first-class-scholarship

I’m warning you that I am not editing this post.  I usually have Emily, Katharine or Ari proof for me, but I just need to get this out tonight.  And I sure did have a completely different post planned for today, but this just couldn’t wait! 

In the last two weeks, I have received some of the most heart-felt, sincere, honest, vulnerable emails I’ve ever read.   Not just one, but dozens every day and it just keeps growing.   I’ve gone from a really busy person to needing to hire another full-time employee to manage this sudden influx.  Ever since the first MTH2010 Intensive in Watercolor (attendees pictured above) just a few short weeks ago, something happened that I did not expect.  People I don’t know write to me and pour their hearts out about real life… everything from business to death to marriage and everything in between. I feel so so grateful to be entrusted with these thoughts and at the same time feel horrible that I can’t immediately drop everything I’m doing to call these people and talk them through things. That’s what I feel they deserve, not just a return email. I will return them all be week’s end, but I just had to write this to say thank you to everyone who has written me and to tell you that I have prayed more for people this week than I ever have.  Please keep writing me. No matter how busy I get, I’m always listening.

Seeing people one-on-one is what satisfied me the most in the first MTH2010 workshop.  And while we’re at it- this is not really a “workshop.” I’m not giving people quick-fix tips and tricks.  We’re talking about real life and what it takes to take an idea or brand from concept to blow-them-out-of-the-water reality… and how to live your best life while doing it.  The letters I’m getting are exactly why I’m doing these intensives: so I can meet people in person and give them the attention these matters really need, one-on-one.  I’ve gotten to the point where I can barely read some of them through without tearing up because they tug at my heart-strings so much.  I guess y’all know that already.  I’m a sensitive person. I’ve been through a lot- far more than I share on this blog.  People want comfort, to share, to trust and for someone to tell them it’s all going to be ok.  I was a personal trainer many moons ago.  I relish the opportunity to do that. 

OK, I have to stop for a second. Yesterday… oh, yesterday.  It was one of the hardest and oddly, best days of my life. That’s all I can really say. I cried, Ari comforted me and my closest friends (who I count on less than one hand) prayed. I wish I could say more, but for me, personally, it was one of the most “connected” moments I’ve had with God. Why? Because I gave up. I let go of control of my life and just said, “Lord, I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Just tell me.” Now, I realize I talk about God on my blog and that might turn some people off, but this blog is my place to tell you how I make my decisions. I pray about every single personal and business decisions. Granted, most of the time I fight it and don’t want to listen, but when I do, He never ever fails me.   And I’m always happier in the end.  So, yesterday happened.  I came home with Ari and fell asleep at about 9pm in my clothes, so tired.  A little pain woke me up around midnight and I did what I always do when I wake up- reach for my phone.  There was a message from Christopher Confero saying that he and Emily Ley had gotten together than night and decided to start a scholarship fund to bring someone to MTH2010. I welled up with tears and immediately got online to find that they had already –in just two hours– started a huge buzz on Twitter, a donation site, and raised several hundred dollars. I was floored.  Let me just tell you very clearly and honestly that I cannot take credit for what happened at that workshop. In fact, I was having probably the hardest day for me of 2009.  No joke.  They didn’t know this, but that morning as everyone was getting ready, I got some really rough news and sat on the bathroom floor crying.  Jeff came in and found me there.  He had never seen me cry or be anything but strong.  He talked me through it, brought me some hot tea, literally let me cry on his shoulder and I slowly but surely pulled myself off the floor and back together.

I summoned all of my courage and marched into that conference room, so fearful that people would see my pain.  Then… and Jeff and I still marvel at this moment… the second I asked the first question, there were tears from the attendees and suddenly I was the one being taught.  That day was such a gift and as the intensive went on and hearts opened wide, I felt all of my strength rush back to me.  All I did that day was enable the individuals in that room to find the answers that they already knew.  That was my goal.  Sometimes all it takes is answering the questions you wont take the time to answer on your own because you’re “too busy” “it won’t make a difference” you’re “scared” or you just “don’t care”. Let me ask you this… those of you who answered these questions, did it make a difference? I have an inbox full of emails I still haven’t had a moment to answer that all point to YES. Sometimes all it takes is knowing you are supported, understood, and knowing what not to invest your energy into. Sometimes, when a group of people comes together like that with open hearts, sparks fly.  Not little tiny sparkler sparks… big huge firework explosion sparks!   So, amidst the rush of the holidays, staying on top of my regular slew of business endeavors (no, I still haven’t taken a day off) and sorting through these letters, the “First Class” of MTH2010 has been doing nothing short of making HUGE things happen… even while I sleep. It’s been less than 24 hours and they’ve already collected over half of the scholarship funds needed to send someone to MTH2010. Probably all of it by the time I finish this post.  More on that in a minute…

The MTH2010 movement has begun and blows my mind every day. In one week I’ve experienced one of the hardest days of my life, turned 30 somewhere in there, Ari and I had some very sweet quality time with my family that I will never forget (if they played Apples to Apples in Vegas, my mom and I would rule the Strip!), I’ve been building the MTH2010 official site with Ross at Flosites, and at the close of this year, I’ve made some difficult and purposeful decisions to live my best life for God. This was not easy.

