Last week I hopped on a plane and traveled over 1000 miles in hopes of a few things: a fun time with one of my best friends, downtime away from my kids, and to have my butt lovingly kicked by a line up of fantastic speakers at the Rise Conference. I’m happy to report that I checked off all three, and then some. I dug into some hard things, learned some powerful truths, and left feeling more energized and certain than I’ve felt in a long time.
That whole weekend, along with this underlying dream I’ve had in my heart for years and years to do something BIG that I just have been too afraid to tap into, was really the catalyst into the changes you are seeing with this blog, this space (if you missed Wednesday's announcement you may want to stop and go read that first). I came home excited but also scared to say out loud the dreams and beliefs I was having in myself. The dream to reach and encourage more women. The dream to build this community even bigger and stronger that it is now. The dream to share my story in big and small spaces. The dream to be a provider for my family. Although I am really sad to see Courtney step back from this community we built together and to close that chapter of Cold Coffee Hot Mess, I am so thankful that we are both in a place where we can clearly see the right paths for ourselves. And although they ended up being different paths, they are both good because they are what is right for each of us. How lucky are we? Two women standing sure and confident in their dreams.
I think it can be easy to look around and see what someone else is doing and think that’s what you should be doing, too. But at the end of the day we have to let go of any guilt we are feeling over something we aren’t wired for, or something we don't even want to do in the first place (that truth bomb is from Mica May of May Designs). We aren’t in competition with one another and our dreams don’t need to look like anyone else’s. Can you even imagine a world where we all were trying to do the exact same thing? How sad would that be?? We each have such rich things to bring to the table. And the beauty is that there’s enough room for each and every one of us. If we waste our time comparing and striving for something that isn’t right for us, we are going to be left exhausted and depleted. Comparison is truly the death of joy. I’ll add in that striving for something that you aren’t supposed to be striving for is a sure way to kill joy in your life, too.
I’ve learned that sometimes the biggest obstacles we face in going after what we want is ourselves. I had this moment sitting and listening to these amazing women on the stage at Rise and thinking of all of the people in my life that I could see doing something similar. But not once did I think “I could do that!” Gut punch. I knew I had to dig in to that a little bit, no matter how overwhelming it felt. I’m not saying I necessarily want to do something like speak on a big stage, but there is no reason I shouldn't believe that I’m incapable of doing that if I really want to do it. You are the only person who can decide how big your dreams are going to be.
The image that comes to mind when I hear “dreams” is some beautiful magical thing. But you know what else dreams can be? Scary. Hard. Intimidating. But dreams don’t go away just because they get hard. You can let them go away (like I’ve done more times than I can count), but they will still linger there, begging you to pick them up again. But the time is going to pass one way or another. What’s on the other side of hard that you are allowing yourself to miss out on? You are worth the time. You are worth the effort. You are worth keeping promises to. Want to hear one more major truth bomb? If you’re not willing to push forward to make your own space (in whatever way that means to you), then you can’t be mad that there aren’t people who look like you at the table. Excuse me while I stand and applaud again (this mad wisdom came from the beautiful and smart Elizabeth Lascaze).
What it all boils down to is this: Life isn’t happening to you, it’s happening for you. Take advantage of whatever it is you feel like you are called to. You can’t change your circumstances. But you can change your response. You, and only you, are in control of how you act and live. You choose your attitude. You choose what you can or cannot do. We all have a past and a story - both good and bad. You can either cling to it, hide from it, or you can choose to make peace with it. And the only way you will move forward is to make peace and stand on where you have come from. We all have our junk. We all have hard things. But maybe you’ve been given a mountain to show others that it can be moved (quote from Elyse Snipes). Keep moving forward at all costs. Write your own story. Make your own way. Be unrelenting as you go after whatever your thing is, whatever is setting your soul on fire.