Real Lives, Better Stories
Senior Economic Analyst
“Finding the meaning and purpose of my life has always been ranked to the bottom of my priority list, as it’s been taken for granted. I do what my parents asked me to do growing up, and living up to their expectations is the only important thing, be it about performance at school, what kind of hobby to have, what kind of job I want, what city to live, or even what kind of girlfriend I need. It had been convenient, simply because I didn’t have to think too hard and make choices on each step of the way. Also, it seemed that I didn’t have to bear the consequences as I always have someone to blame, maybe even some “financial support,” if things are not going in the right direction. It’s a typical micro-managed Chinese lifestyle that I’m very used to until it’s not convenient anymore. If I meet all, or most, of these requirements and targets set by my parents, what’s next? As much as I feel that I’ve arrived, I feel directionless and purposeless. The passiveness has resulted in a series of problems in my adult life, including depression, sloppiness at work, blindly agreeing with my boss to maintain a job safety, and most devastatingly, living in fear. Fear that the things I earned will be gone someday.
In retrospect, I knew I was living an unfulfilled life, but I understood none of above until I reunite with David two month ago in LA. He has a charming personality, but more importantly, he’s professionally equipped. He made a most accurate diagnose of my problems based on a series questions during our hours-long conversations. And finally, I’m inspired and believed that I could make a change, start taking control of my life and be a better self instead of trying to be anyone else or please anyone else. This conclusion itself is simple. I’ve read about it, heard it from motivational speeches over and over again, but this time it’s different. David made me want to make a real change by laying out strategies in making improvements on small matters and on daily basis, no matter if it’s ordering foods at friends outings, initiate critical points during meetings with my boss, or forming some healthy habits in sleeping, reading, and thinking. Taking these steps have made a real change in my life. I noticed that people around me respect me better. Questions from my boss are more inquisitive than interrogative. And more importantly, I feel fearless. Imagine the feeling of a person who lived in fear for 30 years and all of a sudden the shackles are removed and let free. That’s because I found a purpose of my life. I’d say it wouldn’t happen or happens much later, without David. Special thanks to David, and I want to say: you rock brother!”
Director of Sales & Marketing
“I would highly recommend Cliffhanger Academy. I was fortunate enough to partake in the Muay Thai -Into the Wild- experience. David is an excellent instructor. He has the ability to gain trust right away and is very thorough in his approach to help guide you through his philosophies and methods. The Muay Thai class was a great way to understand his theory of the mind/body connection and to really get the message across that “Focus is a Muscle”. Through multiple rounds of Muay Thai and some basic calisthenics thrown in the mix, you are able to get into the zone whereas you improve your focus, you improve your results. With a cool down and breathing exercise, David is further able to demonstrate how the mind and body need to stay connected in order to truly obtain proper focus. The breathing and meditating were extremely helpful and are easy takeaways to improve your everyday performance both in physical activity, but also in setting and obtaining life goals. Thank you, David, for a great experience. I will be using the tools that I learned “in The Wild” to help me become more focused and get better results in my health, wealth, and relationships.”
“I participated in David’s In the Wild Muay Thai experience and was not disappointed. Initially, I was skeptical about the whole thing but David far exceeded my expectations. My reason for attending this session was simply to get out of a rut. I needed to change something, get out of my comfort zone and out of my head for a little while, and that’s exactly what David helped me do. That day, David served as my mental skills coach, therapist, martial arts instructor, meditation/breathwork teacher, and friend. He truly cares about the people he meets and it’s evident by the continuous communication well after our session. David’s professionalism is only surpassed by his passion to help others.”
“Working with David transcends the gym. His guidance begins in the heart and infiltrates the mind. In turn, this momentum invigorates the body. By way of this approach, David has adapted his approach to strength and endurance to accommodate my struggles with a chronic illness. By combining an insistence on the breath, faith, and his ability to listen and observe my needs, David has helped to transform my identity from one of degeneration and sickness to one of power and progress. He sticks with me through thick and thin and challenges me in ways that prompt growth. It is through this dedication and compassion that David’s positive energy and guidance holds a presence in all aspects of my life.”
Director of Operations
“Ever wonder what your secret super guardian angel who was sent here to cheer you on, nudge you in the right direction, and remind you of who you truly are, looks like in physical form? That’s David Mykel. A little impish, seriously connected to a larger purpose and able to see into you in just one session, yup that’s what you will find with David. His background in knowing people and what makes them tick coupled with a skill of bringing you to your new unique edge while creating a safe reflective space for you to uncover blind spots you never knew were there is palatable. I encourage anyone looking for a new access to cracking open the things that hold you back to spend time with David. His compassion and commitment comes through in all of his interactions and adventures.”