I’ve been trying to piece together how the last two weeks happened and my mind still hasn’t caught up. But I have one overwhelming thought that I can’t shake… I’m going to be very honest here because my heart has been really heavy the last few days trying to sort all of this out.

Fact: people want to break free from pain, suffering, financial distress and major fear so their life’s work can take wings.

Fact: most people don’t want to do anything about it. Most people want someone else to come along to fix it and they will wait, complain, blame a million things until one fine day they realize they actually have to DO something to make it happen.

I told the MTH2010 First Class that what happened in the workshop really didn’t matter unless they DID something about it the second they left. Making things happen is about harnessing momentum and acting.  It’s physical. Pick up the phone, the pen, the kids, whatever you have to do to get out of your rut and move forward. Like we always say in my office, it’s better to make a decision and go for it than not make one at all because you think you might fail.  Think of the alternative to taking a risk… you could spend this year right where you were last year… stuck.  Stuck thinking, mulling it over, whining, worrying, telling yourself you’re just not good enough when in your heart of hearts you know you need to just walk the plank. The water is warm and there are loads of people swimming around waiting for you to join them in the crystal blue waters.

OK, enough metaphors. Let’s get real. You want to know how I make things happen? On top of all of these things, I educate myself and I invest. In investing, I take huge risks. Prime example: something I love about Katharine is that when something is on her mind, she goes after it right that second.  She doesn’t waste any time and she doesn’t beat around the bush. I was working on location for a shoot one morning when Katharine called.  She carefully explained that she loved her job and wanted to make a very long-term commitment to working with me. But (after expert calculations that of course only Katharine would make) she needed a raise.  Now, keep in mind she and Emily had been working for me for less than six weeks.  (By the way, If you haven’t read Emily’s story, you need to.  It paints a very clear picture of what purposefully investing in something can do.)  My first thought was “oh my goodness, I will go broke. I don’t have this money to invest in them right now.” Katharine made her case, point by point, like a good lawyer’s daughter.  She knew her value and that showed me so much about her character. She laid out the facts as to why she was a good investment and how she could help the company grow.  I knew deep down that my return on investment in she and Emily would be well-worth it and that they would bring me more personal happiness than all the money in the world could pay for.  Before I could let the fear sink in, my gut instinct said “Yes.” I remember the fear creeping up for a moment and saying, “Lara, what did you just do!? You have no choice now but to get it together and make this happen for them.” I had spent enough time with them to know they were brilliant beyond their years and that if I fostered their growth and let them soar, they 110% would.  I am so thankful every day that I hushed the fear that morning and did what I knew was right, even though it was scary and I was unsure and there was always the possibility that I could seriously fail.  I knew that I had the choice to sink or swim from that moment on.  I repeat- I had a choice.  I invested (you realize I’m not just talking money here) and continue to do so every day.  I’ve discovered that if it feels comfortable, it generally doesn’t get me very far.  The more you give, the more you are able to reap.  Just remember though, it takes calculated risk.  If you don’t know where to turn or what to do, don’t waste any more time and get solid help now.  Read the section titled “People” in this post.  You have a choice every day to make good things happen.  I walked the plank, dove right in, and I’ve never looked back.

What plank do you know you need to walk right now? Tell me. What do you know you need to do to make things happen? Who do you need to call, meet, reach out to? What do you need to write, give, share or teach? What the heck is holding you back!?!? Part of the magic of MTH2010 for me was getting individual time with each person to ask that very question and look each person in the eye. I am so grateful for the answers I got because the second they came out, people did something about them.  Have you seen what’s been happening with the First Class since December 21st? Holy cow, I can’t even believe it every day. They don’t go more than 2 minutes without all talking to each other and putting plans into action. No one is resting on their laurels and no one is holding back.  A huge part of the momentum happening with the First Class is accountability.  I stressed that from the first few moments…”by the end of today, I want you to have found someone in this room who you connect with most… someone who will stop at nothing to make sure you stay on track and who will listen to you when you have doubts.”  I offered to share Jeff, but he’s about to be really really busy.  Since the 21st, the energy doubles by the second and the First Class is already conquering 2010!  Again, I am not doing this. I’m blessed to be a part of it, but things like the MTH2010 First Class Scholarship are born out of the fire the First Class has created themselves.

This scholarship is very special. I’m just still so humbled that they all rallied together to make this come to life in just 24 hours. That’s what happens when people experience something life-changing together… they form a lifelong bond, can literally move mountains and best of all…. can make anything happen for other people.

To donate to the scholarship, click here.

lc-scholarship

To apply for the scholarship, leave a comment here telling me three things:  the city you would like to attend in, why you want to attend and what you want to make happen in 2010.

