Sun Sessions, #heartbeatpants, and intense gratitude.

Holy smokes, you guys. Talk about radio silence. Note, I started that last sentence with “sorry for” but I’m working on not apologizing for everything all the time, so now I’m just declaring radio silence. Sweet.

Remember when we talked about emotional hangovers? Right. Totally in the thick of one of those right now.

We wrapped up Sun Sessions: Oceanside yesterday and all I can really say is this:

holy. fucking. shit.

I’m going to be processing this for a bit, but I can tell you this much: starting Planet Green Socks was absolutely 100% a good decision.

If you haven’t seen them already, you can check out our Day 1 Recap here and our Day 2/3 Recap here. Overall, the event was a smashing success, even though Mother Nature had it out for us with a couple late starts and one completely worthless jumping day.

When I woke up on Friday morning, it was a completely foreign feeling. Normally, on the morning of an event, I would be a bit nervous, if not completely gutted with anxiety. I want SO badly for the events I put on to be epic and amazing for everyone, which duh, is completely natural. And if anything, I’d say I’m even more driven to make sure events are flawless now that it’s my company on the line. But in all honesty, I wasn’t nervous. Ryan was staying with us for the duration of the event. We first started toying with the idea to put together a camp and take it around the country in September, and we had been in near-constant communication since I quit my job and started Planet Green Socks.

We were prepared. I have an awesome team. All of the ducks were in a row, and there was absolutely nothing to worry about, even with the clouds trying to threaten our good time. We stopped for coffee, hit the road, realized we were wicked early, stopped for more coffee, and then went to the DZ.

First of all, real talk, I was super nervous about the idea of including jump tickets in the registration fee. I was worried because, on the surface, it looks like this camp is ridiculously expensive. Most skydiving events are anywhere from free to $200-300 before jumps, so to ask for $550 up front was a bit worrisome.

But you know what? Working with Tsunami Skydivers of Oceanside was a breeze. We agreed that I’d close out the balance for the jumps made at the end of each day, and as a result, the check-in process in the office on the first day was effortless. Fill out a waiver, get your gear checked, and be on your way. We had 23 people in and out of the office in 15 minutes, ready to go to the briefing. No checking account balances, no worrying about putting money on account at the beginning of the day, no leaving a credit card in the office. It was already sorted out, and I think that set a really nice tone for the day. Once the last load took off, we settled up and I was out of Rich and Kristine’s hair. So easy!

As everyone was milling about after the briefing and waiting for load one, I started to feel pretty much all of the feelings:

Proud, if that’s even appropriate, because watching Ryan, Andy, and Mike do their thing and be their awesome selves was inspiring to watch. I know I had nothing to do with their development as coaches, but I couldn’t help but be stoked for the participants, as I knew they were in extremely good (not to mention, world-class) hands.

Grateful to have the opportunity to bring these people together in a fun, safe, and respectful learning environment.

SUPER STOKED because it was already going so well, and we hadn’t jumped yet.

And of course, a feeling that I can’t really put into words. As load one loaded up and taxied to the runway, I was waving and blowing kisses (no shit, just like my Grandma would do) to the jumpers at the door. As the load took off, I swear I got some non-existent Oceanside dust in my eye, because I had a little moment.

It was happening. What started as a loose idea on a picnic table four years ago was actually happening. It had blossomed into this very moment – watching a plane full of awesome humans take off for the first jump of our first event. This wasn’t just an idea, a website, a PayPal screen, or an event registration list anymore. This was the real deal. And as I stood there in my unicorn hat, clutching my green clipboard, I just watched the plane until I couldn’t see it anymore and soaked it all in.

10:31 AM on February 20, 2015. A moment I will never, ever, ever forget.
10:31 AM on February 20, 2015. A moment I will never, ever, ever forget.

That feeling, whatever you want to call it, was exactly what I’ve been chasing all these years. To see dreams realized, goals on their way to being achieved, and creating an environment for people to hopefully be able to experience the same thing.

It was so rad to meet people from drop zones all over the country, people I might not otherwise have the chance to meet. I was inspired by their progress, their excitement, and all of the good vibes.

