• How Walking Your Path is Holding You Back

    I remember walking this path in Arches National Park on a cool October evening in 2016.

    Following a path in life can provide the safety in which to grow and find stability, but it can also hold you back. Find out more about the conundrum of walking your path. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    (Yep, that’s me and Z. Photo by the wonderful Dallas Hartwig.)

    We’d just watched the most amazing sunset overlooking the postcard perfect Delicate Arch…

    …and the light quickly slipped away on our return trip.

    Luckily we had a well worn path to safely guide us back to the car.

    I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the metaphor of paths and journeys…

    …and how the very well-worn trails that keep us on course can also keep us too comfortable, prevent us from ever veering off into the unknown, and ultimately mean we play it too safe.

    Following a path or having a goal…neither of these are bad, per se. But at what point do we begin to bind too tightly to what we “set out to do” that we struggle to pivot, to see new opportunities or to follow our damn hearts?

    It’s like the balance between self-care and taking care of others, focusing on a purpose outside ourselves. Neither is wrong, but when the balance tips too far in either direction, we suffer those effects.

    Following a path in life can provide the safety in which to grow and find stability, but it can also hold you back. Find out more about the conundrum of walking your path. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    (Delicate Arch in the long shadows of a late fall afternoon.)

    For a couple years (!) now, I’ve been wrestling with something, my heart being drawn in new directions, away from the path of being “just a paleo blogger” and only writing about food.

    Last January, I even wrote about it here on the site. The TL;DR is that I started a different website and was trying to run both, got confused and tired…and so did most of you.

    I have a lot to say about what it takes to build stronger, more resilient, harder to kill humans.

    Yes, that includes nourishing foods…

    …but it also means strengthening your body, recharging your energy, mastering your mindset, and connecting with your tribe.

    It’s about adventure, creativity, learning new things, and standing up for what matters.

    It’s about calling yourself on your own bullshit, examining your beliefs, and moving toward your best version of self so you can make the world around you better.

    It is, in essence, being on the path long enough to get yourself to a stable, strong place…

    …but then straying from the path to discover what else lies beyond it.

    Complacency = the stagnancy of mind, body, and soul. Comfort zones aren’t bad, but staying there too long means we don’t grow.

    Following a path in life can provide the safety in which to grow and find stability, but it can also hold you back. Find out more about the conundrum of walking your path. | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    (All smiles earlier on our walk in Arches National Park.)

    Over the past year, I’ve kept saying that I want to be more me…but here on the blog, I’ve not followed through. It’s been a lot of “good content” but not a lot from the heart, like this post. Secretly, I think it’s because I’ve been afraid to lose anyone, to put people off with non-recipe content…and to change.

    Recently, I’ve felt something shift inside me. (Please, no jokes about having gas lol!) And I realize that while high quality SEO-friendly recipes and articles matter on paper, they aren’t necessarily good at helping us – me and you – connect.

    New things are on the horizon (including a book early next year 🙊 and it’s not a paleo cookbook), and while I don’t know exactly when things will start rolling out, just know that it’s coming.

    I’m ready to venture off my well-trod trail so that I can help you be your most #GZF self. Let’s do this.

    I guess all of this is to say: Nobody has things all figured out (not even famous people)…

    and we’re all on this big, messy, exhilarating life path together, taking it step-by-step, hand in hand.

    I’d love to hear about your thoughts on walking the path versus stepping out into the unknown. Leave me a comment about a time you left the comfortable path.

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    51 thoughts on “How Walking Your Path is Holding You Back

      1. One step at a time. Break it down into smaller and smaller actions. Some motion…even a tiny amount…is better than none 🙂

    1. I thought of this the other day when you shared your top 9 and we’re disappointed that there were so many that weren’t “yours.” While I know Instagram can suck, I also thought that when I like memes/quotes/etc shared by people I follow, I like them because it shows me a more personal side of them that I can really relate to. Maybe people liking those things on your feed is a way of showing you that they want to know more than just your food/recipes. I, personally, am excited for you to share other content. I follow a TON of paleo/natural food accounts and pretty pictures of food and great recipes can feel redundant. The occasional meme/other content mixes up my own feed, makes me think, and helps me feel more connected to the account that posted it. All this is to say, yay!! Looking forward to 2018 SEP!

      1. Allie, you’re totally right in so many ways…looking at it from the perspective you gave really helped me see the situation in a new way. I really appreciate you stopping by to leave your thoughts!