Since the tour starts in less than 2 weeks, this scholarship opportunity will end this Friday at midnight and the winner announced on Monday the 11th.  Huge thanks to Emily, Chris and the First Class of MTH2010 for being phenomenal and blessing so many with this opportunity.  What a way to start 2010!

With love,

larasignature(and Jeff!)

Show Comments (73)
  1. Kricia Morris

    Lara you are more than an inspiration, you are truly a muse for wedding creatives. Every post that you write is so heartfelt that I feel connected to you, even though I’ve only met you once!

    I would like to attend the Hawaii workshop (hopefully in Oahu!). The social media workshop that you presented in Pensacola last year gave me such an amazing jump start for getting up and getting out with my business, I can’t even imagine the incentive and motivation that will come to me after this workshop! In the coming year I am totally rebranding my business to make it MINE, not just a photography studio that anyone can run. I want to truly touch my clients and give them a personal and meaningful experience every time they meet with me. That, in a nutshell, is why I want to attend MTH2010!

    Many blessings :)

  2. Heather at Outstanding Occasions

    Wow! I will think of more to say to you soon, but for now…WOW! You are an amazing person and this post just proves it. Wow.

  3. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by LaraCasey: How To Make Things Happen Vol 2 + The “First Class” Scholarship! http://bit.ly/5vxh9q #MTH2010 pls RT…

  4. Lauren

    Thank you so much for everything you do Lara. I for one have been so INCREDIBLY inspired by all of those who attended the first MTH…and that’s just from Twitter and a few emails with Emily Ley! I have stayed up through the night for the past 2 days, since finishing “Crush It” (upon Emily’s recommendation), working away, making lists, putting together image files, working between two separate computers. My thoughts are racing so much that I can’t even get them down on paper. I think of something to do and I have to do it right away, and if I don’t, I feel incomplete.
    If I’ve been this inspired just by the attendees, how much more inspired will I be by actually attending MTH, and what else can I achieve?! I myself would have jumped on the opportunity 2 days ago for this scholarship. However, I’ve been so incredibly lucky to have my parents offer to pay for me to attend MTH as a belated graduation gift. They saw just how excited and fired up I was just by talking to them for just a few minutes over the phone. My original deliberation between putting their generosity towards Eventology instead has completely disappeared, because I know that if I want to go, I can make it happen (no pun intended)! Therefore, I won’t be “applying” because I have been blessed with a way to attend.
    Thank you so much to the Watercolor MTH class for this opportunity! And now, everyone needs to apply for this scholarship so they can join me at Making Things Happen! [I\'ll be at DC, if you REALLY want to join me :) ]

  5. Michelle Barrionuevo-Mazzini

    Lara, first and foremost I would like to say THANK YOU for being you and for sharing such personal moments and thoughts with us. Your post brought me to tears, as I’ve been in stuck mode for close to two months now. My brother was murdered this past November at the age of 39 and ever since his tragic death I keep trying to move forward with my life, but I feel as if I’ve encountered a road block, one that I am finding hard to get out of. While I know it’s normal to feel this way at first, I simply don’t want to continue not living my life to the fullest. I know my brother would have wanted me to move on and that is what I am trying to do, but where to start is beyond me. I am extremely passionate about two things, my family and my business. Balancing the two has been a challenge to say the least, but I believe I’ve been doing a good job for the most part. However I’ve come to the realization that I don’t want to settle for just good, I want to be great and I know I can be with time and perseverance. I’ve been wanting to make things happen for quite some time now and prior to my brother’s death I was on the right path to making these things happen and now I’ve encountered a road block. The start of making things happen was well on it’s way with the investment I made to attend Engage09 the Encore back in October, in which I had the pleasure of meeting you. This intensive was life changing for me and I left filled with emotions, desire and motivation to be all that I can be and to take action of my creative business and turn it into the company I first set out to build. While I don’t intend to make a novel of my entry and I apologize if I already have, I would feel blessed to be able to attend your Making Things Happen Workshop.I have two main goals for my creative business and I am confident your workshop will put me back on track to achieving these goals.
    I would like to attend the MTH2010 workshop in Las Vegas. Thanks ahead of time for taking the time to consider my entry and for reading my lengthy comment.

  6. Heidi @ idieh | design

    Lara – You brought so many emotions to the surface when I read this. Even though I have not met you in person, I feel I was introduced to you tonight, yet have known you for years! There are no words to describe your courage and strength!

    As you already know, I’m DYING to attend MTH2010. I’ve had my design business, idieh design, for 3 years and have had my own personal struggles & successes along the way. But, I’m tired of SAYING what my dreams are and I’m ready to ACHIEVE them! Up to this point, I have had to keep a full time job for financial stability, but I’m ready to map out a plan to make idieh design my one & ONLY true passion. I want to attend MTH2010 in order to connect with others and to work & inspire one another to achieve our dreams and goals! Just as someone at MTH2010 could be the perfect person to help me achieve great things, I hope to be that someone to another. I can’t wait any longer – NOW is the time to make my dreams come true and make all my hard work thus far really pay off. I know the past three years have only been small stepping stones, but I’m ready to make the BIG LEAP into the ocean.