I saw something on Facebook last night about how some status updates read like Oscar acceptance speeches. I giggled because after any event that I’m a part of, I vomit gratitude like I’ve got food poisoning. Totally guilty.

I’m not going to stop with the gratitude though, so I’ll share it here:

  • To our participants: I can’t put it into words, but you guys actually, legitimately mean the world to me. Your energy is awesome. Your jokes and comments were hilarious and your progress was inspiring. You guys are the reason I get to wake up and do what I do every day, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I can’t wait to see you at future PGS events. Thank you for being here, for bringing the energy, and for keeping things safe and rad. #calmitdown #heartbeatpants
  • To the coaches – Ryan, Andy, and Mike: You guys are my heroes. I could watch you coach people all day every day, and I would do so gladly. Thank you for your rockstar coaching and flying skills, your patience as we got things rolling, your contagious enthusiasm for what we’re building, and for your guidance as we get Sun Sessions off the ground. Working with you guys is an absolute dream and I’m so thankful to have you guys as a part of the team. WATCH OUT, WORLD! :)
  • To our hosts, Rich and Kristine Grimm (and the Oceanside team): Thank you for taking a chance on us and letting us come take over your drop zone for a weekend. Your approach to how you do business is refreshing, your cooperation with our antics was very much appreciated, and your willingness to do whatever it took to make the camp keep going is something that definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Most of all, thank you for the words of encouragement and guidance as the camp progressed. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off this event series, and I know we all look forward to coming back to Oceanside very, very soon. BIG HUGS!
  • To my husband, Barry: I fucking love you, Mr. Williams. Seriously. None of this would be possible without your support, encouragement, and understanding. Thank you for being you, for believing in this dream, and supporting it 110%. It’s been a long road to get here, and I’m so grateful to have you by my side for every single moment of it.
  • To my BFF Katherine: Your brownies are melty and delicious, and beyond the support you provided at Sun Sessions, thank you for being my Boss Lady Partner in Crime. It’s so much fun experiencing all of these changes together as we both carve out our own path in the world. Love you, SB.
  • To everyone who texted, emailed, called, sent FB messages, virtual high-fives, etc: Your support means the world to me. Thank you for cheering me on, sharing the love, and spreading the word about Planet Green Socks. I might not always reply super speedy like, but know that I see everything you send and it keeps me going. You guys are amazing.

And of course, I’m sending a lot of love to Adam and his family. I know he was keeping an eye on this event this weekend, and I think we did his legacy proud. Hey sir, let’s work on strengthening a relationship with Mother Nature, shall we? :)

So thankful. So emotionally hungover. And so fired up about the future of Planet Green Socks. WOOP WOOP!

 

Day 36: New chapters, running shoes, parades, and finding strength.

I didn’t go to yoga today, so I didn’t cry at yoga today. But, once again, Kate’s wisdom popped into my inbox this morning and I’ve been sitting on this all day.

In short, we need to stop skipping over the hard stuff.

I touched on this earlier this year, and this idea keeps presenting itself in the different exercises, challenges, and self-reflecting I’m doing.

Kate put it beautifully: This is my truth: My own life has been an evolution into my darkness, that has resulted in a revolution into my own light.”

Let that sit for a minute.

When shit gets tough, how do you deal with it? Do you ignore it? Run away? Focus on setting goals and making lists and finding more affirmations?

I’ve done all of the above, and at times, my strategy has been to run far, far away from the hard stuff. Because starting over was less threatening than looking inside and seeing what the fuck I was doing and how I got myself into these situations in the first place.

I can talk myself into or out of anything, which is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes, my “new chapters” were just that, new chapters – new opportunities that I’d be stupid not to pursue. Sometimes, I’d frame my running away as a new chapter. And sometimes those lines were really, really blurry.

