Meet McKayla Tracy! McKayla is an entrepreneur, fiancé to a blind and hard of hearing combat wounded veteran, and lover of all things vision + goals! Her fiancé, Aaron, is a fellow adventurer, exceptional athlete, and inspirational speaker. They started a fudge company back in December 2015 called Extra Ordinary Delights. Their company was created during an excruciating time in both of their lives although they didn’t know it at the time. Aaron came down with bacterial meningitis in August 2015 (after already going blind in Afghanistan in 2011). This bacterial infection wiped out his hearing completely causing complete deafness for 5 months. During this time of darkness and complete silence, Aaron reverted back to his love of cooking. The cooking started right around Thanksgiving (their favorite time of year!) because they decided to have all of their friends and family over for the holiday. Aaron began crafting desserts of all varieties but most notably, fudge. McKalya was gifting the fudge away to neighbors, friends, her favorite barista, and just about anyone who could take some off their hands. Within days, they had friends of friends requesting “More, please!” so Aaron got to work making fudge for local baby showers and birthday parties.
Getting inside the kitchen gave Aaron purpose…a reason to wake up every morning despite his obstacles. When she noticed this shift, she immediately knew they had to move full speed ahead creating something out of this hobby. McKayla was able to bring all of the skills and tools she learned working for lululemon athletica to help Aaron create a successful business. Now, they share their fudge all over the country and enjoy advocating for veterans, their families, and connecting with their large community.
You can find McKayla & Aaron at their websites listed below:
What rocks your bliss?
I’ve always had a knack for connecting with others—this shows up in my love for all things community, sweaty pursuits, and sharing my journey with other caregivers. This work feels really big, important, and close to home. It’s only been recently that veteran caregivers are being given recognition for the role they play in recovery time, mental health, and keeping veteran families together. I’m committed to helping other caregivers find the necessary resources to take care of themselves first in order to care for their loved one(s). I’m especially grateful for an organization called Holidays for Heroes—they’ve offered immense resources and tools to Aaron and I as we have been discovering what our new normal looks like this past year.
Describe your perfect day.
I wake up at 6AM to meet a good friend for a sweaty yoga practice. We connect on recent ongoings in our lives and enjoy the best practice from our favorite yoga instructor. Afterwards, we head to the local coffee shop to sip on hand-crafted iced brews and talk vision + goals. We strategize together knowing that with the help and support of others our goals come alive! I come home to my sweet, sweet man and we spend the afternoon and evening talking about our upcoming travel plans. We’re headed to speak with several corporations about what it means to overcome obstacles and reach beyond perceived barriers. Later on, Aaron and I work in the kitchen together to cook dinner for friends and family—we enjoy entertaining on a regular basis. The evening ends loving up on Aaron and telling him just how excited I am for our future.
When do you feel most creative and alive?
I feel most creative and alive after a super sweaty workout—this can be anything from a rockin’ spin class to a calming heated yoga practice. When the sweat starts dripping, I’m tapping into the best version of myself. It’s in this state that obstacles don’t seem as grand and solutions appear to be plenty.
Share a huge goal you are rocking.
One HUGE goal I’m rocking is building a business while being in the practice of self love. I’ve found the major importance of taking care of myself while providing so much care to those around me—this was not a pretty discovery! However, once I learned this lesson I leaned into the space of asking myself everyday, “What can you do for YOU today?” I absolutely love growing our business and collaborating with Aaron on its development. Everyday there’s a new list of tasks that need tending—solving website issues, placing orders for our next deliveries of ingredients and supplies, Skype calls with our marketing team about designs…and the list goes on. Sometimes it can be challenging to fit “me time” into this fast-paced work week but scheduling time for myself has become just as important as scheduling time to speak with a potential vendor or guest.
If you could get on a plane right now, where are you going?
I am so excited for the day I get to adventure through Italy and Rome. Aaron was stationed in Italy as a chef in the U.S. Navy for about 8 years—he has so many incredible stories from that time in his life and we can’t wait to go there together to experience the rich culture and history.
How do you handle setbacks?
2015 was filled with incredible people, limitless love, and also many setbacks. Looking back on the trauma Aaron and I experienced this past year, I’ve always leaned on my spirituality to sustain me in times of uncertainty and challenge. When I’ve felt at times that I didn’t have the physical, mental, or emotional strength to pull through a hard day at the hospital or unsettling news from a doctor, my faith in something more—a higher power, if you will—gave me the energy to move forward and persevere.
I’ve found that in times of good health and happiness, I work on building up my "spiritual cupboard” by getting my yoga practice in, visiting with Grandma an extra hour, waking early to cuddle with Aaron, volunteering, reading literature that fills my cup, and spending time with people who inspire my growth.
How do you come home to yourself?
I come home to myself by revisiting my core values. I keep these on an orange sticky note on my bathroom mirror. If I’m ever off-center and need guidance, I ask myself if the thing that is throwing me off-balance is aligned with my core values. Most of the time, it’s not and that's a good indicator for me to recommit or make other arrangements for moving forward.
What are 3 ways you rock the self LOVE?
I rock self love by:
Participating in groups and activities that align with my core values and the legacy I am creating in this world. My favorites include:
-igolu series calls lead by Jacki Carr
-Signing up for workshops at my local yoga studio, Yoga Haus. Inversion workshops? Hell yes! Yoga Nidra? Sign me up!
-Planning a coffee date with a goal-getter friend and talking all about plans-of-action.