Friday, October 24, 2014

Women, Where Are You? Oh yeah, and I got ink in the Wall Street Journal.




In mid July, I sent an email out to a few thousand people in the UCLA Anderson alumni database. The message was pretty simple. Hey everyone, thank you for helping by volunteering for the program I run. Hey girls, would you help too? It returned a cool response and more women started raising their hands to volunteer and mentor.

Then something entirely wonderful incredibly awesome happened, but I wasn't sure I could tell anyone. A writer at the Wall Street Journal contacted me and asked if I would be willing to participate in a story he was doing on precisely that challenge. I said "yes" and inhaled deeply. I knew that the people I worked for wouldn't be all that excited to see my name in print. In an ironic twist, shining bright wasn't really allowed in the gig I had. It was more of a "team" approach. I had myself become afraid to raise my hand and take ownership of my own success.

But now two months later, I am really pleased to share with you this article. You know what - I should have shared it back in August. As I am launching my own company Delight Wipes, I've also got a new lease on my shine. It's going to be bright. 

I have the extraordinary honor of helping my fiancĂ©'s two little girls navigate their tween years and along with their smart as a whip and talented mom, their passionate and brilliant dad have been working to help them relate to more strong feminine role models. Understanding that beautiful IS powerful, is something that I want for every girl and woman out there. Beautiful IS powerful simply means that being a feminine, intelligent, talented and passionate woman is in fact a powerful thing. There is no difference between the two. I want them to know that. I want them to feel powerful. 

So here you go. I got covered in the Wall Street Journal a few months back and it felt unbelievable. Thank you John Greathouse for this article and this dialogue. I look forward to continuing it with you. 



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Love to Laugh - And Where I've Been

First a quick sentence or three on the three month quietude at Caution Curves Ahead and the preceding seventh months of occasional whispering, but general non chatitude of it all.... I had a lot going on.

I found myself exploring a healthy and happy relationship (which one might recognize as terrifying) redefining other relationships (which all might know is.... unsettling), addressing parenthood and childhood (which has been generous and gentle), and being fearful of repercussions of writing/blogging/expressing and how they might affect my livelihood (because... well that's for another day). I was certainly less of a story teller for a bit while in self preservation and personal investigation mode - and that's A - OK. It has however led to a decline in the whole CCA world and I know it will take a bit to recover. Thanks for those who have waited it out.

Tonight, I dip my toe back into the world of sharing life's unexpected curves and passionate or painful bold adventures. Earlier today I sat and embraced an ocean view I have loved for a decade and practiced a few farewells. I am leaving the safety (and static peace) of a full time job to start a new company and with that comes the requirements of a new home base. My beach retreat and I are gently bidding adieu.

I decided to sit on the beach this evening with a glass of wine and read a book from home. I chose The Art of Happiness from my bookshelf and was surprised to realize it was a book that a dear friend from high school had passed onto me nearly fifteen years ago. She'd received it from her aunt and uncle on her 21st birthday, and somehow it landed on my bookshelf.



I got to thinking about happy, about joy, about a true love of life and I realized that one of the greatest gifts we offer one another is laughter. As a little girl, I watched Mary Poppins with absolute fervor. My dad and I danced to the scenes and my mom knew every line with me. There is a precious scene where humor launches even the staunchest of pessimists into floating hilarity. I still today have dreams about laughing so hard, I float above the room.

Relationships, businesses, families are all opportunities to create joy and to create play. They require hard work, focus, respect and an intrepid spirit to make successful. Ultimately for me, it's all about creating an opportunity for laughter, in my relationship, in my family, and in those I write for and work with.

So, I'm back to writing and risking all that I might risk with writing, because laughter, love and joy are what I'm meant to do. That's my job folks...  I love to laugh, loud and long and clear! 




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I met her once. Powerful. Inspired. Determined. Fly free, Maya Angelou.

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
 
Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, Inc.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Just a little Selfie Video About CCA Media Entering into A Competition That's Sorta Fake

A few weeks ago, a friend forwarded me information about a contest to win the opportunity to climb Kilimanjaro with some of the worlds most successful contemporary entrepreneurs with a major technology incubator called The Summit! Like OMG could there possibly be a more perfect contest for yours truly?

A trip where I get to climb a mountain that previously kicked my tail,
with mentors, investors, and other entrepreneurs 
who are likely trying to change the world, 
and Do Good 
and even more importantly of all..... DO WELL?

I've realized in the last year that doing good is easy, doing well is a lot harder!! So.... I went in full force. I filled out the application, wrote charming stories about my own experience. I even did what I often tell my students and coaching clients to do. I found all the top execs and sent THEM emails letting them know precisely what I could and would bring to the mountain.

AND GUESS WHAT!?!?!? 
It worked! I made it from 2100 to the top 200... Or so I thought.     

I was asked to submit a one minute video about my company in 72 hours and why I should climb and I promptly did. I had a terrible week that week because of all sorts of unexpected personal drama, and let me tell you - it was hellish to figure out how to be compelling, but I think I figured it out. Here is my submission.