Some highlights of running away and/or new chapters:

  • 2005 New Chapter: Moving to Florida with my family in the middle of spring semester, sophomore year, when I was still going to KU. I was running away from a horrible breakup (you know how horrible these things are when you’re 19), but this turned out to be epic for my education and being able to put myself through school. And hello, NO MORE SNOW!
  • 2009 New Chapter: Moving to Chicago to pursue my career in agency PR. This one was a legit new chapter, but my friends who didn’t understand said I was running away from Florida, and that I should have stuck around to wait for an opportunity closer to home.
  • 2010 New Chapter: Moving to Austin to start at WCG and skydive more, make more money, and do more work I loved. This was a legit new chapter with the back story that I really really wanted to be closer to Barry and he was supposed to be going to Spaceland for the winter and I wanted to have employment options in the event that he wanted me to come with him. Then he had neck surgery, didn’t go to Spaceland, and I moved to Texas anyway.
  • 2011 New Chapter: Moving back to Illinois to work at the DZ I started skydiving at. Legit new chapter, unless you were one of the people who said I was “throwing away” a “promising career” for something that “sounded more like an obsession than a job” – man that was a lot of air quotes.
  • 2011 New Chapter: Moving to SoCal. Legit new chapter, all the way. Year-round employment (not all that common in the skydiving industry), promises of 4-way greatness, and duh, hello, California.
  • 2015 New Chapter: Starting Planet Green Socks.

It’s so easy to parade around and say affirmations and seek the silver lining and project boundless optimism to the world. Actually, scratch that. Doing the work to get to a place where you can be all of that, all the time is hard work, no doubt. And happiness is most definitely a choice. And we most definitely have control over how we react to the things that are out of our control. We’re all in this together, this whole journey that is life. We aren’t really all that different. We can draw inspiration and insight from how other people handle the hard stuff. BUT, if the parade is what is seen, how do we get to learn how to do the work? If the parade is the new default, how can anyone relate to that? The parade is not the easy, natural choice. Pity parties are way easier than parades, but equally annoying in large doses.

Real talk: I left Illinois to move to California in 2011, and every once in awhile, I wonder if I made the right decision. Should I have stuck it out and figured out a way to stay in Illinois during the winter? Should I have tried to figure out how to do the “chasing the sunshine” routine that a lot of seasonal skydiving instructors do? Did I let some of the stuff that happened that season get to me? Was I running away to California?

I don’t think so. Well, I was running, yes. Actually, I was sprinting. But I was sprinting TO California, and all that it promised, not running AWAY from Illinois. And I think there is a distinct difference.

When I gave notice at Skydive Elsinore, part of me felt like I was running, as the situation presented itself much like it did when I left Illinois.

It was mid-November, I had been through some serious tough stuff in 2014, and the timing just felt right to make the next step. I knew that leaving at the end of the year would make the most sense. I didn’t want to delay the inevitable and leave right before a huge event. At least this way, they’d have plenty of time to figure out what they wanted to do, and I could do my best to transition my work as efficiently as possible. Was I running away? Could I have made decisions differently and stayed there? Shit was getting hard, I was immensely unhappy. Was I bolting as soon as it got hard or did I give myself adequate time to try to sort it out?

Was my willingness to “throw away” the “dream job” in pursuit of something totally unknown ballsy, courageous, or crazy? Was this me finding my strength or was this me finding a new pair of running shoes?

“I’ve never met a woman who is not strong, but sometimes they don’t let it out. Then there’s a tragedy, and then all of a sudden that strength comes. My message is let the strength come out before the tragedy.” – Diane von Furstenberg

Six months ago today, I sat in a chair at the salon I go to and explained to my stylist, still very numb, what happened to Adam. She was the first person I had talked to about it that wasn’t a skydiver or a BASE jumper.

Up until then, we had made small talk before about how I worked at the skydiving center in town, whether or not we were busy, how I didn’t want bangs because they’re a pain in the ass when it comes to ponytails and helmets, and how when it’s super hot outside, training is a sweaty mess. Up until then, whenever we talked about skydiving it was all sunshine and rainbows and me regurgitating the facts and analogies that make non-skydivers feel better about the safety of our sport.

I felt like I was telling the story about someone else. It was all very disconnected, perhaps a bit cold sounding. Surely, a hair stylist sees and hears a variety of stories while painting strands of hair and wrapping them in tin foil. If those stories involve death, I’m pretty sure the client probably doesn’t talk about it so matter-of-factly, seemingly devoid of any emotion whatsoever.