Senior Software Developer
“I’ve been training with David for almost a year. He is excellent at programming routines that challenge me while taking into consideration my feedback. His holistic approach to training, mobility, and mental preparation has pushed me to climb at a higher level while avoiding injury.
In addition, I’ve watched David coach large group classes, and he gives plenty of individual focus to those who need variations or have questions while leading high-intensity, energizing classes
I would recommend David and CliffHanger Academy to anybody seeking to educate and push themselves in their fitness and mindset. David is incredibly knowledgable about mind-body performance in sports and work, and great at sharing his passion with clients.
“The first time I heard about the In the Wild Experience, was a time I really needed a boost in my self-confidence. I always heard I was good at this, or that, but I never really felt it. Since my experience with David, I’ve felt better both physically and emotionally. He really sees people for who they are, and truly cares about your wellbeing. His skills are unparalleled. He gets you to dive deep into yourself without even realizing, and you come out of his sessions feeling on top of the world. He pushes limits, to get that breakthrough and I couldn’t be happier we met. He’ll help you break down the walls you may have built up within yourself, body, mind & spirit. I encourage anyone who needs to get out of a rut, or make some sort of life change for the absolute best to meet, and with David! Kudos to you David & thank you, thank you, thank you!!”
“Revealing. Empowering. Inspiring. A needed experience for anyone who wants to have more focus and tap into their inner power, consistently and intentionally. David is a phenomenal coach. Highly recommend him.”
“I met David through a charity organization and was instantly drawn to his drive,energy, and desire to help humanity become the best version of themselves! I’ve trained with David in Muay Thai and rock climbing and was astonished by the parallels he draws using these sports. I was amazed how ‘letting go from the top of those rocks’ released some ‘real life fears of really trusting myself and the people around me’ or “punching and kicking Muay Thai moves” actually released tension built up from daily stress while also providing an intense workout.’ My training sessions included leadership coaching and educating me how to overcome my personal obstacles outside of the gym. The only questions I have now are ‘Have you signed up yet?’ and ‘What are you waiting for?’ Just go for it!”
Producer, Songwriter & Musician
“David is essentially an Encyclopedia of human wellness for both the body and mind. His background in psychology and leadership is evident in his dynamic and adaptive approach. During workouts, he is acutely aware of what is happening from a physiological standpoint and is able to adjust and adapt on the fly to whatever comes up. Additionally, David is a very strong communicator and always made me feel safe but challenged during our workouts. Beyond this, David is an inspiring, focused and accomplished individual who brings all of his knowledge and understanding to every session. With me, he has been totally open to talking about whatever has been on my mind in an open and supportive way. It has been an absolute privilege to work with David – quite simply put, it has profoundly changed my life. I am very lucky to have found such a prolific and adept coach and I look forward to continuing with him for a long time.”
Certified Energy Healer & Life Coach
“The first thing you notice about David is his heartfelt presence. From the first handshake to the session wrap-up, continuing into his thoughtful follow-up, you know that this man has your back 100%. He deeply cares. And he’s very effective. In our rock climbing session together, David was insightful, on purpose, and inspiring. He had me use my own past experiences of success to deal with the inherent challenges on the rock face, instead of just telling me what to do. The combination of internal reflection that he encouraged combined with me stretching my physical limits gave me surprising insights into how I’ve been limiting myself. I found was able to go for that final handhold when my forearms were on fire, and that has translated into the confidence to take my nascent business to its next level. Even a few weeks after our session together, I still use the experience to grow personally and make my business more efficient.I highly recommend David if you are ready to make a sustainable shift in your life.”
Director of Recruitment
“Life has a funny way of working…sometimes the people you need are put in your path at exactly the right time. I was connected to David through a friend, and meeting him was like a breath of fresh air. I had been feeling frustrated with certain aspects of my life, and he simply exuded positive vibes and good energy. We worked through a surfing session, and while the waves were tougher than I expected, the lesson/takeaway was extremely valuable. He helped put things into a perspective that I had not considered before. After our Into the Wild experience, I felt at ease yet determined, and ready to tackle my frustrations. I would encourage anyone looking to make a positive change in their lives to join David in one of his many experiences – his approach is unique and fun, and he’s just a phenomenal person to be around!
