Getting Uncomfortable # 7: Naked Yoga, Ethiopian Foods and Dead Ends

I get enjoyably distracted while running into some career dead ends this week.

5 minutes
Haley Stomp

March was full of promise — in like a lamb. Momentum, manatees, Florida skies, grapefruit drinks, beach yoga and spring breezes. I’ve suppressed any bad Iowa weather days, including the wind tunnel we lived in for weeks, because it’s time to pack up and ship those memories off to make room for May flowers.

Those March winds of change were brewing up a bit of a storm going into April, one of those gulley washers that erased the slate clean. One day I’m negotiating multiple deals and a partnership and the next I’m back to square zero, wondering when this twilight zone moment of my life is going to become something recognizable. I went past uncomfortable to numb.


I know you’re probably reading this to find out about naked yoga and I’ll get there, but what kind of marketing person would I be if I covered that first? I did some things over the past month and a half to get uncomfortable in the spirit of my original project. I tried Ethiopian food. It was nice. It was a bit like Indian and Mexican food had a baby — lots of little samples of sauces and vegetables and some nice meat options all pulled together with rice and soft, fluffier-than-a-crepe, rolled up pancake bread called injera. Injera is made from a fermented dough of teff flour. According to Wikipedia, teff is a species of lovegrass native to the Horn of Africa. If I were the teff flour people, I’d definitely be branding it “lovegrass”, and I’m keeping “lovegrass” on hand in case I need a new nickname. Injera was delightful and paired nicely with the spicy, saucy sides. It also paired nicely with my lunch company, my friend, fellow small business owner and life coach/leadership guru, Alicia, who invited me to experience this new cuisine.

Ethiopian lunch with injera and vegetarian sides — Yum!

Dead Ends Are The Beginning

Sometimes life gives you obvious signs, and other times the message is subtle. When I was single in my late 20s and looking for the next chapter, I vividly remember driving to an address for a first date, probably following printed Mapquest directions, and turning onto a street with a big “Dead End” sign posted. I remember thinking, “I hope this isn’t a sign about the date.” In that case, it was an accurate, in-my-face message that took me the better part of a year to heed. That, kids, is how we become smarter by our 40s.

At the beginning of this year, I was pursuing something professionally for a few months that was exciting and felt good and the “uh-oh” signs were subtle or seemed surmountable. I could feel a real grounded momentum coming back. I visualized where it could go, and I’d reconnected with important people. Then one day it was over, just like that.

Although I’ve learned over the last two years not to get too attached to new ideas, I was disappointed to let it go. I was getting closer to the right thing. But, like moving past the bad dates, closing the door on the wrong situation leaves the window wide open for something better. In research, the faster you fail, the more iterations you make and the higher the chance of finding a winning solution. It’s in the name — re-search. You search and re-search until you’ve dialed in to the answer. Every new piece of data directs you. There is no “bad” data, just data. So, I take my new data and keep moving forward, knowing that every day of research brings me closer.

Surprise! Naked Yoga

Which leads me to naked yoga. Honestly, I’m not sure how I’m tying this to anything, but I file it under “uncomfortable” and “interesting enough to share.” Trying to gain new inspiration, I headed to the bookstore to see what’s trending. I bought the latest Harvard Business Review full of articles on strategic thinking — right up my alley, a Scandi Design magazine to dream about spaces in which I’d love to live, and I also picked up a nice-looking magazine titled The Big Guide To Yoga. Weekly yoga with my amazing instructor, Lily, has grounded me over the last two years and been a place of confidence building, meditation and friendship. This magazine promised to inspire me to level up my practice. I flipped through the magazine at home. Page after page I thought, confidently, “I can do that position. I can do that position. I’ve learned that one.” I was almost through the magazine when I was surprised to discover the four-page spread on naked yoga, complete with pictures of naked people doing yoga together in a studio. “I have not done that,” I thought, uncomfortably. The article gently argues the benefits for those needing to see their bodies in more positive light, and I can empathize with those choosing to do it.

I googled “naked yoga near me” and luckily there isn’t anything close unless I want to do an online class. I won’t be pursuing naked yoga, but it did make me think about confidence and all the cool things our bodies do for us. It also reminded me that taking action leads to new opportunities. You never know what surprises lie ahead when you hit a dead end and you pursue new things. Here’s to spring and new beginnings. If anyone wants to borrow my big guide to yoga to read while eating lovegrass, let me know!

Author’s photo of May flowers