Six months ago, I sat in the chair at the salon and I wondered what was going to happen next. The fact that I had lost a friend just days before plopping down in that chair didn’t make sense yet. And the last time I had been there was the day after my Uncle died. Apparently I get my hair done after tragedy strikes.

I remember sitting in the car for a bit with the AC on after I finished getting my hair done. I knew that something had changed, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Losing Adam has been an intense experience of loss, grieving, making major life decisions, and growth. When I launched the Planet Green Socks website, his mom called me. I was so nervous when she said “hey, it’s Linda, Adam’s mom.” I didn’t know what she’d say. Automatically, I assumed the worst. I thought maybe she’d be mad at me for using Adam’s pictures on the website. I thought maybe I should have cleared the story, inspiration, and everything with them first. Between the time she said “it’s Adam’s mom” and I said “hi, Linda” – I had already vomited all of the self-doubt over and over in my mind.

She told me Adam’s sister, Nicole, had shown her the website, and she couldn’t be more excited/proud/honored about it. I had a huge sigh of relief and just LOST IT on the phone. I miss Adam on the regular, and I try to honor his memory the best I can, every single day, by continuing to do things that absolutely light me on fire. I try to carry his legacy of dreaming big and doing big things every single day when I’m brainstorming new events, sending proposals, or doing anything with this business.

I still can’t believe he’s gone, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. It’s most definitely not always sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns. Allowing myself to realize and embrace that has been the most eye-opening part of the whole process. I don’t always have to be strong. I don’t always have to have my shit together. And in owning the fact that I’m human and this is a process, I’ve grown immensely. 

I’m getting to the point where I can find more strength than sadness in his absence.

This is super long already, but I want to thank you for being here. Thank you for the emails, comments on Facebook, text messages, phone calls, and conversations. I tend to assume that only my family and husband read these posts, so when you guys reach out, it really means a lot. Thank you for being here, for being part of this journey, and for your support – through the funny stuff and the hard stuff. It really means the world to me, and I want to hug and high five all of you.

It’s been a rough start to the year already for fatalities, and it hurts me to see my friends hurting. If you ever just want to vent, scream, cry, talk it out, or get your mind somewhere else as you process what’s happening, I’m here. You’re not alone. This shit sucks, and we can get through it. Hit me up. For real.

Being the Boss – Day 29: Top 5 vs. Give Zero Fucks

It has been one month since my last day as a person who regularly received a paycheck. Holy shit. I’ve written before about how it feels like I’ve been doing this Planet Green Socks thing for forever. 29 days of being the boss, you guys.

First things first, let’s talk about all the awesome shit that’s been happening. I’m a fan of lists (more on that in a bit), so let’s bullet this out:

  • Planet Green Socks is officially official with the state of California, and I’m waiting on the paperwork from Riverside County. They’ve cashed my check, so I’m assuming I’m good to go and the paperwork will be here any day now. BOOM SHAKALAKA.
  • The Sun Sessions: Oceanside event is almost full. We only have two spots left and I’m freaking the fuck out about it, in a good way. SO MANY HAPPY DANCES.
  • The Women’s Angle Camp has people signing up, one of which is my long lost fellow shorty, Micaela, who signed up for both Sun Sessions AND the Women’s event. SUPER STOKED.
  • The Women’s Retreat tour was rockin, and I’m looking at October-ish for that event to happen. More info on that coming soon.
  • My buddy John wants to do a super sweet event in September, we’re working on details. One word: Hawaii.
  • We’re working on getting dates sorted for two more Sun Sessions events, one in the midwest and one on the east coast, details coming shortly after the first event.
  • I’m actually, legitimately, for realsies making my health a priority. I’m moving more than I’m not, and that’s a good thing.
  • My buddy Jason is THE FUCKING MAN when it comes to helping me with backend stuff for Planet Green Socks – funky techy website stuff, emails, hosting, all of it. He’s the shit.
  • The Fearless Challenge is giving me clarity on things I didn’t even realize I needed clarity on. I cannot even handle how amazing this community of women is.
  • We’re going to PIA! We’re going to go kick it in Daytona with skydiving industry peeps and then hang with my family for a few days.
  • Barry’s SoCal dreams have come true. He got a bright blue dune buggy earlier this week. We’re still waiting for the perfect name for it.