National Public Relations Director
“David is a wonderful trainer and coach. He has a deep understanding of the physiological aspects of exercise and the physical skills required for Muay Thai in terms of throwing punches, elbows, and kicks and the importance of a regimen before and after the work. In addition, and what makes David exceptional, is his understanding of the mental aspects connected to the physical exertion. In accordance with the Cliffhanger philosophy, David takes this connection a step further and compares it to life and personal goals. He encourages me to see that techniques learned to help conquer in physical combat can be used to help conquer daily life battles.”
CEO and Co-Founder
“I’m a rock climber for almost 20 years but only recently got serious about raising my performance level mentally and physically. David helped get to the new level and opened my eyes in terms of what is important and how to train most efficiently. I’m 43 years old and feel like I’ve never been stronger. It’s a great feeling that makes me very happy and excited about the stuff I’m still able to achieve.”
Senior Account Manager
“David is an excellent coach. He has a great balance between making you feel pushed to your limits and at the same time supported. We worked on strengthening specific areas and it worked very well. He also prepared my teenager for challenging a trip. He was able to motivate her in the way she was enjoying it, but at the same time she was pushed to her limits.”
Founding Senior Financial Advisor
“I went on a surfing adventure with David and my experience was second-to-none. He has this complete optimism that permeates him and those who are lucky enough to be around him. David’s unique brand of combining life re-affirming experiences with leadership training allowed me to learn by doing, rather than just talking about doing. Not only that, I found that David tailored the experience to me completely – which I thought added a lot of value. Everyone has different issues they are dealing with and different goals they are trying to achieve. Before we got together for our adventure, David really tried to understand what areas I was looking to target and modified the trip to focus on those areas accordingly. After the session, we had further discussions about what areas to focus on, what he observed, etc. In addition, David taught me lessons that I didn’t even realize I was looking to learn until I learned them! He is a master. I now consider him a friend and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”
Production Company Founder
“I had David come up to my studio in Connecticut to do a (three day) workshop based upon the principles that he believes in for a small group of fitness professionals and myself. It was an amazing experience as we delved into the components that drive success in every endeavor and habits that hamper your ability to bring about meaningful change. David is enthusiastic and a dedicated teacher who firmly believes in the change that can happen when we move into uncomfortable waters and the science is now bearing out his method as a game changer in emotional, mental and physical transformation!”
“David Mykel has been a key person in improving my life.”
Right away I was immediately impressed (and albeit envious) with his climbing ability, and physical capability, but more importantly; his incredibly positive outlook on any task set before him. Whenever I found myself having a bad day, I could always count on receiving either a text message or an email containing something to help me put aside thoughts creating a negative personal environment, throw on my try hard pants, and try to make the best of my day.Unfortunately, due to other factors in my life, I found myself completely letting go of my physical capabilities, forming bad habits, in turn causing negative self-loathing emotions, then followed by a lack of desire to stop the diminishing physical abilities. I lived my life like that for quite a while before I decided to do something about it. That is when David’s moral support and guidance really became an invaluable key to success. David was immediately available to provide moral support and incredible advice to turn my body and mind to what it is today. I was able to get rid of bad habits and transform my body and mental outlook into what it is today. I am 30 years old and in four and a half months I was able to drop 70lbs, and am in better shape today than I was at 19 years old as an active duty member of the United States Marine Corps. None of this was done with any unhealthy food deprivation, pills, or any other nonsense that I constantly see marketed to the average consumer. It was accomplished by turning every aspect of my life around, all at once, and without hesitation. I do not believe that without having David as an essential support, would I have been as successful as I was. Between the daily messages that acted as a simple yet effective pick-me-up’s, the priceless advice on nutrition and fitness, and blessed honor to call David my friend and have him available, the transformation has been incredible. I would without any hesitation, recommend David’s guidance for achieving the life goal that you have set for yourself. I am greatly looking forward to crushing routes on the rock in 2016, and whatever other adventures life puts in front of me with David.”
“I participated in my first Cliffhanger Academy class recently and found the experience to be very educational and inspirational. David’s instruction for achieving the mind-body connection helped me to understand the importance of making the connection for anyone looking to make serious long-term changes to their health, wealth or relationships. I learned that meditation is a fantastic way to gain mental clarity to be able to break away from everyday stress and focus on the “bigger picture.”
Movement Academy Founder
“I had a great experience with David during a (three day) Muay Thai camp. The program was well designed, physically challenging and mentally engaging. David’s focus and teaching style along with his positive attitude help you push past perceived barriers. I recommend CliffHanger Academy’s In the Wild experiences to anyone looking to bring balance to their training.”
