Introducing Strangers in a Coffee Shop: Please Meet…

Kristin Taylor

Name: Kristin Taylor
Age: 32

My favorite thing about being emotionally uncomfortable is that it tends to lead to important self-discovery. My instinct is to lace up the running shoes and head to a safe space, but I’ve come to believe that in most cases it’s good to stay. Being comfortable is like sleeping – and ignoring our discomfort is neglectful. Sometimes we need to be cut open to find ourselves. Sometimes we need to be challenged or to sit with emotions or experiences that unnerve or unseat us. We often lose out when we shut down or turn away.

The nicest thing about our mistakes is we’re not chained to them – they don’t own or define us. We can let them be our compass and teacher. And we can use them to create change.

When I’m overwhelmed I remember the stories I tell myself about why I can’t do it or why it’s impossible are just that – stories. I have the power at any given moment to change my attitude, and therefore change my script. When I let the bricks crumble, I’m doing a complete disservice to myself and others I care about. It takes immense inner strength to stand up to feelings of inadequacy or fear, but I’ve learned I am the author of my life and I choose to live what’s left of it courageously.

I’m most grateful for the small things. Three tiny words like, “I love you” or “I am sorry.” Smiles from strangers. Random acts of kindness. Sungasms and laughter that makes my inside stretch. Hugs. A hot shower. The smell of rain or taste of a raspberry. A book I can’t put down. All of these small moments are adding up to a big life.

If I duplicate myself, my other self would dare to be a life coach. There is incredible potential within all of us – and it’s deeper and wider than we can possibly imagine. I’d help others tap into that energy by asking provocative questions and listening to what isn’t being said. I know watching others blossom would water my own garden.

The one person (or event) who changed my life was a hiking tour guide (I think his name was Tim). I was 17-years-old and halfway up a mountain in the Adirondacks when I gave in to my exhaustion and plunked down. He sat down beside me and told me I could do one of two things: 1) Get up, climb up and see the spectacular view at the top or 2) Get up, give up, and walk down the mountain alone. I learned in that moment that just because something is hard, doesn’t mean you should quit. And that view was amazing. In my 20s, I returned to the Adirondacks and found a woman in a similar predicament. She was a breast cancer survivor and getting to the top was on her bucket list. I sat down beside her like the tour guide had and I gave her a similar speech. She climbed up with us the rest of the way and fell to her knees sobbing at the top. It was a moment I will never forget and one that still makes me teary.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is to listen to my gut. It knows more than my brain does and it won’t mislead me like the heart can.

Kristin lives in Ontario, Canada. During the day, she handles executive and employee communications for her employer. Kristin is one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. She is always delivering tiny nuggets of wisdom. Follow her @patchofhappy.

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What are you all about? What moves you? I’d love to learn more and perhaps highlight you here in this section of my blog (“Strangers in a Coffee Shop”). As I’ve learned from approaching strangers to ask them about their life lessons, we don’t have to be well-known or successful to be interesting. We don’t have to possess a wide range of ‘life experiences’ either. There’s extraordinary in the ordinary, and I want to prove that here. Email me snowwhite.bui [@] gmail (.) com.

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