Okay, now time for some real talk.

I cried (again) at yoga this morning. Straight up. Not as much as last time, but there was definitely a huge release of emotion as we were closing out our practice today.

And, same as the last time, when I got home and started working, I found this gem in my inbox, titled “You’re nobody’s victim- not even your own” from Kate of Your Courageous Life. Go ahead and read it. I’ll wait.

You’re back? Great.

You decide who you are–you say who you will be in this life. Not your past, or the shitty circumstances, or the people. You can acknowledge the pain of those experiences, without letting them define you. – Kate/Your Courageous Life

I absolutely love how these posts manage to make their way into my inbox exactly when I need them. The Universe is a funny thing.

With that said, today’s activity for the Fearless Challenge was to reflect on our experiences with the exercises so far, think about how we’ve grown in those experiences, and share our single biggest “a-ha” moment.

When I think about all of it, that post from Kate is exactly what I needed to hear to help me grow.

My biggest a-ha moment so far is that I am in control of my life, and my business. My past is not in control. Nor are the rude, obnoxious, manipulative, or downright disgusting people that have presented themselves at different points in my life. This is something I still struggle with on the regular, but it’s definitely getting better. I’ve shifted from taking weird/rude/obnoxious/disgusting comments personally, to realizing that the person making them probably has something they are dealing with, and maybe taking it out on me is easier for them than facing it head on. Compassion is my process now.

So how did I get to the point of having compassion be my process? I like making lists. Stick with me here.

List One: Really Awesome People You Should Spend More Time With (or, Top 5)

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. -Jim Rohn

This post from Entrepreneur Magazine explains how this is important in business, but this is also true in your personal life. If you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you better be damn sure you like what you see when you look around. This sounds like it could be kinda selfish, but rest assured, it’s not. Because any good relationship – romantic, platonic, business, or something in between, is symbiotic. You give a little, you get a little. You give a lot, you get a lot. This applies for the person on the other end, too. This is how this shit works.

When you’re surrounded by amazing people who lift you up, who know how to gracefully help you keep your shit in check, and can offer feedback and criticism in a constructive way, and that is your “normal” – it’s easy to get knocked down by a less than uplifting comment. Or maybe people who actually have this shit figured out can’t be knocked down. But in my case, I’ve got the “surround yourself with awesome people” thing down, so anything outside of that can blindside me sometimes.

And a month ago, six months ago, two years ago (and beyond), those comments would (and did) send me on a spiral of self-doubt, questioning what I’m doing, and wondering if I had made a wrong turn somewhere. Now, it’s still a work in progress, but those kinds of comments are more of a validation as to why that person isn’t in my top five list of people I want to (or have to) spend time with. Which leads me to another list:

List Two: GIVE ZERO FUCKS List

Kinda tying back into the Mark Manson article – you’ve gotta decide what is worthy of giving a fuck about.

Developing the ability to control and manage the fucks you give is the essence of strength and integrity. We must craft and hone our lack of fuckery over the course of years and decades. Like a fine wine, our fucks must age into a fine vintage, only uncorked and given on the most special fucking occasions. -Mark Manson

So, when I said “But in my case, I’ve got the ‘surround yourself with awesome people’ thing down, so anything outside of that can blindside me sometimes.” I really just called myself out. I still give too many fucks about too many things.

But this post from Kate, it’s helping me figure out that by owning the fact that I am in control of my life and business, I am capable of deciding what situations are worthy of me giving a fuck. And now, a comment that might otherwise leave me blindesided? ZERO FUCKS GIVEN. That literally just happened, from two paragraphs ago. We’ll see how that pans out. It takes practice.

