Just this past week I flew to Arizona for Kuel Life.
Right before the pandemic, I had a trip all planned out to go visit and play with several of our Thought Leaders. As it so happens we have three active Kuel Life Thought Leaders from the Phoenix/Tucson area.
“These ladies said ‘yes’ — back when there was nothing really in it for them”
The notion of hanging out with these particular women has always been intriguing. I’m drawn to their throw-caution-to-the-wind, say-yes-to-future-opportunities personalities. You see, way back when I first approached Lisa King, Jodie Filogamo, Gayle Petrillo, and Beth Keil, I had zero to offer. I was in full ask-mode. I needed help to begin the Kuel mission to normalize aging for women. These ladies said ‘yes’ — back when there was nothing really in it for them. Who does that? Visionaries?
Time Deepens The Connection:
Fast forward two-plus years and the connection to these women is even stronger.
Lisa and Gayle offered to plan, organize, and host some events in their hometowns of Scottsdale and Tucson. Even in their own homes, to boot. Once again, who does that? Not to mention provide moi with room and board!
My primary responsibility: “to get there” — which from the East coast is not insignificant. After the initial excitement over an Arizona gathering, the formulation of the events, the wheres, and the when, I began to process what I had actually set in motion.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves:
“I told myself story after story of all the ways this could go sideways and why I should cancel.”
Was this a good idea? It’s sure a long way to travel. What if no one shows up to any of our events? What if my length of stay simulates the fish on the third day paradigm? There was lots of second-guessing.
I told myself story after story of all the ways this could go sideways and why I should cancel. I am used to these fear-based voices. Their cacophony of noise is a daily symphony inside my head. I can only assume that many of us — most of us? — get cold-feet when pushing limits or simply doing something we’ve never done before. In the end, I made no attempts at canceling or stopping the trip. The wheels, already set in motion, kept spinning around me for weeks as we planned, re-planned, communicated the gatherings and waited for responses (positive ones, of course).
The morning arrived and I boarded the one and only direct flight from Raleigh NC to Phoenix, Arizona. Up at 4:00 a.m. for a 7:30 flight, the flood of doubts crested and pelted me as steady, scalding hot droplets. Throughout my shower and last minute packing, I actively ignored all the “cancel this trip” doubts and negative self-talk and headed to the airport.
How To Get A Date From A TSA Agent:
Since I was headed to Arizona, I wore my cowboy boots and bedazzled jeans. These, I can assure you, are great choices if you’ve been feeling a little physically neglected by the TSA agents at the airport of late. My entire bottom lit up the screen as I stood, splayed legged, arms high over my head. Seriously, the pat-down was thorough and intimate. Afterwards, I paused for a second wondering if I would be asked out for a second date. Alas, none came.
Flash forward, a few minutes into the flight, the woman in the window seat opened up a conversation with me. I was sitting in the aisle seat and the man between us was sound asleep. After an initial hesitation spent calculating the rude factor of talking over and around the sleeping dude, I engaged back. Several minutes of chatting about where she was going, why, and where she lived, finally led to her returning the questions.
“This was the very first time a stranger identified and called out my brand by name. Well, kinda… half the name anyway.”
I did not get far into my narrative before she interrupted. “Kuel? Are you the Kuel Lady?”
“Why, yes – yes I am,” I replied, stunned, grinning from ear to ear.
The Power Of Affirmation:
And in an instant time stood still for me. This was the very first time a stranger identified and called out my brand by name. Well, kinda… half the name anyway. All those doubts, all those mean thoughts about myself, evaporated. Without even realizing it at the time, the harsh, dissonant symphony that seemed committed to scoring my week-long trip to Arizona came to an abrupt, welcomed end.
The barrage of: “Am I wasting my time?, Am I making a difference in the world — or to anyone at all, for that matter? Who do I think I am?” silenced, replaced by a glimmer of hope — by a single pat on the back for my efforts. Leaving me to ponder the power of one act of affirmation.