    2. This really resonates with me today. I wouldn’t say I am struggling, but I am definitely in an introspective place….am I happy to continue down this 20 year path that leads to continued financial stability and the attainment of my original goals, or has the motivation of those around me shifted enough so that I can’t stay on the path with them. Am I willing to let my mind consider the possibility of starting over…..

      Thanks for this today. And, by the way, your recipes are about 20% of why I follow you. Your recipes are fantastic, but I feel that what you bring into my life in terms of mindset, outlook, motivation, being comfortable in your skin….those things are why I love you and your content!

      1. Oh Gwen! Big sappy hug coming your way, lady. Seriously…I’m holding space for YOU and your inner rumblings and wishing you all the best with whatever you choose. I don’t know if you’ll ever completely know how your kind words resonated for me today. Thank you <3

    3. So inspiring, Steph, and I want to say that I’ll follow your site wherever it goes, even if it is not recipe related. I know so many will, too, and those who won’t will be replaced by a new audience that will likely be more engaged and impacted by your important work. This year, I was accepted into a PHD program at Yale, and my husband and I left our well worn, comfy path of a life in Colorado to move to Connecticut. My husband left his well worn path of an engineering job to become a crossfit coach. And I left my well worn path of never traveling alone – I went to Scotland by myself, my first solo international trip. All of this has been remarkably empowering, despite any fears or challenges. I’m eager to do more of this in 2018! The momentum is addicting. Cheers to you, S!

      1. OMG Anne…how freaking exciting and WAY TO GO for doing so many new things off the beaten path. I must know what you thought of Scotland. (My husband lived there until 4 years ago.) Just hearing your about your momentum makes ME feel excited and energized. Super appreciate all your kind words!

    4. Relating so hard to going off path because I’m right in the middle of it! 2017 was a year that shook my identity and the life I thought I had made for myself is gone. 2018 will still have remnants of my old path but it’s also the year I will truly have to break trail. So exhilarating and so frightening – all at once! I’m looking forward to what 2018 has in store for all of us.

      1. Thank you SO much for sharing this, A. I think it helps to know that we’re all sort of in this together, you know? There’s a certain magic to the mix of exhilarating/frightening, isn’t there?

    5. In 2008 we sold our house and nearly everything in it to move into a motorhome and go exploring this wonderful country of the USA. It was a blast!
      Having now settled down in one place again we appreciate more the comforts of the familiar.

      1. Wow Linda…how incredible. It must have been quite the experience and I bet you have some stories to tell! I love how life ebbs and flows like that…

    6. I dig your recipes, use them quite often. I would love to hear some more from the heart, your pod cast and live IGs have fired me up more than a few times. So go on, step off the path!
      Cheers 💚💚

    7. Excited for what’s to come!! I think a mix of everything is great Iin all realms – work, life, good, fitness. This past year my resolution / mantra was “just do it” (thanks Nike!) and even though t could be uncomfortable or not awesomeness depending on what I was tackling, it was always worth it!!!

    8. Love this so much Steph! I’m hoping to take a similar journey in my business this year. It’s definitely scary but so worth it to genuinely connect with your audience. I’ll continue to follow your lead as a badass entrepreneur role model!

      1. I’m so comforted to know I’m not the only one, Laura, so thank you for sharing your thoughts about the journey you’re taking as well. Totally scary haha but I guess that makes it really feel like being alive. Rooting for you!

    9. When I think of you and your social media presence I don’t feel like I know you for your recipes. I think Your recipes are awesome and your food related content is always so amazingly photographed and delicious looking and top notch for sure, but I follow you for and really get excited by your content like this. I don’t want your food content to go away by any means, like you mentioned it totally fits nicely into your “total package” that at least I perceive you as. (I may have even described you as “my spirit animal” when explaining you to a friend and why she should follow you. Then realized it sounded strange but something about the essence of it just felt right. I think it’s that you have this boldness and spirit to you that I want to embrace more in my life. And hopefully that made some sense and didn’t seem too creepy!) Basically, Love this kind of content. Keep it coming and keep sharing what you feel called to share cause it’s some awesome shit.

      1. Sam, holy cow. Thanks so much for sharing all of this with me. My goodness, what a gift you’ve given me here. This resonates so much with me, and I’m so thankful you took some time out of your day to share it. Happy new year!

