Today I had lunch with a man that spoke of great wisdom and someone I would proudly call a new friend. “Why do I care?” you ask. Well, because I found myself learning a lesson that I think we all need to remember. After getting caught up some as to what was happening in our lives these days, he kept telling me, “You don’t need to be perfect.” My response was always, “Yes, I know. I just do my best for that day.” As we continued our talk and I confessed my current sense of drowning in a life without balance, he continued to state…”You don’t need to be perfect.” My response continued to be the same, but I began to wonder…was I not making any sense when I was speaking? It definitely wouldn't be the first time! As usual, the constant auto-replay of this ADHD brain brought me to pure realization. I was lying. I was lying to myself every day, and had been for months now. I wasn’t just trying to give my best for that day. I was pushing to be perfect without even realizing it. At everything. To the point that I feel so stretched and I am failing at it all! And yet a stranger that knew nothing of me suddenly knew me better than I had known myself for months. A person can only be perfect at being imperfect. Nothing more. Nothing less. It’s time to stop beating ourselves up. Make time to reward ourselves for our awesomeness. It’s time to find balance once more. We don’t have to do it all. We want to, but that doesn’t mean we should kill ourselves trying to. As my new friend reminded me, "You still have plenty of time." So take a breath. Relax your overly tensed and stressed body. And be what you are meant to be! Perfectly Imperfect.
So what the heck is so important about being a Storm Chaser that is not afraid to step outside of their comfort zone? A lot actually. There are several studies that prove things such as:
1. Stepping outside of your comfort zone builds confidence.
2. It helps make you more flexible to handle whatever comes your way.
3. Stepping outside of your comfort zone helps push you to perform at your peak by constantly challenging yourself.
4. By taking risks, it helps us grow emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
5. Trying new things can help increase your creative side.
6. Believe it or not, embracing new challenges can also help us age better.
Yes, there are many studies that will tell you similar things, and you will most likely be fascinated with inkling to possibly try. But what’s the point in reading studies if you’re not willing to experience it for yourself?
Since Chasing Stormi has started, not only have I faced my own challenges that make me uncomfortable, but I have also grown emotionally, mentally, and physically. I do find myself to be more flexible and open to new things. I have also discovered that I am better at a lot of things I would have never have tried before. Most importantly I am learning a crazy amount of things that I never knew even existed!
I have met a photographer that was supposed to just be a one-time deal with Laughter Loves Photography, and instead gained a friend for life. By doing Yoga with Cats I learned there was so much more to the world of blogging than I could have ever thought was possible! And now I join Tabitha Philen with her Inspired Bloggers University and have gained lifetime skills to not only help me be a better blogger for you, but also to help keep me organized in my day to day life! Unfortunately, with so much school and work I am slow to get going in the game, but did you know that you can build more traffic from Pintrest than Facebook? Who knew?! I can't WAIT to see what else there is to discover in her classes! By taking yoga with Sue I ended up in Belize for a week with a whole new second family of 15! Each adventure not only helps me grow as a person, but it also helps to grow my close circle of friends that support me 100% whether I’m bragging about getting an A in my college class, or struggling to keep my head above water.
Do the studies really hold merit? YES! Is it worth getting a little uncomfortable from time to time? YES! Will life always be as exciting as it is in the baby stage of Chasing Stormi? YES! Because no matter what I will continue to be overwhelmed with new knowledge, finding so many amazing new friends, and seeing the change for the better in myself. So tell me…Are you ready to get comfortable yet?!
Have you ever felt like a tiny person in an enormous and engulfing world? It seems like that’s all I feel as I stagger through this new career that I fell into and wonder if my perfectionism will survive. Whether if it’s Chasing Stormi LLC, or the marketing business in general, I am constantly in awe of how much information there is to know! Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I don’t know what to do with myself other than have a panic attack. In fact, I believe that this is my biggest uncomfortable zone I have with at least three more years of trying to find my feet left to go.
Not only has school been a whirlwind of education, but there was a lot more to being in the business of attempting to encourage and inspire as you travel down your own path. I truly believe that I have learned more in the last eight months than my head can possibly hold! So what do you do with so much knowledge in an unknown path? You learn to get comfortable with being tiny….