    As you know, I would love to attend MTH in Phoenix, but since that isn’t an option, I’m open to attending in Atlanta, Nashville, or New York City.

    And, a huge THANK YOU to Emily, Chris and, the whole First Class of MTH2010 gang for making this scholarship possible. They have no idea what this would mean to me and, just as they have done, I would love to pay it forward!

    Ready, Set, Go!…

  7. Jen

    I had wanted to attend this workshop but after reading this I have to attend! Wow what an impact you must have had on these people for them to be so committed to this class.

    In 2010 I am committing myself to finding a way to separate myself from the pack of wedding planners. I want to use this differentiation to grow my business into a full time venture.

    Look out Pittsburgh here I come!

  8. Jenni Bailey

    Thanks so much to the MTH First Class for making this possible! So generous and inspiring! Here’s my entry for the scholarship. It’s kind of long but there’s a lot to it.
    I have to start by admitting my past failures. I’ve started a lot of projects and laid out a lot of plans that never went anywhere. When I got to one of those “feel the fear” moments…well I didn’t “do it anyway.” The first time someone told me “no” I took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to succeed. I told myself that I had plenty of time and there were more important things in life than making money or owning a creative business. I justified my fear in so many ways I can’t even list them all here. I hid it under jealousy and tucked it into the farthest corners of my mind. I pointed to my darling 3-year-old daughter and said that raising her was the most important work I could do and that I didn’t care about my own unfulfilled potential because I was focusing on making sure she fulfilled hers.
    And then last summer my Dad died. Suddenly and unexpectedly. I was coming home from work, from a job that was as far from creative as possible, and I got the call. I was crushed. I was flooded with feelings. And the one that stood out the most was disappointment – with myself. I realized that I had always believed I would be a success someday, that I hadn’t been given a good mind and a creative spirit for nothing. I was gifted, I was blessed. And I had planned to use those gifts. Someday. I had never expected that my Dad wouldn’t be around to see it happen. And I realized that someday HAS to be today. I realized that the only way to make sure my daughter learned about making things happen was to see me doing it.
    I’ve turned to my own venture full time. It’s something I have always wanted to do and I’m going to do it exactly the way that works for me. I want to take ownership of my own happiness. I want to use my gifts and lead by example. I’m not starting small and working up, I’m starting BIG and working up and I know that MTH2010 (in Atlanta, hopefully!) will show me how to activate the tools I have somewhere within me to keep this forward momentum.

  9. Keisha @InfiniteBlissEvents

    Lara- you have truly inspired me everytime I read a post from you. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. Last year was truly tough for me. I was pushing to get my business off the ground, but would meet with obstacles and opposition from every side. I was fearful of the unexpected, and I did not receive a lot of support from friends and family. I am a Registered Nurse, and my family would say, “Stop playing around and focus on your career”. What they didn’t understand was that being an RN was not my career, but my job. My career was being a Wedding Consultant and that is what I was destined to become.
    In the last few months of 2009, I pushed myself and really spent some time building my business. I even attended my first Bridal Conference. However, the opposition became stronger for me, and was beginning to cause conflict in my family. In November, you changed my life Lara. You posted a blog called, “Get Fired Up: How to make things happen, Vol. 1″. I read it and began to cry because it was everything that I was going through. I was fearful, I needed to surround myself with positive people, I had little dicipline,I needed to show some humility, and I needed to dream big (5 parts crazy). I needed to step out on faith and not be afraid of failure. So after reading this blog, I stepped out on faith. I left my day job to focus solely on my business, and registered myself in a bridal show. I told myself that for 2010, I will no longer allow dream killers around me. I am going to now make things happen for me. This is why receiving this scholarship and attending the MTH2010 in Raleigh is so important for me. I believe that it will give me that extra push and motivation that I need to become successful in my business. Even though I am standing alone in my business endeavors, I am going to take your advice Lara. I am going to feel the fear, and do it anyway. Thank you Christopher and Emily for starting this fund and giving myself and others the opportunity to apply.

  10. Moya

    Hi Lara! I am at my full time job and had to close my door because the tears would not stop. You are such an inspiration and I so admire your courage and success. I so WANT and NEED to make things happen. My calligraphy business is a true labor of love and my true passion. I am also a wife and mother of three with a full time job as a senior auditor (both left and right brain in overload) running my calligraphy business at night. I so want to wake up every morning doing what I love. I feel I have so much creativity that I just cannot get to and I need direction. I know I am writing this on “company time” but I NEED to MAKE THIS HAPPEN! I am in Atlanta so I would love to attend here. Thanks Lara – you have touched so many people, including me.

