KarenPery.com | On the topic of travel, comfort and new adventures
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On the topic of travel, comfort and new adventures

Central Park, New York, May 2017, Man getting dressed in Elmo costume to attend toddler birthday party


New York. I love you. I’m a bit intimidated by you, and I find you delightfully weird.

Years ago, Rafe and I hosted a trip for UCLA where we accompanied alumni to the South of France. The people we loved the most were the ones who relaxed into the local customs, people and adventure; the ones who challenged us were the ones who wished there was a simple bowl of oatmeal and a Starbucks in Aix-en-Provence (where there should most definitely, please never, be a Starbucks).

Young, confident and relatively carefree, I didn’t get it.

When Ellie and I were in New York last week, I got it.

New York City is not a super easy geographical location for a couple of sensitive girls who love sunny days and big open skies. The weather was supposed to be nice (nice for New York?), but our first two days we were in drizzle, rain and cold. We found ourselves lost, unable to hail a cab, and near separated in a sea of people in Times Square. Felt like everyone was always yelling and honking.

Desperate, cold, wet, and a little messed up from all of it, we took shelter in an Urban Outfitters.  We sought out the experience of the familiar. Once we had a moment to smell the same candles they have in our suburban mall, the same ones we smelled at the Urban Outfitters in San Francisco, we were able to regroup and get back out there and surprise ourselves with a different afternoon, better than where we started.

Am I about to turn this into something about leadership? You bet I am.

Before we left, client after client presented with challenges of dealing (not thriving) through uncertainty.

We’re all feeling it. It’s stressful, all the yelling and honking in our world. We like to think that controlling it, making a plan and stubbornly sticking to it, reacting to a million different things will create certainty and make it all feel better.

It doesn’t.

Uncertainty is a constant.

The antidote to uncertainty is resilience. Bouncing back when you’re taken off course. Creating strength from support, be it anchors at home, or walking into Urban Outfitters to get a whiff of the Pistachio Brulee candle like in Ellie’s room at home, or remembering that this too shall pass. Uncertainty requires presence, being in the here and now, always without exception.

When you’re feeling lost, take a breath. See where you are. Take refuge if you need. Ask for help. Quiet the noise.

There are many places to find safety, but safety is a pause in the action, not a destination.

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