Those panic attacks will always be there. They will sneak up on you without any warning and you will have to fight to gain breath and calm once more. But we are Storm Chasers! We chase the storm, not get swallowed by it. If Stewart Little and the Borrowers taught us nothing else it’s that being tiny is nothing at all! It makes us more creative when it comes to getting around and dealing with the engulfing world that we are living in, and who says that’s a bad thing?! Just because you feel tiny doesn’t mean that your heart, ideas, or personality could POSSIBLY be tiny at all! So be tiny. Get Lost. Get uncomfortable.
2016 brought on new life lessons, more grand adventures, new friends, a second family, and more confidence and love for who I am. Although there were struggles, this has proven to be my best year yet! I can only imagine what 2017 holds.
What I Learned in 2016
1. Tribes aren’t always worth joining.
2. When you put yourself out there, you can end up finding a second family that has the potential to bring a happy ending to all you’ve been through.
3. If something or someone isn’t right for you, then set it free.
4. Although fear can try to paralyze you, when you’re surrounded by good people you can conquer most anything!
5. Don’t be afraid to face your challenge your own way, whether it’s bear crawling, butt scooting, or whatever.
6. Termites taste like mints.
7. Hanging out with the locals of another country can change your world. Jaguars and all!
8. Being single in the 21st Century is a journey in itself.
9. Working with Laughter Loves Photography gets better every session.
10. I’m not the only one that suffers from GLCS.
11. Tiny teachers introduce us to great things.
12. When four fabulous women get together, they can conquer tasks, like diffusing bombs, like no body’s business!
13. Although I don’t think I will be jumping out of a plane any time soon, but my good friend, Jeremy Struemph, taught me how to soar!
14. Call me what you will, but this girl knows what she wants and what she deserves. Anything less is unacceptable.
15. Being a super hero is even cooler than seeing one on the big screen.
16. Yoga is great fun when kitties join you.
17. A table for one may be just what you need to discover who you really are.
18. Occasionally you have to look at life from a different angle.
19. I am more skilled than I originally thought.
20. You don’t need to chase friendships any more than happiness. When you live true to yourself, these things find you.
21. Second chances can lead to great things and awesome people.
22. It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments even if others never get it.
23. Old friends and new friends equal in awesomeness.
24. When you’re weak don’t hesitate to lean on loved ones. Also, don’t hesitate to have faith in yourself because in reality you’re doing just fine! Because that’s what Storm Chasing is all about!
It’s funny how many times we find ourselves starting over in a single lifetime. Most of the time not even from our own doing. I know I haven’t gotten to write in a while, and I can’t remember the last time I had the opportunity to go on an adventure. However, I did want you to know that I continue to step outside of my comfort zone to see where life takes me. Summer school pushed me to a new limit, and two months ago I inherited a job duty that was a pure guessing game that I couldn’t seem to guess quite right. So after two months of struggling, stating continuously that I needed better training, and didn’t know how to fix what I was doing wrong because I didn’t even know what it was I was doing wrong I grew incredibly ill.
What cancer had invaded my life to make me so sick yet again? I cut off some inches of my hair hoping to remove some of the weight that was keeping me cemented to the bottom of the ocean floor unable to breathe. Unfortunately, although it did help with my headaches it didn’t help me with my heavy heart. It was clear what was wrong. My work environment was becoming more hostile every day and no matter how hard I tried my best wasn’t ever good enough. Mama bear came to the rescue with her ongoing wise advice yet again. “One breath, one step, one day at a time, baby….You have already walked through the fire, this is just a little heat from the backdraft.” Another friend reminded me that I was too valuable to be taken advantage of or made victim of. There had already been enough of that to last a life time.
So I pushed aside my desire to not rock the boat and looked the boss man in the eyes stating for the hundredth time that I needed better training and was doing the best I could with the tools I was given. I have never been called unprofessional in my life, and this man uttered that word 27 times in less than 24 hours. I was also told I wasn’t taking accountability for my inability to do my job correctly. In my head I hear Lana from Archer say, “nnnnoooopppppeeee.” And just like that I had no job. At 36 I was on the hunt for a new job and trying to collect my self-confidence and worth once more.
