Taking Action

James Thorpe ‘06 is a self-proclaimed “jack of all trades, master of none.” He loves weight training, landscaping, basketball, golf, painting, guitar, cooking, baking and cycling.

“Lately, I’m obsessed with longevity and health. But tomorrow? Who knows?” James said. “I love being in the early stages of something ... the stage where I stink at what I'm doing. It's all curiosity, failure and learning. I think a successful person is one who is curious and humble.”

Most recently, James has written a book, Do...More Than You Think. After receiving hundreds of rejections from agents and publishing companies, James decided to register his own LLC publishing company and publish the book himself through Amazon.

“I'm so happy I went through that process, and now have some valuable skills and confidence to move forward with any future projects,” James said. He wrote this book after noticing himself and others constantly waiting, wondering and worrying about following their own passions.

“It's a really sad phenomenon to me,” he added. “I think many of us follow societal norms, checking certain boxes, and then find ourselves at 30, 40, 50 years old wondering 'How did I get here?' or 'Did I truly decide to be here?’”

At Colby-Sawyer, James was an English major with a certification in education. He learned how to use language to articulate his thoughts, help structure projects and guide others. This foundation helped him in the classroom, where he taught after college, and helped him tackle a project like writing a book. James credits many CSC professors with his success, including Tom Kealy, Ann Page Stecker, Christine Potter, Pat Anderson and David Elliot. It was through their classes that he learned how to analyze literature and grasp language with a deeper understanding.

“It was deep, challenging and hard work,” he said. “But it was fun! I remember many laughs and smiles up in those creaky, carpeted classrooms of Colgate Hall.”

After graduation, James began teaching high school English and coaching basketball. When James’s daughter, Matilda, was born, he noticed a shift in his life. Between teaching, coaching, parenting and running a small landscaping business, he was feeling burnt out. He wanted to figure out a way to be home with Matilda, so he walked away from teaching and dove into his personal fitness business, ELEVEN12. The flexibility allowed him to be the type of dad he wanted to be.

“I'm all-in, and loving every stage,” he said.

This refocusing made James notice how a shift in language can often skew the truth about us. He caught himself saying things that he wanted to do or might do. He heard other people talking about what they believe in or how they feel. James began to explore the idea that if we want to know the truth about ourselves and others, we must also study our actions. Saying you believe in something is one thing, James said, but we often find more truth in examining what we actually do. That concept became the focus of his book.

“I hope that in some way, my message of Do...More Than You Think will resonate with readers and encourage them to take action on their own core desires,” he said.