“Highly recommend David as a life coach, trainer, mentor and all around incredible teacher who understands human behavior and development using his skills in Leadership Development while combining Psychology with Action Sports and Neuroscience. Working as an engineer, it’s difficult at times balancing life and work, and David has helped me curate and fix area in life that I may have been lacking at. Again I highly recommend cliffhanger academy to anyone who is in need for personal development.”
“David is an awesome coach and always uplifting to be around. He always maintains a positive attitude and outlook. He is an excellent motivator and pushes you without breaking you. David has helped me discover my potential, not only physically but mentally as well.”
Founder of Socialight Entertainment / The Outsiders
“CliffHanger Academy is truly unique because of it’s of physical activity approach to mental therapy, and the importance they place on the mind-body connection. There’s no way to successfully tackling the task of improving the condition of one without improving the other. No other program I’ve partaken in does both, that’s why I see so much value in the CliffHanger approach.”
“David tailored a great program to fit my personal goals. He pushed me in a manner that was >built on past progress,resulting in steady and unmistakable improvement. David is an experimenter and innovator and always looking to adapt what he learns to help his clients.
Kathrin H, Vice President
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better coach! David has been instrumental in achieving my climbing goals over the past few months! He is a truly inspirational person and motivated me even when I was stressed from work, trying to juggle work, personal life, and climbing goals. David always customized the experience to my personal needs and reset training methods as needed so that I continuously improved.”
“David has been so helpful in getting into a healthier lifestyle! There is an awesome balance of feeling pushed and supported. He really understands the connection between mind and body and applies that to training for a whole-body focus.”
“After my CliffHanger Academy In the Wild Muay Thai experience, I got to a higher level of clarity and higher level of listening with my clients.”
Certified Energy Healer & Life Coach
“When I started working with David, I wanted to more fully embody my power through Muay Thai. I was starting a business and feeling that I needed some solid support in facing some of the aspects of putting myself out there that were challenging to me, such as public speaking. David’s clear understanding of how one can face fearful places in themselves, through real embodied practices such as breathing, focusing on one thing at a time, and letting go of limiting beliefs were really effective for me. As a result of his support, I was able to give presentations and actually enjoy them! I continue working with him because I know that in challenging myself with his help, I am able to be more fully available to support my clients. Also, I am having a lot of fun in our sessions!”
“It was apparent that David is thoughtful and listens to his client’s goals. I was also inspired to work with David since I was drawn to his high level of stoke and his positive attitude.
I really appreciated that David truly tested my climbing fitness limits and would adapt to keep them challenging. David is an excellent teacher and was able to simply explain the complicated movements for any exercise. He even had the patience to deal with my impatience when I felt as though I was not progressing! David really taught me how to take pride in the small achievements along with my journey. Admittedly, I wasn’t in a good place mentally when I started working with David. I would actually consider that time in my life my ‘rock bottom’. He had the emotional intelligence to recognize that I was going through an internal struggle and was able to adapt workouts to help me get through the bad days. I don’t know if it was sheer luck or fate to have encountered David, but he unknowingly helped me through a time when I just felt ‘stuck’. I would 100% recommend him to others!”
“David is a great coach. He taught me to rock climb and was extremely motivating. I was exhausted and didn’t think I could make it, but he kept encouraging me to keep climbing until I finally reached the top. It is amazing what you can accomplish with that extra push.
Thank you sir!!!”
“Dave’s “train like you play” philosophy makes the classes both fun and effective! He makes sure everyone from the seasoned athlete to the newbie benefits from the mind-body workout. For anyone who worries they may not be able to keep up: don’t! Go try out a class, you’ll probably be back!”
Non-Profit Founder & Primate Activist
“David is one of the most energetic, enthusiastic, passionate individuals I know. His curiosity and desire to learn are unbounded. Every time he meets someone new, he engages them in finding out what drives them, what they are most excited about, what lessons they have to impart. He always seeks to master new endeavors. David takes everything head on – his professional career much like his extraordinary extreme sports – straight down the Black Diamond slope! The aspect I am most impressed with, though, and on which we really connected, is his commitment to volunteering, mentorship, and giving back.”
Youth Development Director
“David’s superpower is his ability to engage others. His time as a mentor was an empowering experience for the teens that he worked with and the adults he served alongside. Whether it’s teaching someone how to pop-up on a surfboard, or problem-solving to fix a damaged snowboard, David always approaches challenges with a smile and humility. I am a firm believer in the South African philosophy of ubuntu- sharing is a universal bond that connects us all. It speaks to our interconnectedness. David understands and embodies this. This was crucial for my students to see because it translated in David holding a safe space for them to learn, laugh, make mistakes and get back up and try again-together. I know that David’s passion for service, eye for detail, as well as problem-solving, public speaking and storytelling abilities will make him an asset to any team or project.”