Which is to say, I’ve working on these lists as I work on myself. I’ve got a list of people who are rad that I want to be around, work with, spend time with, drink wine with, eat delicious food with, etc. And I’ve got a “GIVE ZERO FUCKS” list. That list is reserved for people (or situations) who have proven, in one way or another, that we really don’t need to be around each other. And you know what? That’s totally fucking okay to say. It’s not bitchy, douchey, or rude. There are some people that you just don’t ever need to associate with for a variety of reasons – they’re jerks to you, they’re manipulative, they’re sexist, they’re condescending, they make you feel like shit, or maybe something else. Whatever the reason, it is 100% okay to have people (or situations you’d like to avoid) on a GIVE ZERO FUCKS list.

Because with the addition to the GIVE ZERO FUCKS list, you can automagically filter things that might otherwise knock you off your game and avoid the whole spiral of self-doubt, insecurity, or questioning. Instead, understand which list this person falls on, understand that they probably have some shit they’re dealing with and it’s easier to take it out on you, and then smile, nod, and be pleasant as fuck. Or run away awkwardly and avoid eye contact, like I do.

Clearly this giving zero fucks thing is a work in progress.

Also, if you liked the Mark Manson article and/or you’re a fan of the f-bomb and use it on the regular, you should probably (definitely) buy this poster. Erika is the shit. Her writing is the shit. And her poster (which comes from her TEDxBoulder talk) is the shit.

So, whaddya say? Are you refining your process of giving all the fucks? What kind of qualities does your top 5 have? How are they affecting you – good or bad? If you’ve got someone in your Top 5 that needs to make the move over to GIVE ZERO FUCKS, how do you handle that? Let me know in the comments.

This post is Day 29 of me documenting my journey as I build my event planning company, Planet Green Socks. You can check out all of the posts here

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Being the Boss – Day 27: Unapologetic.

You guys, the #FearlessIn15 challenge is absolutely rocking my world. One of my favorite parts about it is that there are prompts every day, but the leaders are adamant about reminding us that this challenge is for us to get in touch with our badass selves, and therefore, comments of “I’m so behind!” are totally unnecessary. So many times when I get started with something like this, I miss a day or don’t have anything to say, or not much to share, or I’m actually doing something that pertains to today’s prompt tomorrow, and I end up getting side tracked and discouraged. Sara and the gals leading the challenge are on top of us, in a good way, to remind us that we aren’t late, it’s okay if we don’t post something every day, and that our experiences with the challenge won’t look the same.

Here’s a quick recap of what happened since Friday:

Day 2: #SelfLoveSaturday – it’s super important to make time for yourself, and this is an area I’ve been seriously neglecting. So I took the whole weekend to focus on exactly that. After dropping Barry off at work on Saturday morning, I had grand plans of a lunch with myself and getting a pedicure. Except the weather was kinda shitty. And as soon as I got home, I crawled back into bed, where I slept peacefully until 11:00 AM. Can we talk about that? I haven’t slept in like that in FOREVER. It’s funny how sometimes you can make plans and then your body is like “nope, back to bed you go, young lady!”

Once I woke up, I went to the DZ to pick up Barry, and we went to Stone Brewing for a friend’s birthday. It was absolutely gorgeous outside, my lunch was delicious, and I tried a new beer that they have that I hadn’t had before. We came home and turned in early for the night. I think from Friday night through Sunday morning, I probably slept more than I was awake. Sometimes it’s totally necessary to do that.

Day 3: #PlayMore – I think I have fully grasped the idea that we need to work hard and play harder, and not just in the “drink lots of wine after a really stressful workday” kind of play. The trapeze lesson last week proves that. And while I didn’t spend Sunday on a trapeze, I did spend it, with reckless abandon, on the couch, watching an entire season of Friends on Netflix. I’m not even going to explain why that’s awesome, because if you don’t know, you need to get Netflix, a comfy place to chill out, two snuggly puggles, and a cup of tea. And then go to town. And be merciless with your rest and relaxation.

Day 4: #AttitudeofGratitude – In the last year or two, I’ve directed more focus on being grateful. I think it started with Thanksgiving 2013 (as it always does) and then continued to carry through the ups and downs that 2014 threw my way. Even when shit is really fucking terrible, there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for, and I have been adamant about finding those things in the really dark pits of shitty cards dealt.