  11. Joy

    I would love, love, LOVE to attend the MTH2010 intensive in Minneapolis. I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been working at my business for about 6 years now, and I feel like I’m stuck. I work in a totally different field at my day job — medical research… but it’s just a job, not something that I’m passionate about. There have been times when I would just cry and cry about my job, because it wasn’t making me happy — it’s not what I’m meant to be doing. And now I’m getting scared because I feel myself starting to accept that this is just the way it will be, and THAT CANNOT HAPPEN! I can’t give up on my dreams, but I can’t seem to find what it takes to MAKE THAT LEAP, to take that huge risk of setting aside my day job and giving everything I have to make my business a big success. As a single woman, it’s frustrating because, financially, it just doesn’t seem feasible. I hate admitting that, but it’s the way that I feel. But it just HAS to be possible, and I need to find that something to set a fire under my ass to JUST DO IT. I just feel lost about where to go next, and I feel like I’m at a pivotal point in my life where I need to make it happen, or move on. This past year was a difficult one for me personally, and I was forced to deal with a serious loss that I was not prepared for. It definitely held me back for several months, but I’ve decided that 2010 has to be mine for the taking, the year that I get fired up to achieve my dreams and goals… I just need an extra push and motivation to get there! I’ve been reading your posts, and have been so inspired — I thank you for everything you share, your insight and your heartfelt and inspiring thoughts. I’ve listened to a couple of fellow photog ladies from here in MN (MTH2010 First Classers!) talk about the amazing experience in Watercolor, and I want to be a part of that! I know my dreams are possible — I just need that push to get there, and I need to learn that obstacles will arise, but that I can get by them, and I really believe that MTH2010 in Minneapolis could be HUGE in helping me achieve this!

  12. Elisheva Basseri

    Laura, thank you for being who you are and creating the momentum to make amazing things happen for so many people!

    Where:
    Even though I’m closest to LA or Seattle, I’d like to attend in NYC, since my little brother lives there and I don’t get to see him nearly enough.

    Why:
    First, a little back-story. I set myself on the path of being a professional event planner when I was 16 years old. Through planning high school events (most proud of: my school’s first ever Random Acts of Kindness Day) I realized the alchemy that happens by bringing people together with one purpose. Back then, I didn’t know that being an event or wedding planner could be a career, but that magic feeling I had inside me stayed with me for a long time.

    From this, and through travelling abroad for one year with Up With People, I know that momentum multiplies when you are near equally motivated people. I’ve felt the electricity, the shared joy and sorrow, and given and benefited from other’s energy. Though I am very lucky to have a tight-knit wedding community in my backyard, I’d love to be a part of a diverse, smaller, and more focused group.

    What:
    In 2009, encouraged by my wonderful husband, I stepped away from my secure FT job to focus solely on growing my wedding planning business into my livelihood. I am naturally a risk-averse person, and stepping out on a limb showed me that so much more is possible with an educated leap.

    In 2010, I want to learn how to grow my business intelligently. I want to learn which investments are wise vs. wasteful. This goes for all my “currencies” — my time, energy, attention, money, et al. I want to create a plan and direction for my business that I can reflect on even when the season gets busy and I have less time to deliberate.

    I want to give wedding planners a good name, for the sake of our industry and for the sake of the thousands of happy couples that will hire us. I want them to experience the goose-bumpy, un-nameable feeling that I’ve felt so many times over during a wedding where all the obstacles towards celebrating have been removed, and the bride, the groom, their families and all their guests get to experience the magic of being truly present in the moment, surrounded by a group of loving people.

  13. Liane Roy

    Just reading the few comments that are already here, I feel unworthy to even be applying with such wonderful, inspiring people. But, part of succeeding is valuing yourself and what you have to offer, so here goes.
    I’m nearly 24 years old, and I started my own wedding planning business this past year, during the worst economic recession of my generation. I have hardly any disposable income to speak of, definitely not enough to attend bridal shows and all of the wonderful conferences that everyone speaks so highly of. But I’m a smart, driven person, so I decided to go for it. I want so badly to make this work- to make it amazing- but I’m not entirely sure how. I’m working really hard on networking and marketing and getting our name out there- but having a wedding planner in the area where I live is not a popular thing. I want to show brides that I’m worth the investment, that I can help make their wedding day more than they ever imagined. I want to make having a wedding coordinator accessible for the Western New York bride. I want wedding planning to be fun and glamorous and exciting and stress-free for my brides. But as I said, I’m not quite sure how to change the atmosphere in the wedding planning world where I live- it seems like a tall order to me. It’s definitely a big, crazy idea.
    After having read your blog for a little while now, I know that attending the Making Things Happen Intensive would help me find my way in the wedding planning world. Lara, you can help me find my voice, and help me see how I can change the way wedding planning is done in my hometown. I would be thrilled and honored to attend MTH2010 in Pittsburgh, PA if I am chosen. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and thank you for considering me!

