18 October 2012

Jumping In

This post is written by contributing author Shelly Kerry.

A few weeks ago a couple of my friends and I participated in our first Tough Mudder, an eleven mile mud run/walk laced with 20+ obstacles in Tahoe, California. At a high elevation and with temperatures in the low 50s, an already extremely challenging event was made even more difficult. Wow, it was a rough one!

We had months to prepare physically but as life goes I wasn’t as ready as I had hoped. I wanted to able to run 10 miles so my endurance level would be high. That didn’t happen. I prepared with heavy weights to increase strength but still wasn’t quite ready for the monkey bars and the scaling of 15 foot walls. Living in San Francisco, things like the elevation and the cold were almost impossible to prepare for. And that big dumpster of ice water we jumped into – there was no way to be ready for that.

Photo: Michael Zanussi

Since I am a natural planner, the unreadiness was what scared me the most. I tried to embrace the moment with laughter and lightness and garnered control in the areas of diet and proper clothing. I listened to friends who have participated in the past and read a few articles in Men’s health. I eliminated alcohol for a week, loaded up on carbs the day before and drank lots and lots of water. Fortunately, I believe this all prevented me from getting too cold and decreased muscle cramping. Instead there was a bit of cranky whining, multiple moments of wanting to run back to the car and a few tears. However, we made it. We didn’t give up and I learned a crazy amount of new things about myself.

The mountain itself and the big dumpster full of ice water were my biggest challenges. I know someday I can conquer the mountain a little more gracefully. The industrial sized dumpster full of 90 plus pounds of ice that I jumped into came with a whole new set of lessons.

I will save you by not fully describing the horrible physical feelings from being that cold. It was the third obstacle and since I was still relatively full of adrenaline and confidence, I just ran up to the top of the dumpster and jumped in. I took less than second to think about it and I just dove. I had to dunk my head under water to bypass a big piece of wood and once on the other side, I moved as quickly as possible to get out of the icy cold pool of water. I couldn’t feel my legs and my eyes were swollen immediately with tears.

There was no way to prepare for this obstacle. Mentally and emotionally had it been at the end of the course, I would have never had the adrenaline or will to do it. And I cannot tell a lie, I will probably never do it again.

This experience made me think a lot about how much we often mentally and emotionally prepare for new adventures. Being a time management coach, I spend hours teaching small business owners how to plan their days, months and years. We all know that there are certain aspects in which you can never prepare but sometimes this is just hard to embrace. I can’t help thinking now of all the lessons that are lost by avoiding opportunities we think we aren’t ready for. Jumping in can be scary. However, if we maintain healthy bodies and souls, if we are already well hydrated with knowledge and experience why don’t we offer ourselves the opportunities to feel new things. If we learn to trust our own red flag system and not do anything too dangerous or ridiculous, we can trust that the new adventure can bring so many new learning experiences.

I am embarking on a new journey too. I have returned to being a solo entrepreneur and have expanded my program Creating Space, Mindful Living outside of Lightbox SF. I am nervous to be on my own again but with the knowledge and experience I have gained from co-owning Lightbox, I know I am on the right track. I wouldn’t say I am jumping blindly into an ice bath of water here but I am moving quite quickly into a new business all while trying to keep up with all the new and exciting ideas formulating in my head. It’s super exciting and I hope you continue to join me in the new adventure!

I would love to hear about all of your experiences with jumping in to the unknown! I hope you share all of your stories below in the comment section.

Shelly is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on Facebook or contact shelly@creatingspacemindfulliving.com


  1. Wow. It is amazing that you even tried to do an event like that! I would never (ever) make it through. And the ice dumpster is just horrendous! My hat's off to you for having the guts to sign up for something like that. Even if it is the last time.
    Warmth to you,

  2. Thanks Jamie! I keep trying to remind myself this. It's interesting how many old feelings (hating gym class! ha! body image issues)came up from the event. However, I am grateful to be able kick those old bad feelings in the butt once and for all!
    Thanks for reading dear and hope you have a lovely day!

  3. I always wanted to try something like this, but we don't have that type of events where I live. I guess I sometimes like jumping in, both literally and metaphorically.

  4. What a great reminder that jumping in can guide you to new experiences, in life and business. Congrats to you for doing that Tough Mudder! It looks like extremely hard work, but I am sure rewarding in the end.
    Everyday Inspired