On Sunday night, Barry and I had a friend over, and we ended up watching our wedding videos. As such, we rewatched our vows, which always makes me happy cry. One of Barry’s vows was that he’d always support me in any dream I’d ever want to make come true, and he’s done that every step of the way since we met, and especially since we’ve gotten married. I know quitting my job to start my own business is a risky dream to get behind, but he has never wavered one ounce. If anything, sometimes, I think he’s more excited about it than I am. I’ll come pick him up from work and hang around for a bit and people will come up to me and say “Barry told me about XYZ that you’re doing – that is SO cool!” and it is the greatest feeling in the world.

Starting your own business is a stressful time, and from what I have read, it can put serious strain on your relationships. I am forever grateful for Barry’s support, his enthusiasm for what I’m doing, and how he shares it with the world. I do a little dance when people register for an event, and Barry’s right there dancing with me and saying “baby, that’s fucking AWESOME.” Knowing that he’s got my back 100% makes it easier to dream big and make awesome shit happen.

Day 5: #SorrynotSorry (being unapologetic) – this is something I’m still working on. There have been a lot of situations in life and work where I wanted to pull my hair out because I wasn’t being heard, and then I’d apologize for speaking up about it. This article by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant called “Speaking While Female” explains the phenomenon VERY well:

We’ve both seen it happen again and again. When a woman speaks in a professional setting, she walks a tightrope. Either she’s barely heard or she’s judged as too aggressive. When a man says virtually the same thing, heads nod in appreciation for his fine idea. As a result, women often decide that saying less is more.

Today’s prompt wasn’t about how to avoid “manterruption” but was more about how to be unapologetic: to fully embrace who you are and what you want. To know deep down that you deserve everything and more, living life to its fullest for yourself with no regrets. 

The challenge today was:

Find a photo that is genuinely you – goofy, silly, no make up…the photos you believe are the true you and you should never apologize for.

Genuinely silly in the door. And I'm done apologizing.
Genuinely silly in the door. And I’m done apologizing.

This photo instantly came to mind.

I know of only one other skydiver in the group (heeeeey Kat!), so naturally, posting anything skydiving related, the gals in the group are thinking I’m literally fearless because I’m hanging on to the door of a plane.

But I could have taken this photo on the ground, and it would mean all the same. It’s not so much about being fearless in the most literal sense of the word, as it is being completely, totally, genuinely me.

I am so fucking stoked in this picture. Feeling good, ready to rock, and obviously having an awesome time setting up for this exit. In this moment, there are no apologies, no regrets, only pure joy. Though the apologies (for making silly faces when I should have been being serious) may have happened on the ground, in that moment, it’s all good.

I mentioned earlier this month that I DID NOT quit skydiving. In doing so, I realize that people take breaks, some people sell their gear and come back to the sport, some never return. I know I’m not unique in taking a break. There are jumpers who only jump every couple of months, and this is a regular thing, it’s not considered “taking a break” at all.

In thinking of this photo and how I felt when it was taken, I am getting closer to getting comfortable with what the sport means to me, and where I want to devote my attention. I knew this challenge would be great, and I’m really pumped about the clarity I’m getting on things I didn’t expect to get clarity on. SO RAD.

And in the spirit of being unapologetic, to myself and outwardly, I’m not beating myself up for not writing here on Saturday, Sunday, or yesterday. I promised myself I’d write every day, and so far, I’ve done that – whether it’s posts here, participating in challenges, writing for Blue Skies Magazine, or content for Planet Green Socks. I’m still writing. And it’s okay if I don’t post here every single day, especially if I’m just posting for the sake of saying “I posted!” without adding real value to what I’m doing.

Okay, real talk, I’m a bit bummed that I didn’t write here Saturday-Monday, because I really like sharing every day, but sometimes the writers juices just aren’t flowing, ya know? Clearly the unapologetic thing is totally a work in progress. I’m getting there. :)

What are you apologizing for? What are you TIRED of apologizing for?

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This post is Day 27 of me documenting my journey as I build my event planning company, Planet Green Socks. You can check out all of the posts here

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Being the Boss – Day 23: #Fearlessin15 Challenge

#FEARLESSin15 = mega awesome, more on that below.

