This post is sponsored by Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4
If you got an invitation to journey to the desert with three people you didn’t know for a trip that would cover “interesting terrain and experiences” and require “a moderate to high level of activity,” would you say yes? I did and have no regrets.
Let me back up for a minute to say that as most human beings are, I am a creature of habit. My former life as a teacher was completely predictable thanks to a school year that was similar from one to the next, and days that were even more so because elementary-aged students thrive on routine. There was only so much wiggle room for adventure in my old job; so when I abandoned the confines of my classroom with its predictable schedule to jump into a full-time career of blogging and social media consulting, my life became anything but predictable.
But as I taught my students, the best learning comes from our own discomfort. And in the past eight and half years I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned a lot.
Which brings me back to the present.
While the email invitation I received may have sounded like a call to audition for a new reality show, it was my introduction to Corning Incorporated and the beginning of my work with them on Corning® Gorilla® Glass, specifically Gorilla Glass 4.
For the past nine months, you’ve seen the incredible images chronicling my adventures with Juliana Dever, Kelly Olexa, and Beth Santos during two trips that traversed tough terrain in the Arizona desert. You’ve also gotten a behind-the-scenes look at how tough Gorilla Glass 4 really is during lab tests at Corning Headquarters in New York. What you haven’t gotten to see is how I left my comfort zone back in October and what I’ve learned about myself since thanks to these three amazing women.
Always Tough, Always Innovating Isn’t Just About Glass
As creatures of habit, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. Especially when it comes to fitness. Thanks to the challenge of fat tire biking miles through the desert during our first Corning adventure, I stepped up my game and started going to spin class regularly. But then I met Kelly Olexa and started to think beyond the bike.
As the founder of FitFluential, Kelly is THE person to follow if you need a daily pep talk about taking charge of your body and wellness. She freely shares what works for her through her social media feeds and provides endless positivity as she motivates you with her can-do attitude. She applies Corning’s Always Tough, Always Innovating slogan to fitness through her belief that we should always strive to be better.
I’ve adopted Kelly’s #BetterThanMyYesterday mantra as I train for my first ever half marathon! I’m leaving my 5K comfort zone and going the distance, running to raise $2,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as I train for their half marathon this December. I have to admit that it makes me a little nervous to think about 13.1 miles, but even on my toughest training days, I keep putting one foot in the other while I hear Kelly in my head whispering words of encouragement as I strive to be #BetterThanMyYesterday.
You Don’t Need to Be a Parent to Have Multitasking Superpowers
If you were to ask Beth Santos what my superpower is, she might say multitasking, but I’d have to say the same is true of her. While not a mom herself, Beth’s ability to juggle a million different balls at the same time amazes me. She just graduated from Northwestern with an MBA, and while that’s enough work for some, it wasn’t enough for Beth.
While going to school to earn her MBA, Beth was also managing Wanderful, her incredible network of traveling women that spans the globe; running the Women in Travel Summit she founded; conducting interviews to add more people to her staff; and most recently, packing up her Chicago home and traveling between there and her new home town of Boston while enduring a long-distance relationship (her husband is already in their new city).
Beth has mastered the art of multitasking well before becoming a parent, a conversation that we were having as we hightailed it out of the canyon after seeing the Betatakin Ruins to beat the rain. If you happen to run into her, she is likely to tell you a very true story about how I held a full conversation with her about becoming a mom while eating a sandwich and hiking back up the switchbacks from the canyon floor. It’s not anything that would surprise a fellow parent, but something we both got a good laugh about when she turned around and saw that I had been eating, talking, and walking all at the same time! Beth has elevated the art of multitasking and is skilled at handling her personal and professional life with grace and a smile. I know that she is well-suited for motherhood when the time comes.
Every Story is Better When Told by Juliana Dever
Actress, world traveler, lover of goats, and endless skills to match those of her Renaissance man husband, Seamus, Juliana Dever and I can be in the same place, experiencing the exact same thing, but she will always tell the better story on Clever Dever Wherever or social channels. She’s a skilled storyteller whose words and incredible visuals captivate audiences. (Just read Being a Cowboy: It’s More Than Just Snakes and Beans and you’ll see!) Her ability to provide distinct content for Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and her blog on a regular basis is as mind-blowing as the way she interacts with her followers.
It doesn’t surprise me that Juliana’s talents also extend into producing movies that incorporate the latest technology like virtual reality and 360. Last week Juliana debuted Touched by Destiny, a four-part virtual reality series that is now available on the Corning Gorilla Glass YouTube channel. This charming story showcases Juliana’s incredible storytelling ability in 360 degrees! Here’s the trailer for you, check it out!
We Are Stronger Together
One of my biggest takeaways from spending time with Kelly, Beth, and Juliana is the power that we have together. Individually, we’re like the grains of sand that come together to form glass. We can exist separately but we’re more powerful together. I love that the four of us have individual strengths and talents we bring to the table, but our power lies in the combined skills that result from us putting our heads together and sharing our what we know with one another.
Kelly, Beth, and Juliana are among the smartest, tenacious, hardworking, and fun women I know. I am forever changed for taking leap of faith and saying yes to Corning when it would have been so easy to say no while continuing to operate within my comfort zone.
Although this post is sponsored as part of my work with Corning, all opinions are my own and based on personal experience.