  14. Monica Smith

    Lara;
    I love reading your posts and am so excited and proud of you for letting go so that God can do exceeding abundantly above all you could ask or imagine.
    It is good to see what happens when we step out in faith to do what He has called us to do. For me, I have lived most of my life in fear, even though there were times that I was successful because I just vowed to achieve something. This September I will turn 50 and I realized that I have spent the last 49 years trying to meet everyone else’s expectations and desires. Somehow, I never measured up and have heard more times than I ever want to remember, “Someday you will make a great….” When you spend years in a particular job or field and hear those words you begin to second guess yourself and wonder if you really are meant to have the promises of God.
    I want to know what it’s like to really live the life of freedom God promises us and I made a promise to myself that I would take the next 50 years doing what God called me to do and live the life He has called me to live. I am scared to death, but I cannot live in fear anymore. I want to design, create, write, teach, love and share God’s beauty through events, decor, life living and coaching. I want to help other people live the life God has for them.
    I don’t know if this qualifies for the scholarship, but if nothing else, may it encourage someone else to step out in faith.
    Be blessed, Lara and know that your transparency is an inspiration to us.
    Monica

  15. Cathy Olson, Love at First Invite

    Hi Lara. I hope that this candid post served as a much needed detox of all those burdens you were carrying. Thank you for being so brave. I read your previous call for scholarships, and I was not so brave. I just imagined that I was never worthy of such a great opportunity, so instead of being brave, I didn’t try. I stayed the “old” course. When I read about your break down and surrender to Him and took a step out in faith, my whole mindset changed. You set a shining example.

    Your courage has awakened me to comment, to stay it out loud, to do something. I have recently been through the same heavy-heartedness, the same call from God to give it all up to Him and LET GO and follow the path that he has made just for me to follow. I too notice that when I do give it to Him, that great THINGS HAPPEN. But yet sometimes we still have doubt.

    I was taking stock of my faith, my life, my business over 2009 and I started to feel defeated. I looked at my life at 28 and thought about those that I admire (you are one of those people I thought about). I thought to myself I was nowhere near where they are in life, nowhere near successful, nowhere near a happy, fulfilled life. And I ultimately blamed the path I had chosen for that. Maybe I should have done this, or spent that. Maybe I should have given up this, or gone to that. I thought maybe it’s too late to get to where I want to be, maybe I blew my chance.

    And then I realized that I was being envious of others. I realized I was created to be completely unique, and that my success may look different that another person. I thought maybe He was softening my heart to prepare me to be ready when He presented the right opportunity. I am ready to put everything I have, my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears into my business, making people happy and making the world more beautiful one design at a time. I’m ready to follow the path I’m meant to follow and to interact and touch lives along the way. I’m ready to be shining light to all those who come after me.

    Thank you again for awaking this in me and so many others. You are blessing others in all that you do! I look forward with my head high at amazing things about to happen in 2010 and beyond! Good luck and blessings to all those who have and will enter for the scholarship.

  16. April

    Lara,
    I can think back to an evening in Vegas, where I saw this fantastic, powerful, confident woman in the world’s most amazing red dress, and I knew that you “got it”. You had the fire that you lit in people all around you. I can only hope that the fire is part of what you spread with MTH2010! 2009 was hands down the hardest year of my life. I lost my mother, struggled through some difficult medical issues, put my 3 year old through surgery and started a new division of our company. I am not looking for pitty, just want to share how much kindling I have for my FIRE! I want to launch my business into a new atmosphere. I want to take MY life back, and define myself outside of “mom” or “event designer”. I would prefer to attend in Dallas, but could also do Denver or NYC. With so many fabulous people looking for the opportunity to focus on “making things happen” I don’t know how you will narrow down to just one, but I know that I can take what you teach and do GREAT things, for myself, my business, my family and the family that is event professionals!

  17. Valerie Metrejean

    Inspiring post as usual!!! Reading everyone’s posts gets me so excited to know that if they attend, there lives won’t be the same after. How is it that since then, when I want to do something, I don’t just do it instead of talking about it. I couldn’t explain what happened but it did! THE 15 MINUTE INDIVIDUAL TIME WAS PRICELESS! Even if you slept through the entire session (which believe me you won’t) you will not go away empty handed.
    I think I also caught the “get excited me I can help someone else’s business grow” bug. Share with your workshop attendees The Wedding Shoebox. I would love to introduce the wedding blogosphere to these amazing talents!!