Then, I decided to ask for more details. I wanted to know what "WINNING" meant. Thank you Charlie Sheen....  It turns out, WINNING means I have the opportunity to purchase a spot on the climb for the not so bargain price of $5500. My climb just six months ago was less than half the cost.... The email I received from the organizers was a bit of a surprise. My best friend who had forwarded me the information replied simply.

"Well that's disingenuous."  

What became even more disingenuous is realizing that every single person who voted for me then received an email suggesting that they too could apply. There are no real deadlines and there was no top 200. The company is in fact developing a robust and likely effective marketing database. Yes, there will be a climb. That part's entirely true.


So now I'm in the running, but the truth is I cannot afford to put that much of my new company's start up fund into a luxury adventure trip. Yes, I need mentors. Yes, I need investors. Yes, that experience could likely change my life, but no - it's simply not a prudent pursuit.



What it did help me better understand is that when you are starting a company, there are lots of seemingly enthusiastic opportunities that might not pan out. At any given moment, momentum might seem like it's coming from one side or another... As the CEO you really do have to give almost everything a shot, and be willing to learn from it if it doesn't come to fruition.


If you feel like voting so I can win the popularity contest, that's cool too ;-)


I learned more about my company's goals, more about my audience, and precisely how passionate I am about getting this thing going! So, all in all - it gave me a call to action and you know what, I seriously do think I can build a company as valuable and offering the impact of our good friend Oprah! Let's do it!

Let's #GetClimbing





Create A Space For Peace In Your Home And Your Life.


Monday, March 31, 2014

The Courage To Succeed - Intrepid Spirits Seek Victory Over Those Things That Seem Impossible



The Courage to Succeed

"The sea is dangerous and its storms terrible, but these obstacles have never been sufficient reason to remain ashore. Unlike the mediocre, intrepid spirits seek victory over those things that seem impossible. It is with iron will that they embark on the most daring of all endeavors. To meet the shadowy future without fear and conquer the unknown."
- Ferdinand Magellan, Explorer

Dearest friends,

I open with this quote because today, I feel like the rough seas are taunting me a little.  You see I am about to put together a journey with the most important people in my life. My mentors, my colleagues and friends have agreed to support me, and some in fact join me, on this extraordinary journey. As I ready my boat and prepare my supplies, a hitch almost always comes along. That one last thing that makes you double take, and ask -

"Am I really strong enough to do this?" 
"Do I really have the moxie I need?"
As spring has finally found its way into our lives, so comes a time of renewed passion, vigor and a purpose of growth. There are reasons to spring clean and reasons to plant new seeds. At Caution Curves Ahead, Ive taken some time off to review what the future of this endeavor might be. The community support around Caution Curves Ahead and our inspirational mantras has been remarkable. We are ready to embark on something new. 

I believed after climbing Kilimanjaro, that I was in fact done with writing my blog. A story that started with my journey through business school, dealing with a divorce, and leading into dating, while developing a new career seemed complete when I came down from that mountain.

But the experience of inspiring with my stories, the observations I have had about this beautiful and extraordinary world, and the people I have met along the way have made one thing clear.

Caution Curves Ahead is about more than just Summers on a journey. It's about ALL OF US on a journey to be inspired, to seek opportunities to be empowered, and most importantly to pursue a life that amuses us in a way that makes each day worth rising and shining. 

Over the next several months I will be working to relaunch what once was my blog into OUR COMPANY site. Caution Curves Ahead Media will be a company built with a fundamental desire to inspire, empower and amuse. It is a business dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the world by improving YOUR experiences.

Caution Curves Ahead Media is a social entertainment enterprise focused on creating media, live events, apps, and experiences that inspire, empower and amuse the world. We will succeed because we are smart enough to know we should.  

Summers McKay


Monday, November 4, 2013

I Don't Like it Gentle, Be Selfish and 13 Other Lessons from the Climb


It's been three weeks since I returned from the most ass kicking journey I have ever attempted.

I'm just your average blue eyed blonde, mischief making, Pasadena raised, spin class attending, weekend camel-bak wearing, hiking, beach-bound ocean playing, princess who is downright determined to "make an impact" because according to some feels oodles of liberal guilt.... And honestly. I'm kinda spent. 

I think Kilimanjaro finally knocked my voluptuous ego
on my curvy ass.

For the last two years I have shared my stories with the world on this blog. My adventures in business school, my heartbreak post divorce and the process of learning to date were all presented quite candidly to all y'all. From the first date to the fortieth many of you have read about just what it was like to test out the boundaries of relationships, personal branding, business and capital endeavors, social media discovery, romantic exploration, and all sorts of career adventures.

On Caution Curves Ahead, my healing from a confused post divorcee, post reality tv producer to entrepreneur and educator has been well laid out. It has been pretty amazing and I am grateful for your support as an enthusiastic audience. The truth is, I climbed Kilimanjaro to set my stake in the ground, to demonstrate I was intrepid, and to heal - with each oxygen deprived step - another iteration of a great Summers Love turned Broken Heart. Yes, once again... Seriously why do I keep doing that?