    10. I’m leaving my comfy place (the home I’ve had for more than a decade, where I raised my four children to adulthood) despite the fact that it’s located in primo territory [Silicon Valley] for my business (personal defense for women & girls – based on Tony Blauer’s SPEAR System, speaking about and coaching how to navigate through fear). I’ll be in a completely different living environment up in the mountains, with a 3+ hour drive between me and the Valley (which is not just where I’ve begun building my business, it’s also where my fiancé lives and works) so to say that it is going to cause some challenges and changes is an understatement! But it also will open up new markets (Sacramento and El Dorado Gold country), get me out of suburbia and into nature (along with my horse, my dogs and my cats) and give the three kids who are still living at home an incentive to step out on their own.

      What you wrote about your desire to “be more you” really resonates with me. At age 55 after having held myself back, put myself last in order to put my family first, and sucked it up to keep things together when they fell apart and there was no one but me to deal with the chaos of kids in turmoil and an elderly mother reaching the end of her years….. that desire to FINALLY be 100% me, to go for my dreams and pour myself wholeheartedly into living the life I truly desire, is SO STRONG!! And I no longer worry about what anyone else thinks about my choices and my actions. NOW I can pivot, dive into new opportunities and follow follow my heart, and DAMN it feels good! (Scary, but who cares about that?)

      Thank you for sharing this post. I’m truly looking forward to “More Steph” in whatever ways and places you decide to travel!

      1. Cynthia, you are brave and courageous beyond measure. Thank you for sharing so openly where you’re at and what’s going through your mind. I’m rooting for you 110% and I can’t wait to see what you create. Time to shine!

      2. Wow, Cynthia, I’m 56, and stuck. I feel I’ve left my dreams on hold while I moved to another state, for my husbands dreams. Raised my children, and then my husband had a brain tumor. He survived, but is not the man I married. So many thoughts about change are flowing through me, but I’m afraid to think about myself again. My Masters in Nursing is going unused, I know I need to go back to school, and I want to move. So, thank you for your inspiration as I read this today. I want my life back, too!

    11. I am walking the path right now, and it’s terrifying. And the thought of not walking down it feels even worse. It’s bringing up a lot of things I’ve internalized and it’s making me confront them and rethink all the things that I thought made me me, or take off the badges I’ve had on me so for long.

      And I’m so excited for the changes you’re going to bring here. I’m also feeling that feeling of nutrition is only the first step of many, and I love the other things you bring to helping me be an unbreakable human. So in for the ride. oxoxo

      1. Thanks for sharing this, Aimee. I know the steps you’ve taken, and I want to reflect back at you how brave and full of courage you’ve been…to keep walking even when you’re scared says a lot about who you are. I have so much appreciation for you and for the work you’re doing in the world. We need your gifts, so keep bringing it…and I’m going to do my damn best to do the same. Much love!

    12. I have never been confident in my own skin. I have never felt thin enough, pretty enough, strong enough (the list goes on and on…) so I thought that diets would fix that. When they didn’t, I reached for the self-help books for acceptance.

      So to say that I have struggled would be an understatement, but a few weeks ago everything changed. I have always loved your blog, but didn’t know much about your Harder to Kill challenge. I took a chance and signed up. I knew instantly this was something completely unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. Weight is moving, mindset is changing, and for the first time that I can really remember, I LOVE myself!

      Basically this is a long, sappy comment to say that you have changed my life! I will definitely be following along and super excited fro what’s to come! You seriously are the BEST!!

      1. My dear Michelle…I’ve read and re-read these wonderful words since you commented and I’m coming up short with a response that can adequately convey my gratitude for your trust and courage. I’m so honored to have had the chance to walk with you on this part of your journey, and I’m excited to see where it all leads for you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart <3

    13. So I found you originally from the recipes but I started following you on IG BCS I saw glimpses of what was truly driving you rumbling underneath it all… you heart, your desire to help people become better humans and THAT shit is gold. You have a lot to offer by way of your own experiences and your own reflections and I’ll catch myself, hands clenched thinking, “YAAAAAAASS!” for some of the things you say. I know it’s terrifying branching off the path, I’m doing it myself this year, but know that whomever you may lose because they just want recipes and not to look at themselves differently, you’ll find a whole NEW audience to replace whomever you may lose. And you’ll lose people but I feel like you free yourself from old form of you and those who don’t resonate will fall away leaving room for more support, love and growth. Shit, I’m even doing that w friends in life… ANYWAY… I fully support your meandering shifts as you figure this out and do what makes your heart feel full. I’ll prob be an even bigger fan while slurping my cauliflower, leek soup, which I’m doing right now, btw. 😜

      1. Oh my gosh, I really needed to hear this. Thank you for your kind words and reflections.

        And you’re totally right…I’m looking forward to really hanging out with passionate, courageous people like you who want to squeeze the juice out of life. Thanks for being here and being My People.