  18. gillian

    Wow. Another opportunity! I didn’t apply for the first scholarship because I simply could not afford to (a) spend the money to get there and (b) miss precious time with my kids. See, I am a single mom with the lesser end of shared custody… by circumstance & choice I have given their father majority custody so I could try and get on my feet after being a stay-at-home-mom for 7 years. It was that, or live in a womens group home wiht them. I moved from the small island town we lived in to the big city 3 hours away; 45 min drive & 2 ferries to be specific. After reading your posts on MTH, including answering your questions in notebooks and being very honest with myself, I am rather disappointed in where I find myself. On more than one occasion over the holidays I sat in my kids’ room while they slept, gazing at them and cried. Between tears I promised them I would work harder to get us where I want to be. Part of working harder is needing someone to push me in the right direction. I don’t have anyone who can push me in this new bog city, and was rather alone when a SAHM too. I don’t have anyone who can call me on my fears and encourage me to overcome them. I fear failure. I want to fight tooth-and-nail against it. I know I can do this, I just feel overwhlemed. I found your posts encouraging and reassuring and would LOVE the opportunity to have more of what I need; a real look inside myself & the encouragement to understand I CAN do this.

    I would love to attend the Seattle workshop. It is only about a 3hr drive from where I live (Vancouver, Canada). I want to attend your workshop because I have lost the woman I once was and dearly need to find her again. I was once was an ambitious woman who shot up in my former career path due to lots of hard work and a burning desire to succeed. Over the past 10 years I have lost that woman and have only seen glimpses of her in the last couple years. I need her back. I want her back.

    Even now, as I write this, excuses are running through my head about the costs involved to go (even with a scholarship) and the time away from work and kids to go. Excuses also ran through my head about posting in the comments section where everyone could read my story. I left some stuff out because of that.

    What I want to make happen in 2010 is a rather long list. :) I want to concur my fears and be proud of myself again. I want to re-light that fire within and watch myself blossom. I want to reach certain personal, business and health goals. I want to not only stand on my own two feet, but stand proud.

  19. Lauren C

    Lara,

    You’ve been speaking to me for a while now. Actually longer than I’m brave enough to admit because the “making things happen” Lauren would have the fortitude to have written you a thank you note, and tell you that your work and energy is both inspiring and motivating many months ago. As soon as I read your first tweet with the “making things happen” image it has been consistently on my mind.

    You’re journey to your 30th birthday really spoke to me. I’m young and I’ve been blessed beyond measure to achieve goals in my first few years of business that I never dreamed for myself. Consistently my clients are telling me they’re choosing me over my competitors because of my energy and passion but also because I’m not their mother’s age. {Cringe} One day, I’m going to be their mother’s age! No doubt wiser, and more experienced- but with each new client I find myself wondering when I’ll look myself in the mirror and realize that I’m not this fresh fun event planner anymore. The sale of “current and hip” isn’t going to translate as easily no matter now “current and hip” I stay. So, I don’t exactly know why you were scared of 30, or if our reasons are at all similar, but it’s looming to me and I’m nervous.

    I’m currently teetering on decision of hiring full time employees. The finances are not as frightening to me as the overwhelming feeling of responsibility that my passion and brand is essentially what may be feeding someone’s family. That concept is so incredibly humbling. I’ve been avoiding making that decision for 6 months. As I struggled to find the energy to get through our extremely busy holiday season it’s becoming painfully obvious that I’m not going to be able to live up to the expectations of my clients without more support in the office. I just can’t make myself take the next step…

    My last big thing, which I’ve only shared the details with my husband and family is that I’ve invested a considerable amount in the development of a product that will directly enhance the way the creative businesses sell and market themselves to their clients. I’d prefer to not say much here, but if I could ask to you to trust and believe that I’m working towards rolling out a product that will be essential to the business of every photographer, designer, planner, painter (the list can go on). But, as with any entrepreneur there is the balance of time and resources. I so passionately believe that I’ve got something that is going to be so helpful and important to many but the insurmountable task of marketing, selling, and support is so daunting in conjunction with my planning and design clients I lay in bed every night terrified that the moment is going to pass me by… essentially because I couldn’t find it in myself to make it happen…

    So Lara, I’d be deeply grateful for the opportunity to attend Making Things Happen in Nashville, TN. I can’t thank you enough for being so consistently brave and honest and most importantly for your generosity and the generosity that you inspire in others.

    Warmly,

    Lauren

  20. Becka Knight @Studio222 Photography

    Ok, here goes ;)

    I’d like to attend the Vegas one because I’ll already be there for WPPI and to get shot by Jeff Newsom so this would be the apple on top of an amazing trip.

    I’d like to attend because I feel like I’ve got so much swirling around inside of not just my mind, but my entire creative soul, and I need to make sense of it, get a plan, and get going. I feel like I have a big purpose. I just feel like I’m about 5 steps away from bringing it full circle.

    I am 25. I’ve been in the industry since 2008 and I want to take it by storm. I want to share my art. I want to re-define what the world thinks of as beautiful. I want to re-define what the world thinks of as a wedding. I adore couples who run with it and do something just for themselves that is completely unique. I want my images to transport people to a place where everything is beautiful, even things that aren’t traditionally thought of that way. And not only do I want to do all that for my clients, I want to do it all soon. I want to show other twenty-something creatives who are floundering at their 9-5 jobs that they ABSOLUTELY CAN dive head first into their dreams and make them their reality. I want to prove to myself that it is possible so that I can instill that same belief in others. I have such a passion to inspire and help other people realize and make plans for their dreams, I just want to have the foundations for it. This year has been such an amazing roller coaster for me and I struggle all the time with wanting to talk about it and build other people up and help them but am stopped by the nagging thought that I have nothing to give them. That I’m too young, too new, haven’t “paid my dues”. It’s maddening because my heart wants to pour itself into these other artists. I know their pain, I know their frustration with their life and I want them to know that they can do it.