Luckily there were plenty of people that were excited to have me as an employee. Things are tight, of course, due to being in between paychecks, but it’s worth digging for change in my couch cushion knowing that I am no longer overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, or a victim. However, something unexpected happened. Yes, I found a new job. Yes, I am already feeling better and making new friends. Yes, I was beaten down to the point of illness and inability to function. But what I wasn’t expecting was how quickly I bounced back. It did not take so long to find my worth. It took zero seconds to not regret standing up for myself. I have been stepping outside of my comfort zone and developed a brand that I couldn’t be more proud of that it was easy to find myself at peace quickly and getting back to loving myself like I deserve. So a project that was started to simply help get me through my divorce and change my ongoing unsuccessful path has become my new life line.
I’m winding down as I work towards finishing my AAS at JCCC. I also found that I have an ability to go even further than expected once I transfer to Park University. I will never stop writing and sharing my experiences with you. They might not be regularly as I would like, but I am not leaving you even as my life seems to be getting crazier and crazier until I finish school. I am here for you and will never be giving up on you. Don’t worry; we will be adventuring together sooner than later! So if you feel like stepping outside of your comfort zone is just a silly adventure to spend your extra time on, know that it does make a difference, especially the more you stick with it. You will bounce back faster. You will find your self-worth faster no matter who tries to take it from you. You will appreciate yourself and all the amazingness you have to offer. So isn’t that worth getting a little uncomfortable?....
I had gone through summer school before; however, this was a more challenging summer semester. I was trying to conquer accounting which has always been a subject that I have struggled with. Business Law was actually interesting, but I spent my whole 4th of July weekend missing family and friends as I continued to try and tackle 11 very long chapters, and I did an internship that wasn’t the growing experience it was supposed to be. How the heck did my friends who had families, worked full-time, and attended school full-time stay sane while getting their BA, MA, or even Doctrine? Granted, I typically work a minimum of 45-50 hours a week in a very stressful setting, but I was only going part-time and I was still dying! I’ll admit that next semester scares me even more because I will have to bump it up to three classes, and I’m not sure I am truly capable. School is harder with medication to slow this ADHD brain down, and they help to make it impossible to truly remember anything. Anxiety fills my mind with the fear that people will expect me to be an expert right out of the gate once I have that piece of paper that says I know what I’m doing. I’m just not 22 anymore. I really do require some sleep. I felt like I was drowning and didn’t know which end was up!
Then a good friend reminded me of something that I always seem to forget. She said, “Breathe….Life is stressful. It always will be. We will never be able to remove all anxiety and stress completely.” We just have to get used to being “uncomfortable” like we do with our adventures.
School is scary, especially as an adult going down an unpredictable path. However, I’m lucky enough to have all my friends and Storm Chasers to help me push through when times are tough and dance with me when final grades come in, and I’m a semester closer. This has been a challenge that has brought excitement, anxiety, and even tears, but that’s what makes life worth living.
Although I don’t get to see Nana as much as I would like, her encouraging phone conversations put my heart at ease. She never misses the opportunity to tell me how proud she is of me which is only a small reason why I love her so much. I have seen no friends really, but they make sure to keep me posted, send me encouragement, and make me laugh when I’m frustrated. Love is beyond the size of space. It surrounds you by putting people in your path to remind you that it exists every day. Even people that you never thought would be in your life again and yet are here and starting fresh making life a little nicer in general.
As I filled out my end of the semester class evaluations it felt only fitting that I do my OWN evaluation and see where I was standing these days….So it’s been a year and a half at this point and I am LOVING Chasing Stormi! Still single and enjoying the quiet satisfaction of being comfortable with myself. I have tried several things, learned new stuff, and met some really great people along the way. Heck! I even got on a plane to go to a random country and meet 15 complete strangers! I’ve found out that I am better at more things than I originally thought. And I’m living life a little more fully. Needless to say, I’d like to believe that I’ve come a long way….