        1. You are very welcome and I’m totally digging so many incredible people seeming to make this shift at the moment bcs ya know the shit you want to focus on is SO NEEDED right now for SO MANY! Amiright?! *zen dudette emoji*

          1. I hope it gives others courage and comfort. And yes! Totally interesting to see so many people changing direction. You are totally right <3

    14. If it helps, the recipes are not the main thing that keeps me coming back. I’m a terrible cook. Total wellness is about so much more than food, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on ALL THE THINGS.

    15. A few years ago, I left my job with no other job lined up. It had become too toxic, and I needed to leave. That was definitely walking off my path! I landed on my feet and found something amazing in a new location. Now, I’m finding my work is no longer fulfilling me like it used to, and I feel like I’ve lost my voice. Now that I have come to this realization, I’m taking steps to figure out what my next, new path will be. To use a word from your friend Allegra, it’s terrexcitifying!

      Also, the reason I follow your work is because of your authentic voice. In everything you create and share, I can tell you want others to grow and thrive, and it doesn’t matter whether it is through food or your podcast or your writing, it’s YOU. It’s inspiring and it resonates. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

      1. Hey Catherine…thank you for sharing your story. I think there’s definitely something to honoring those feelings and exploring other paths, as you’ve done in the past. I’m cheering you on as you go off-road. And yes…terrexcitifying!

        I’m so full of gratitude for your kindness and encouragement. Thank you so much.

    16. For my fortieth birthday last year, I gave myself the gift of a completely new career. I am thankful to have a spouse that supported me, but it was a leap and I am still figuring out all that it means. Trust your gut, the peace that comes from being authentic is worth the fear.

      1. Wow Sarah, that is very courageous and brave. And this –> “the peace that comes from being authentic is worth the fear” is so beautifully stated. Thank you.

    17. Thank you for your article, you are truly an inspirational woman! And all the subsequent posts are also inspiring! I need to start thinking about my path so far I’ve extended myself to starting up knitting!! That’s it! 😂🙈
      6 yrs ago my husband, me, and our 1 yr old, moved from the uk to a 3yr post in Johannesburg. 3 miscarriages, 2 beautiful children and an extra 2 yrs added we have just moved back to the Uk. A part I’ve never lived in before.. it’s a challenge, a jump, into the unknown, my 6yr old has adhd, my 3yr old has hearing and speech difficulties and my 1 yr old is a rascal. They are amazing kids. They are my world and Very very loud.
      I am excited that you’ll be writing more about stepping into the unknown, small things to some are huge deals to others, and to be able to have some guidance, inspiration, that extra little bit of courage, my dear you make a LOT of difference to people who may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the day to day!
      I’m so excited to follow you as you embark on your new journey!

      1. Hi Rachel…wow that’s quite a move from the UK to Jo’burg! And it sounds like you have a lot to keep you busy. Parents have me in awe because it seems like the toughest job in the world. I hope that you find adventure and ways to embrace this new opportunity. Thank you for the very kind words! <3

    18. I have recently started following you, and I was drawn to you because of your strength balanced with vulnerability, your encouragement and your approach to life, not your recipes. I came across your Paleo CFA, on the other hand, and I think it just changed my children’s lives. 🙂 You have so much to offer that goes beyond your ability to craft recipes. I, like some others above, see so many recipes posted online that it starts to feel repetitive (though I love to cook and do love delicious, healthy recipes). Your well-balanced approach to food, workouts, love and grace for self and living life fully are what make you so compelling. When I watch your FB live videos, it feels like you’re sitting in my family room talking to me. That’s because you are vulnerable and honest and you truly care about your work. Thanks for everything that I have already learned from you, and the encouragement to me (and all your followers) to live the best life we can. What work could be more important than that?

      1. Hi Leslie! Wow thank you for all the very kind words here. When I look at the really tribe-building posts and articles, it’s always ones like these even though food seems infinitely more “attractive.” Thanks for being a bright light and for lifting me up.

