KarenPery.com | Stay Stoked
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Stay Stoked


Stoke is a verb. Its definitions include tending to or adding fuel to a fire and increasing the amount or strength to something. Surfers use this word as an adjective: to be “stoked” is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something. When one is stoked, there is no limit to what one can do.


I am just back from a week in Costa Rica (that’s me with the extraordinary group of women I met for a client’s debut surf + yoga + leadership retreat). It was AMAZING!

I have to tell you, going to Costa Rica was a leap outside my comfort zone. Leaving my husband and kids at home with a multitude of complexities to manage their schedules, traveling alone, going to a new country, with so many bugs and so much humidity, where I don’t speak the language, to spend a week with people I had never met . . . I said yes, but in the reality of it, kept catching myself feeling trapped in old and familiar patterns.

I dove into the leadership aspects of the retreat with great enthusiasm and a few questions that have continued to puzzle me: do I always have too much on my plate? Am I really overwhelmed? Do I need to scale back or learn how to juggle better? There are times in my life I feel like I’m getting crushed like in that trash compactor scene in Star Wars. Sometimes it feels like there is so much for me to do, there is no room for me to breathe.

I answered those questions for myself in Costa Rica and felt myself change. (The answers, btw: Sometimes. No. Probably both.)

Right after I arrived home in Los Angeles, I had an amazing week collaborating with my dear friend and business partner, Gary Mahler crafting and refining this year’s Into the Fire Women’s Surf Retreat .

During our work week, Gary and I recorded a video for you while hiking (easier than while surfing, right?). The video is about 3 minutes, and you’ll get to meet Gary, hear about how and why we created Into the Fire and learn more about what you can expect at our upcoming Into the Fire Women’s Surf Retreat happening in Malibu June 5-7. Click below to watch!

The work Gary and I do with Into the Fire is about living life differently, choosing your own excellent adventure and becoming alive to yourself and the world around you.

Our Into the Fire partnership is based on a deep foundation of trust and respect for one another. Creating this retreat, writing a book and working together is all kinds of fun and awesome. And, not only do we create extraordinary experiential leadership programs together, we also coach business partnerships together. If you want to know more about the retreat or our partnership coaching, Gary and I will schedule time together to talk with you.

I returned home relaxed and happy, worked relaxed and happy right until I didn’t. We had an amazing week working together, but at the end of it, with Gary going back home to Vancouver and a full day of clients and meetings ahead, I felt my world closing in again . . . until I caught myself and chose differently.

  • First I attempted to meditate and clear my head. That didn’t work.
  • Next, I got into action, doing what I could do instead of worrying about doing everything at once . . . which only temporarily alleviated the stress.
  • Then, I reminded myself to be present to what I was feeling and experiencing and decided to stay present to each moment instead of mentally and emotionally rushing to the end of of the day.

If a big part of your personal brand is doing things differently AND YOU DON’T DO IT, it’s wise to take a moment and reflect. I reached out to talk to my new friends from Costa Rica to keep myself accountable.

When I did, I found my center again, filled with calm and peace. I promised to feel all of my feelings instead of numbing myself to them, be grateful, do only the one thing in front of me … and followed that up with a healthy dose of gratitude for everything exactly as it was, not how I hoped it would be.

A day that felt impossible turned out to be phenomenal.

You can always do life differently – and if you need a pause button to stop the crazy of your life, get refocused and have a ton of fun learning to surf (and you’re a woman), please join us for the Into the Fire Women’s Surf Retreat, June 5-7 in Malibu.

And, speaking of awesome pause buttons, I would love to invite you to join me for the 2nd annual TEDxOlympic Boulevard Women on May 28 in Santa Monica. I’ll be on site helping host the day at the side of my wonderful friends Dana Childers and Kristan Sargeant.

This TEDx will be a rich, inspiring and fun-filled day, immersive and interactive, featuring talks and performances across a wide array of disciplines and fields, highlighting innovative and resourceful women from Los Angeles who are reimagining, redefining, and shaping our world. There will be time for you to muse, connect and integrate during breaks throughout the day in an environment crafted to stimulate the mind, nourish the senses, and call forth your vital creative power.

For more information, visit www.tedxolympicblvdwomen.com, and if you’d like an invitation, just ask me. I’d love to see you there!

Pause, reflect, take a break from the action and go to the people, places and things that inspire you. When you do, you will fuel yourself, inspire others and the world becomes a better place.

Do whatever it takes to light your own fire, and let others help fan your flames. This is your time to shine.

Stay stoked!

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