocolate is my jam.
Especially if you add peanut butter in there. Or mint. Mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I'm drooling. Are you?
I competed on Season 30 of The Amazing Race
And we kicked ass! My friend, Kristi Leskinen, and I went on to become the first team (male/female/coed) to finish all 12 legs in the top 3 and finished with the highest average of any female team in 30 seasons!
Connection is E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G
I've been known to connect deeply with complete strangers, to cry on the shoulders of monks on an airplane, to make friends in unexpected places. Human connection is what this life is all about.
Dogs are life.
My four-legged fur babies are my constant companions. When I see a pooch out-and-about my voice naturally rises 3 octaves. And I live for dog smooches.
I married my soulmate.
This doesn't mean it's all daisies & sunshine. My soulmate is someone who helps me grow. He's someone I love unconditionally and that love leads me to look inward A LOT.
Adventure is my middle name.
I was a professional halfpipe skier for 13-years and amassed a lot of "titles." When I hung up the hat I started racing mountain bikes. I love the mental process of pushing my body to its limits.