Here’s the deal, team. Back in August, when Hello Fearless (founded by one of the coolest chicks I know, Sara Davidson) launched their Boss School, I was wanting to join. When I actually started weighing pros and cons in October when the course was getting ready to start, I had just barely scratched the surface on what Planet Green Socks would be, and I was chatting with Sara about how I hadn’t fleshed out my idea. I was offered a sweet deal on registration for the course, but I didn’t make the investment in myself, or my idea. Because all the reasons:

  • I was too scared
  • Surely I wasn’t ready
  • I didn’t want to spend money on something that might not come to fruition
  • I was too scared
  • Surely I wasn’t ready
  • Did I mention that I was too scared and that I was convinced I wasn’t ready?

Anyhoosits, I saw a post from Sara about the #Fearlessin15 challenge, a 15-day dive into being authentically YOU and how that makes your business super badass. It was free. I was still hesitant to sign up.

Cue same reasons listed above.

Then I cut the shit and remembered everything that’s happened to get to where I’m sitting today, and I said fuck it. Caution to the wind. It’s free – it’s not like I’m losing out if I do it and I get scared and don’t contribute.

Except, you guys, I’m fucking loving this.

Straight up – the challenge for Day 1 was to commit to being fearless. As I watched Sara explain the challenge in today’s video, I was already anxious. “Share it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, DO IT ALL!” I was close to shit-my-pants nervous. Especially about sharing it on Facebook. I have been hiding for so long, so fucking worried about what everyone thinks about me, how they see me.

“If you mock up that picture of you by the plane, people are going to think you’re a complete narcissist.”

Prior to sitting down to work today, I got my oil changed, got new tires installed, and ran for an hour. The trapeze experience (and the pictures and videos that resulted) was humbling as all get out. I’m out of shape. I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin, physically, so I’m working on it.

For fucks sake, someone asked me if I was pregnant when I went to visit a drop zone last week. Legit. Someone who I hadn’t seen in a hot minute came up to me and put their hand on my stomach and said “aaaaaawe” with the “OMG YOU’RE EXPECTING” head-tilt. I said “just fat, not pregnant” and she responded with “oh, well then life has been good to you!” FUCK ALL OF THIS. I know I gain/carry/and show the most weight fluctuation in my stomach, I know I’m fucking floored to be checking out a new DZ, seeing new faces, seeing old faces, and surely I’m glowing because I’m so happy, but I’m not pregnant.

That was a long tangent, but I’m so fucking far from narcissistic.

Sara continued to talk about how putting it out there is a great way to get people to rally behind you, to also tap into their fearlessness, and it’s a great way to remind yourself of the commitment you’re making once the challenge is over. Given that I’ve gotten a handful of messages that remind me that there are more people that read these ramblings than my family and Barry, I knew there might be some truth to the whole “building a community of fearless badasses” thing.

Yesterday we were asked to fill in the blank: A fearless woman is __________. I introduced myself to the group and said:

A fearless woman is willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s where growth happens. That’s where the “lightbulb moments” live. That’s where thoughts become things. In that scary place of being uncomfortable, that’s where my best self is.

So if I’m striving to tap into my best, most unapologetic, fearless self, this photo really was the way to go. It was time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable. The photo above is actually from June 2013. I was in the middle of my first training season, feeling awesome, loving skydiving, in better shape than I am now, and generally in a really good headspace. This photo is also the first professionally-taken photo I’ve had done since school pictures, if you even count those as professional. There was so much anxiety just about posing in my gear by a plane because I’m really awkward with “serious” photos, but the end result was something that I absolutely loved.

So I posted the photo. Not without hesitation and a bit of back and forth about what people will think vs. why should I care, but it’s up. On Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in the Fearless Challenge group, and now here. It’s appreciating a really great time in my life, the journey I made between then and now, and looking forward (and up?) to the future as this challenge, my life, and building my business continues to be my whole world.

So tell me, what does fearless mean to you?

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This post is Day 23 of me documenting my journey as I build my event planning company, Planet Green Socks. You can check out all of the posts here

Did you know you can subscribe to this blog? There’s a nifty subscription form on the menu on the left side of the screen. Hit it up.