    19. For a story, of changing my path, I was on a path to be a classical pianist when I was a teenager. When I turned 17, I completely changed gears and decided to go to engineering school. That was hard because everyone knew me as “that girl who can play piano really well.” I then moved on to get my bachelors and masters degrees in aerospace engineering. I worked at a military aircraft contractor for a few years before moving away from aerospace. Again, that was hard because it had always sounded so impressive to tell people that I was a rocket scientist. 😉 I worked in software for a few more years, and then completely stopped working when I had twins. It was hard to move from an intellectually stimulating job, where I felt people respected me and I had established myself professionally, to breastfeeding two babies who seemed to cry endlessly. But that was the most rewarding decision I have ever made.

      Now, I’m a mom of 3, considering moving back into engineering (dipping my toes in part-time) and trying to figure out what my next path is. With every change, I was scared of the unknown, but they all turned out to be the best decisions for my life. I have never regretted not pursuing a piano degree. I can play piano every day at home, but I can’t be an aerospace engineer without a degree in it. I have never regretted moving away from aerospace to software, even though I had 6+ years of schooling in aerospace and everyone thought I was crazy. I learned so much at that software company, and I was stretched in so many ways. I will never regret staying at home with my kids the past 7 years (even though people ask me whether I think it was a waste of time that I got my engineering degrees – um… NO!). Now, it feels like I’m going to jump off a cliff by going back to work (hello, mommy guilt), but I just keep reminding myself that nothing is permanent and I’m the captain of my own ship. If this doesn’t work out, I’ll just quit.

      Best of luck to you in these upcoming decisions of which direction to move. I can’t imagine that you would have anything but success by branching out into all the other areas that you are so clearly gifted in.

      1. WOW what a great story…a woman of many talents and convictions. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your own journey here. When you say, “I’m the captain of my own ship,” it reminds me of the poem Invictus and the last line: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Love it and I’m rooting for you!

    20. Go forth and conquer!! Get off your well worn path! We have got your back! I came here originally for a recipe link. I am not Paleo but it looked tasty. I have been coming back ever since for the rest of your content. Thanks for my weightlifting coaching (you should see my clean now!), thanks for reminding me to love myself first and thanks for the encouragement to take charge of my life and health. Now listen to your own advice and go take over the world!

      1. Oh my goodness Angela, thank you so much for letting me know all of this. You’ve put a big smile on my face this morning. Much love to you…and great work on those cleans!!

    21. I love this Steph – can’t wait to see what else you put out. Like many others, I found you through your recipes but have stayed around because I just love all of your content! I had been in a job for 16 years, and after 3 terrible years they decided to make changes & I found myself jobless. Honestly, I kick myself for not being the one to make the break before they did – if I had really been looking inside myself (and not so scared of change) I would have done it! I’m now doing some project work (and have been for the last year) and while it’s terrifying for my Type A personality to not know what my hours/responsibilities/projects will be 3 months from now, over the last year I’ve learned that the peace of mind I’ve found, not dealing with all of the stress of my old job, is WAY worth the stress &/or anxiety of the unknown. I’m also able to be around physically & mentally for my family and take better care of myself. I hope that the next time I have the chance to make that kind of choice I can gather a little bit of what I’ve learned and do what’s right for me!

      1. Hi Carla…I appreciate you sharing about some of the challenges you’ve been up against and lessons you’ve learned. It’s so easy to look back and think “shoulda done that sooner” but sometimes those events can be our most powerful teachers going forward. I’m glad you’ve made the connection between the mental freedom you’ve gained AND the opportunity to take care of yourself and your family. You’re doing awesome.

    22. I’m glad you’re taking this step! I agree that it’s scary – I’ve often wanted to do the same on my blog, but there’s that fear of losing followers, losing interest, wasting your time. But I’m so inspired by bloggers like you, who push beyond the SEO-friendly, “make a 3-figure income blogging” mindset, and really connect with people. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and connecting with you more!

      1. I know the feeling Chelsea…I really do. That fear can keep you paralyzed. I know that I’ve been wanting to shift for a couple years but it was only recently that I found the confidence in myself to make the decision. When you’re ready, you’ll be ready…and I’m here to support you if you need it!

    23. Good for you, Steph! Can’t see what you come up with and how you grow! I just bought the book Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud today….as I say my own good-byes. I am actually SO excited about what is to come! My soccer coach used to tell me to stay on the balls of my feet or I would twist an ankle…I had to be ready for a change in direction. I still live by that advice!! On your toes, girls!!!

      1. Hey Gretchen…wow thank you for sharing that book with me and for passing along that story. I LOVE that soccer analogy (I’m a former soccer player so it hits home for sure). I’m on my toes and ready to pivot. Big hugs!

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