1. I have learned that anxiety can heighten your success level. Being slightly uncomfortable can help you achieve goals that you never thought you could. But it’s also good to be able to take a break from stepping outside of your comfort zone and step back into it in order to decompress and fully enjoy what you have just accomplished. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day off to spend time with yourself in the comfort of your own home to relax. After all, we don’t have to save the day EVERY day…
2. If we challenge ourselves, we tend to succeed. I became Chasing Stormi in order to challenge myself and I really have had the time of my life! With each new adventure, not only do I get to meet new people and try new things, but my self-confidence increases and I find it’s more preferable to be challenged then it is to constantly hang out in my comfort zone.
3. They say taking risks help us grow. It’s quite remarkable watching kids have no fear and willing to experiment and try new things without a care in the world, yet when we are adults the fear of failure cripples us into stepping outside the cocoon of a comfort zone we have built for ourselves in order to not face failure. I have learned that I definitely don’t master everything I try. But I also don’t beat myself up every time I fail despite the perfectionist in me. I have actually caught myself not necessarily focusing on just achieving the actual task at hand, but enjoying the journey so that I can be proud no matter the outcome.
4. They say stepping out of your comfort zone even once will ensure that you will most likely do it again. Nothing could have been more true for me. In fact, my adventures are getting grander the longer I go! It can also spark your inner creativity. With a brain that is deadened by medication, even I have noticed my creative side is showing attendance once more.
5. Continually expanding your comfort zone will help you age more successfully. With the constant learning and trying of new things, I have actually found that this ADHD brain is getting better at focusing even when the medication doesn’t succeed all the time. I look forward to living life to its fullest, and I am definitely more open to trying new things.
6. Although it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone, it’s still good to be in it from time to time. If we are constantly pushing our limits to the max and then we will never perform at our best. Even though I enjoy trying new things I typically take a couple of days off to decompress in between. If I don’t recharge my batteries with down time and relaxation then I stop functioning well. I also know that there are certain things that I will still never be able to do simply because they cause me too much stress. So even though I was able to go snorkeling, scuba diving will not be happening. I will never swim in a cage surrounded by sharks along with a few other things. So although I push myself to try new things, I also know that I have hard limits that would reverse the effects of my current loving adventure. I want to grow. Not become more afraid because I’m pushing myself even beyond safety boundaries for myself.
So yes, I can honestly say that I have changed during this process, but only for the better! Sometimes it really is okay to color outside the lines even if your perfectionist brain screams otherwise. It’s good to challenge ourselves and keep our minds young. It’s good to become flexible and feel you can take on whatever is thrown at you without shrinking in fear and hiding. It’s more beneficial to step out of our comfort zones occasionally instead of building a bunker and refusing to leave. Look at me! I have more friends. Old ones are more cherished. Life is less bleak and uncertain. I’m more ready to take on whatever is thrown at me. I’m also completely at ease with myself and know that I deserve only the best. And the main person I work to please is me. So if I had to score myself I would say “Extremely Satisfied” with so much more to come! So go on. Step outside of your comfort zone and see what benefits come to you!
This was my second year walking in the Just Be You Walk for Autism, benefiting the Autism Society of the Heartland at KU Edwards Campus. I became a participant last year due to my little man, Noah. I was originally hired to teach everyone in the family sign language because Noah wasn’t able to speak. However, during our first lesson I quickly learned Noah wouldn’t settle for just signing. He was determined to talk. And a few months after working with him, he was doing just that! Even though the family didn’t need me anymore, we still stay in touch and I get to see the kids from time to time. So this is my favorite walk because I get to walk with them!
Yes, Team Noah represents just a small portion of Noah’s special qualities. He may be shy and need to go at his own pace, but he will hug you in his special way. He isn’t capable of vindictive thoughts or actions. And as I’ve watched Noah sit on the floor, rock, and stare at the lights, I thought, “Why can’t we be more like Noah?” Why can’t we be content with the simple things? Why can’t we know only love and share it with others? This little man is so smart! I’m pretty sure he’s smarter than me. It’s just a matter of tapping into it all. I was so blown away listening to him sing the National anthem before the walk. I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. Yes, this little man is going to change the world.
