Outside The Box

Written by Kristen Norris


Posted on June 26 2021

Thank you for all the great feedback for blog 1.0... putting myself out there has been terrifying but also super exhilarating when people connect to it. This entrepreneurship journey has led us down paths we never thought we would take.

Mike and I could have never imagined a year ago that a conversation on our back deck would lead us to where we are now.  Our basement never saw it coming either...now known as our SafeLunch headquarters.  

How it all began was much like many of our life decisions…impulsive and a little insane!  It was on my dad’s 65th birthday which to me is very significant and full of meaning. My dad was an entrepreneur himself and built an incredibly successful business out of nothing. So, I think I may have it in my blood…what I wouldn’t give to have a sit down talk with him today. We lost my dad 6 years ago this past March and not a day goes by or a SafeLunch sale, that I don’t think of him. 

Anyways…back to the conversation on the deck that led to our basement becoming a backpack and lunch bag warehouse. It was June 25th 2020, Mike and I were chatting about how much had changed since the beginning of the pandemic and how there were many things we were enjoying…the slow down…the time at home…spending less money…all had their benefits.

We had been working from home since March and Mike had been expressing interest in e-commerce and the possibility of starting something of our own. I had just got off a live staff meeting and there was a lot of discussion around what schools would look like in the fall. There were still many unknowns at that point. And someone specifically brought up how difficult lunch was going to be at school…how would it ever be Covid friendly? 

I had always had a vision of the perfect lunch bag for our kids with all my germ stressing and hatred of packing lunches over the years. I have been very clear from the start that SafeLunch is not a Covid driven brand because let’s face it there are a lot of illnesses out there besides Covid.  Like I said, in the last blog…kids pick their nose…A Lot…it’s a FACT! And just wait until we let them out of these bubbles they have been in for a year and a half…YIKES! 

Covid just gave us that push we needed to take the leap.  So I threw the idea out there and that’s all it took. Looking back I really can’t believe what we accomplished in a very short period of time. I also can’t believe we had the balls to do what we did. I truly believe there was a higher power or driving force. 

Whatever you believe in, whether it’s religious based or not I think we all believe something about universal pushes and pulls and something bigger than us. Over the years I have become to believe there is universal signs all around me, giving me the push or pull I need to follow my path. In the last couple years I have began to believe it just may be my dad. There have been too many unexplainable, miraculous things happen for me since he has been gone that opened doors and helped me along my path, for me to deny the help…but those stories are for another blog. 

Whatever or whoever it was, it drove Mike and I to work day and night for several weeks to get the wheels of SafeLunch moving. The website, designing product, product manufacturing, trademarks and the list goes on and on.  All things we had never done but were finding a new found interest in. 

There is something empowering about taking a leap of faith and going all in.  Have you ever come up with an idea or wanted to do something and once you said it out loud you just had to try it? You had to do it because you knew you would always wonder what could have been? 

It could be anything, not necessarily starting a business. Applying for a new job, quitting a job, moving to a new city, trying for a baby, adopting a child, buying a new house, the list is endless. Ideas and desires that stick with us and give us no choice but to go for it. That day on the deck Mike and I had no choice but to go for it.  And before we knew it we were in too deep to turn back. 

Many of our family and friends thought we were crazy!  And I understand why…it was pretty insane and totally outside the box.  But, the amazing thing about stepping outside the box is it opens doors to places you never dreamed were possible. I have to admit this wasn’t the first time Mike and I have stepped outside the box. And certainly not the first time we have been the topic of our friend’s dinner time conversations.  But again, that’s all for another blog. 

What I can tell you is stepping outside the box has opened doors to an amount of joy, love and passion that I never knew was possible.  Following my gut, listening to the signs around me, trusting I am making the right choice all worked together to push us forward. But, don’t get me wrong…we were also s#%^ing our pants. Stepping outside the box also leads to many feelings of doubt and fear. It’s the doubt and fear that often gets in the way of finding the self-fulfilled happiness we all long for. 

I have to be honest it isn’t easy taking the leap and what I know is, the scarier the leap, the more reward at the end of the jump.  Doubt SUCKS! It creeps in when we least expect it and makes us question everything. And there have certainly been days of doubt on our SafeLunch journey.  But, I can honestly say there have been more days of pure joy.

We still celebrate every sale like it’s our first and get excited about all the places we hope we can take SafeLunch to. It has been a journey that has brought us closer, and one I can’t wait to see where it takes us next.  

If you are currently pondering stepping outside the box…I say go for it! Take the leap!  Push through the doubt and listen to the signs, listen to your gut, trust in the journey. If you have already stepped outside the box…I am cheering for you and encourage you to continue to push past the fear and the doubt to reap the rewards. Because, we only have now…what tomorrow holds we don’t know.  You don’t have time to wonder what if I had stepped outside the box?



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