“David is SO passionate about helping people have breakthroughs in their personal and professional life! His background provides such a strong foundation for making CliffHanger Academy so effective. I’d highly recommend him!
Non-Profit Operations Coordinator
“David is an inspiring and motivational leader in the New York City community. I worked directly with David and found his presence through volunteering to be incredibly helpful, positive and a refreshing jolt to the non-profit world. He is wonderful human and an even better member of the community! Thank you, David, for putting our future of NYC first and helping with everything!”
“I’ve known David Mykel for close to 20 years, the last few years as owner and founder of Cliffhanger Academy. David is extremely competent with a sincere desire to help others, in achieving both their personal and career goals. He is loyal, detail oriented and respectful, with a strong sense of direction and ethics. I give him and his company my sincere recommendations!”
President, Integra Workshops
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with David this past year and can safely say he is a gifted communicator and coach. He interacts well with my clients whether they are new recruits or seasoned C-level executives. He provides useful insights and is a quick study of the latest research and findings in productivity and neuroscience. Best of all, he’s passionate about sharing his experiences, training, and education to help others improve their lives.”
Founder & President
“He’s one of the humblest and most passionate-for-life guy I’ve ever come across. From the moment we met at church I knew there was something real about this gentleman, a transparent soul with a zeal for helping others. Over the years he’s continued to show selflessness and a desire to grow and help others, whether it be through mentoring, friendly advice, coaching (i.e. working out or outdoor activities), he’s always ready to provide himself as a service to others with great passion and energy. Just recently with a great surprise, I received a well-written lengthy email with a completely detailed, organized workout regime to help me break out of my typical daily routine. I’ve mentioned to him a few days ago how things were becoming dull and monotonous. I was not expecting this email at all and the fact that he took the time to sacrifice on my behalf to write up this awesome regime for me is a testimony to his kindness, generosity, and passion for doing what he loves most: helping others reach their own goals. He’s accomplished so much in a short matter of time and a well-rounded, highly gifted man. From the way he articulates his speech, to his workout skills or his interesting life stories, it’s never a dull moment around David. This is a real down-to-earth soul, with high energy and others-focused heart. From the minute you meet him, you’ll understand in a click that you’ve found a new friend and partner. A great encourager as well!”
“David demonstrates passion, persistence, and motivation to make things happen. I see these qualities in him in his daily life and activities. He is always the planner, the facilitator, the organizer. David makes things happen, while most others are just sitting there, thinking about what to do.”
Senior Graphic Designer
“Every successful outfit, regardless of market, has within its ranks “the person to-go-to.” This individual possesses the characteristics of being approachable, reliable, knowledgeable of his field, and most important has a keen understanding of the dynamics of problem-solving. In my opinion, David Mykel is “the person to-go-to” and a major asset to any successful company.”
Art & Design Director
“Having worked with David over a year I found him a consummate professional in all aspects of his work. He applied himself to his work with a passion I wish I possessed. Not overbearing or condescending but a true team player willing to get his hands dirty as well as staying late to ensure work was complete and correct as possible. Continuing his education and sharing that knowledge was also part of his persona.
While great to work with, he applied an equal passion to work/life balance. Physically fit and devoted to helping others in his free time, he is a great example of how to live one’s life.
I would highly recommend him for any position he aspires to. Aspires to be key to that sentence, as he is always striving to better himself in work and life. I would gladly work with him again, and consider him a personal friend.”
Wellness Consulting Owner
“David and I were first introduced at the climbing gym, as we both share a passion for rock climbing, but I soon found out he’s also a gifted story teller, networker, and avid outdoorsman. David uses his experience as a communicator and his passions for action sports to make a HUGE difference in the lives of those less fortunate, whether they be at-risk youth or adults with special needs. Combine this with his natural leadership skills and ambition, and you have a winning recipe for success at any level.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know David, and his Community Outreach/PR work over the past year plus and I will say that he is truly passionate about what he does. With a focus on using action sports and the outdoors, David helps transform children and those with disabilities’ lives in order to uplift and inspire. A true steward to his cause, a natural networker and unmatched drive, David is an asset to any project that comes his way.”
“A savvy, broadly talented individual with a knack for making things successful. His drive and energy captivate a project leading to solid end results. Ambitious and driven, David is a bonus to any organization with a real drive to be their best.”
Institutional Sales Professional
“David has a unique ability to tell a captivating story and also motivate and inspire his audience to action.”
*All images are from CliffHanger Academy Experiences © 2005-2018 David Mykel
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