I have great news.
I think I've finally reached a top, a resting point,
a pinnacle of some kind.

I don't remember actually writing these, but a day or two after I came down from Kilimanjaro, I flipped through my journal and found my Lessons From The Climb. Whether it was the 102+ fever, or the altitude, or the bronchitis - I dunno, but the honesty of these lessons resonates with me back at sea level.

Here they are - simple, clear, and yours to do with as you journey ahead. #GetClimbing

Lessons from the Climb.

1. Every step counts. Witness and experience them.

2. It WILL be incredibly hard. Choose the path because it will be hard. Gentle and easy does not inspire you.

3. The only person you MUST take care of is yourself. Put all other's needs second.

4. There are those on the trail who will need your help. Stop and help them if you are strong enough.

5. Carry lots of water. You will be thirsty. You won't be the only one who is.

6. Don't be afraid to cry, but do so discerningly.


7. You are not alone. There are many others in stride.

8. God and your Angels will protect you. Know who they are. 

9. Listen to nature. It plays the most beautiful music.

10. Find your stride. March to it. Others will have a different cadence. Don't worry about their steps.

11. Stay warm - in your attire and demeanor.

12. Bring a playlist of stories and songs that will help you. You will need them near the top.

13. Don't bring a heavy book. You will not need the extra weight and you will feel like a dick making your porter carry it for you.

14. Ask probing questions. You will learn more.

15. Everything makes sense at 3500 meters. Only important things make sense at 4900 meters.



#KeepClimbing


Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Humbling little Mountain in Africa called Kilimanjaro

There’s this humbling little mountain in Africa called Kilimanjaro. .. I climbed it for six days. At 1:45 am two nights ago having reached an altitude of 4900 meters just three miles from the top my body said “that is quite enough!” My intrepid guides Frank and Naftal were with me every step of the way, along with our crew of 12 other porters and cooks. It was a life changing perspective reinventing adventure. More to come for sure

-  #GetClimbing #CautionCurvesAhead #Kilimanjaro #OneWorldSafari (at Arumeru River Lodge)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 5

Ever not recognize your own reflection? I got up five hours after that last pic ...and tried with every ounce in my soul to summit. Frank held my hand when I turned around and reminded me that living was my most important accomplishment. Here's what the morning after looked and sounded like... There is more to come. It was good but I get better and then I get worse. #GetClimbing
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 4.9 (Longest Day Ever)

 
So then... we hiked for about 6 more hours... up to Lava Rock to acclimate which was amazing and then down and up through the Karanga Valley. .. which was excruciating. My little cough had become deep and brutal. My body finally reacted to altitude with a digestive battle.... By the time I got to the Barafu Camp it was 5:30 pm. I crawled into my tent without dinner and simply cried. The cook sent ...me cinnamon and honey tea for my cough and ginger cookies for my stomach by way of my kind porter Ema.. I had five hours before my Tanzanian brother, guide and angel, Frank would awaken me for the twelve hour attempt to reach the summit..... I have never been so exhausted. #CautionCurvesAhead #Kilimanjaro #GetClimbing

Kilimanjaro - Day 4.5


So about two hours after that last snuggly pic, it was warm again on Kilimanjaro and the Barranco Wall, the very terrifying kissing rock, and another 1,600 feet were done... eight more hours in the day left to keep hiking before summit time. — in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

My adorable Yosemite, Peanuts shirt says, Let's Go Hiking. Who's in? #GetClimbing - Summers McKay

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 4


Day 4 6:00 AM - See that summit behind me... well after I go scale this little thing called the Barranco Wall and cross the Karanga Valley (for 12 hours) I'm going to sleep for 3 hours and then attempt to summit it.... — in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

"For the record, SWAG Playboy Bunny Hats from Sundance are NOT WARM ENOUGH for #Kilimanjaro." Summers McKay

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kilimanjaro: Day 3


Sunrise on Kilimanjaro from Shira Camp at 3,840m up on day 3. Sitting above the clouds for a few days will change you. #GetClimbing (that's 12598.43 feet for anyone doing math) — in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Kilimanjaro - Day 2



Seems like a great day to go for a little walk on the highest mountain in Africa. I am wary of the speed with which the girls I am climbing with want to go. My lungs seems to be very resistant to going that fast, but I willing to give it a go. Today we get to do some technical rock climbing and so I am going to start out with the boots to further break them in. However, I have a feeling I will prefer my trail runners and thus they are tied to my daypack.


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

A Power Blonde Gets Camera Ready - 1 Min - 5 Minute Makeover Not much more too it than that! Here's how I go from just a wee bit mid workday drab, to super camera cute for appearances like the ones on Huff Post Live! It's a five minute job if you start with the right tools. I'm a Laura Mercier and Nars kinda girl!