Our Outsider Story
At one point or another, we’ve probably all felt the sting of not being seen, accepted, or even invited. The pain caused by these rejections, big or small, shapes us and plays a big role in how our internal narrative is developed. How we respond to not fitting in or feeling left out can either paralyze our destinies or set them on fire.
There’s a big difference between choosing our own path while valuing the opinions of others and letting those opinions shape how we see ourselves. One brings anxiety and regret, and the other brings freedom. When we free our hearts from the opinions of others, we don’t have to be invited to the table to feel significant. But when we are invited, we show up prepared to set our own place and serve others. Eventually, we learn the real secret.
WE BELONG WHERE WE SHOW UP.
We don’t wait for someone else to tell us we belong. We show up with our hearts open, our hands ready to work, and our minds prepared to learn. The driving force behind a true Outsider is rooted in love.
This path of courage is not one easily traveled. It often winds through uncharted territory and almost always requires a refusal to listen to the voices in our heads. The word Outsider might seem negative to many, but in my family, Outsider thinking has taken us on so many paths we would have otherwise missed out on. To us, this word has been a courageous call to live a life outside of the lines. It’s been an invitation to love deeply and value those in society who are often overlooked and undervalued. This road has been lonely at times, but it’s also full of adventure and opportunity for growth.
In 2008 we lost everything because of the recession. We were forced to pack up our little family and move back home to Southern Oregon from Portland where we had been living for 3 years. In 2011, still navigating how to parent two boys on the autism spectrum and recovering from almost two years with no job, we were gifted a home by our community and ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition. That gift sparked a revolution in my heart. It created a platform for me to lead and speak and give back to our sweet town.
I’m glossing over a lot. The home was and still is beautiful, but some of the experiences and relationships lost due to this blessing absolutely ripped our hearts out. Words were spoken behind our backs and in front of our faces and online. We weren’t used to being in the spotlight, and it brought us to a place that required a decision: Either we would allow the weight of the critical words spoken to break us and steal all of the good out of our lives, or we would move forward, refusing to give a vote to so many opinions and voices we hadn’t invited in.
There’s a bible verse that says, “If God is for me, then who can be against me?” One of my favorite speakers said that doesn’t mean we won’t face opposition, it means whatever is opposing us doesn’t get a vote. When we stop giving people we haven’t invited to speak into our lives a voice, we are choosing to walk the road of an OUTSIDER.
So much has happened over the last nine years to heal our family and equip us to give back. Choosing to be brave while facing our fears has become our new normal.
WAKE UP TO YOUR GREATNESS may sound encouraging or even inspiring, but these words are loaded. It’s hard to wake up to our greatness and chase the burning desires in our hearts and also to fit perfectly in the mold we’ve settled for our entire lives.
Most of the risks we’ve taken have started with “We’ve never done this before, but let’s see what happens.” In the past nine years, C.J. and I have written several books, launched an outreach called Fight Night, as well as a retreat series called STRIKE. These were all in an effort to wake people up to their greatness. In 2018 we launched The Wild Woman Magazine, founded on the same principle - because if you really knew how incredible you are and the power you carry, there would be no force on earth that could stop you from following your dreams.
In 2018, we sat down to have a serious talk about where we were going and what legacy we were creating for our boys. We love the message and the power of the retreat weekends, but we also knew there was more to it. We knew there was a missing piece to the puzzle. We went back to the days before kids: long road trips, deep conversations and dreams that seemed impossible. We picked up one of those dreams that was almost lost - but not forgotten, and we wondered what it would look like to forge something new from the old. What if we could take all that we loved about waking people up and combine it with our love of coffee? What if, instead of occasional weekend getaways and coaching sessions, we could love people and help them feel seen and valued...EVERY SINGLE DAY?
Our mission with Outsider Coffee is to wake people up to their greatness through daily inspirational calls to action so they can love themselves and impact their community. People have asked us how we intend to do that in a 90-second interaction at a drive-thru window. What we know is that genuine connection and truly seeing people only takes a few seconds. We’ve also created an online platform through social media and special cup designs that will help spread our message.
We want this place to feel like Cheers (If you’re younger than 37 you might have to google this golden sitcom), and we want every person passing through to feel like Norm. My pastor asked me if that makes me Carla. Rude! My point is, we want people to feel seen and welcomed and valued. We want to be that bit of inspiration that pushes people to take a step forward. Even if it’s just a small one.
So what does this have to do with being an Outsider? Our favorite definition of the word is “a contestant thought unlikely to win in a race.” This alludes to a dark horse, an underdog, someone with no experience that no one expects anything great from.
THIS IS US.
I’m a community college dropout. I started a church in a bar. All of what I know about marketing and design has been self-taught or learned through books and Youtube. Two of our four boys are on the autism spectrum, and I’ve always struggled with feeling like a failure as a mom. Always. We’ve started businesses and failed. We’ve lost everything. We’ve faced public humiliation and private rejection. We’ve known the comfort of the golden handcuffs (being at a job that pays good enough to make us question if following our dreams is even responsible). And still, we know every day is an opportunity to risk and to step out beyond what we know and are comfortable with.
We have embraced the call of the Outsider, the less-traveled road filled with challenge after challenge. We are determined to see setbacks as learning experiences, and we will counter sleepless, stress-filled nights with the overwhelming peace of knowing we are living our destiny.
You don’t have to quit your job or flip society the finger to find your place at the Outsider table. But you do have to choose to wake up to your purpose and to keep saying yes even when it feels impossible. When we choose the life of an Outsider, we see our failures as opportunities, and eventually, risk becomes a part of our DNA.
The bottom line is, we are no longer confined to what society says success looks like — we are no longer bound to doing what is expected. We are free to say yes in the face of impossibility. We can ultimately refuse to fit in and wake up to our own greatness.