Noah isn’t the only tiny teacher in this family. His little sister, my little chipmunk, went from booth to booth during the walkathon and either made something for her big brother or got two of everything so he could have one, too. Her compassion is an inspiration to all. Even though she’s the little sister, she knows her brother is very special and helps him move throughout crowds and encourages him to try new things. They are inseparable.
I love spending time with this family because they truly help me put the world into perspective. They remind me of the person I want to be. They remind me of how strong love is.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone doesn’t mean just trying a new adventure, experimenting with new food choices, or even letting your guard down to make new friends. Sometimes it means opening up your heart to love even though it was destroyed in the past. Life is scary in general. It’s more scary when you find someone that you connect with instantly. To let your heart be vulnerable. To let someone in completely without the promise that you won’t get hurt in the end. But are we really living life to the fullest if we keep a guard up while missing the best thing that could possibly ever happen to us?
You may feel the need to run. You may wake up with a full on panic attack unable to breathe because you’re scared of what could be. Maybe you realize that you like someone more than you should and it terrifies you to the bone. But is it worth hurting others, keeping your guard up because you’re scared, and missing out on something extraordinary because it’s outside of our comfort zone?
We all have choices. We can have faith that people cross our paths for a reason and jump towards the most amazing thing ever, or we can put our guard up and basically run because we’re too scared of an ending that might never come. There will always be other factors. Maybe even loved ones that come as a part of the package. However, people surprise us every day. Faith can truly be our best friend and our saving grace.
Is it a life worth living if we are too scared to try actually living it? Could you get hurt again in the end? Yes. It’s always a possibility. But there’s a possibility that that hurt will never come as well. Is the scariest part that you won’t be able to pick up the pieces of a broken heart? History has already proven that you can. You wouldn’t be here if you couldn’t. It’s not easy by any means. It definitely takes time. But sometimes someone comes into your life to make you see all of the positive possibilities, and it’s these people that you should hold on tight to and never let go.
There are worse things to be scared of. Battling a deathly illness. Losing a loved one. Being sent off to war. Losing your life by the hands of another. All extreme cases, but the point remains the same. Is it such a bad thing to be scared of love and see where it takes us when compared to all other disasters going on in the world? We all have choices. The question is which one are you going to make?....
Someone once told me that flooded memories of what once was meant that your brain was showing you how far you have come. Well, with the one year anniversary of my freedom looming just around the corner, apparently my brain wanted to reflect once more. These last couple of days have been rough, I’m not going to lie. Then a good friend reminded me what I know to be true. My toxic five and a half years wasn’t going to define me. Only I could label myself. And so a brand was born.
So if we’re going to look at how far we’ve come, yes I said we because you have been with me this whole time, then we’re going to do it right. Go big or go home, baby! What has this last year brought us? We stepped outside of our comfort zone and began trying random new things. We made a lot of friends along the way. We found out what we were good at and what we were probably not repeating. Heck! We even got on a plane, flew to a foreign country, and met what was at first 15 strangers to do yoga. Who does that?! Certainly not this girl! As a planner by nature, I had to fight my fears and need for control and embrace the unknown to try something different. I did no homework. I made no plans. Luckily the company that we went with took care of everything.
I looked only at the suggested pack list and loaded my trusty nap sack. It wasn’t until a few days before leaving that I began to get nervous. Had I lost my mind? What if everyone backed out and I was left alone in a country I knew nothing about? What if I couldn’t find the freaking cowboy hat?!! All of those “I can’t believe you’re doing this…” and “Do you even know what you have gotten yourself into?...” lectures swirled in my head.
I resolved that I could surely figure it out. I always do. I am a survivor! And wasn’t this what being single was all about? No strings, no commitments, nothing holding me back from the adventures ahead?
I faced my fear of heights as I climbed to the top of the tallest Mayan temple. I even went snorkeling and ate a bug, which I promise you was on my “Not until hell freezes over and then some” list.
So what has this year of freedom brought? Self-knowing. Trust. Adventure. Awkwardness. Excitement. Peace. Friendship. Love for myself. Flexibility. Happiness. Struggle. Independence. Freedom. Satisfaction, and so much more! This anniversary is going to be a celebration like it deserves to be.