    My vow to myself is that somehow I will begin to make those things happen in 2010 and I’d love the opportunity to start in Vegas with you!

  21. nancy ray

    so thankful that i wrapped up my day with reading your post. thank you for being so vulnerable & so real. it’s so refreshing. decisions made with the help of the Lord always result in blessings, & i needed that reminder. thank you, lara. see you in raleigh if not before! xoxo

  22. tiffany hughes

    Hey Lara…it’s me- the next hit country song. Ha! You know that on Christmas Day, my life changed. In a 10 minute time frame, my life went from something that I was perfectly accustomed to, to a life where I question every moment. And for those of you who don’t know me, my husband had a brain hemorrhage, and there are no answers to why it happened. I’m not typing this to win and to make people feel sorry for me. You always wonder about folks who type sob stories. And this really isn’t that. It’s more of a praise God story. Writing and dreaming is my therapy. Robert is still in the hospital and he’s doing good. Tired but good. The problem is that I’m not sure from this moment to the next how on earth to handle the love of my life and the next step that we’re supposed to take. I am so weak, that I don’t even know who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do. I know that God is there, in fact he is carrying me because I can’t walk. I just can’t right now. I just don’t quite know where God wants me to go now. And I hope that the Intensive would turn on a light. When I entered the contest before, I was on top of the world with a business partner that I loved. And that’s gone too. Gone in an instant because it was too stressful for him. And here I am, left holding the bag, standing in the middle of the road with my husband on one side, my children on the other side, and the right road to take who knows where. I started photography because God wanted me to. Not because I had to. And I want it to stay that way. I wrote the other day on my blog, that I was going to make some major changes, and that I just didn’t know what changes they were. I want so much to do what God has set into action, and I know that it wouldn’t be this hard if it weren’t His will. I am just tired. And scared. And I want to run into Robert’s arms, but he has to run into mine right now. What I want to make happen in 2010? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. Business wise, I want what is best for my family. Detail wise, I don’t know how to make that happen. I don’t want to be the biggest thing since sliced bread to a million people. I just want to be a piece of sliced bread to the people that I love. And that includes my business, which has become such an inherent part of me. So, to all of you who have put your business in front of your families, please don’t. I did for a short time and I missed the time that I could have had with them. Your life can change in a instant. I am proof of that. That is what I do know. So, I am laughing and praising God for protecting my husband the way He has so wonderfully done. Robert sang a Billy Joel song with a nurse today, and I have never heard anything so sweet. That was God’s work. Do I want to win the intensive? I’d love to. But, more importantly, I hope that by writing this, I helped the person that God sent here to read it. Thanks Lara, for being a platform that isn’t afraid of what God can do. I love that about you. And that’s why you are successful. Bottom line. Going to bed.

  23. Sarah Glad

    Lara-Thank you for the heart you put into what you do. I would love to attend your Minneapolis workshop. I’ve never gone wrong when I’ve paid attention to synchronicities in my life and I believe that it’s no coincidence that I just found now found out about MTH2010. How is it that the universe lined up my need for inspiration with your workshop tour schedule? Lucky me! I know my custom papergoods company, Milestone, is on the brink of something big. What is it? I truly enjoy my work and the fact that I do it from home and spend lots of time with my 3 kids. However, as much as I love being my own boss, I have found it so challenging to sort out my next growth steps without a sounding board and brainstorming sessions. So, I want to attend because I crave the inspiring interaction with others, the energy that comes from a room full of people passionate about what they’re doing and the focus that comes from an action plan based on values. In 2010, I want to take my business to new levels (details to be sorted out) and continue to balance passionate work with family, friends and faith. I can’t wait!

  24. Brooke Chandler

    In an unauthentic world, it is so refreshing and inspiring to hear a true authentic voice!

    Like many who have commented, I too have been inspired by your energy and candor because for so long I have been stuck in a rut. I have every excuse in the book why I keep myself comfy, cozy in my rut, but the number one reason is fear — too many fears! (I read your post about fear a while back and it brought me to tears!) And for so long, I’ve listened to those fears instead of confronting them. I’ve settled for a life I never wanted because of it. But no more! I want to do something about it!

    I have dreams — big dreams. I have been trying to launch my wedding design business for over a year, but it hasn’t left the ground. I get motivated and focused for a while and then life happens and fear creeps in. After that I get distracted, loose focus, and after a while I loose my path. But I am bound and determined to get back on the path!

    In order to get back on the path and set a better course, I recently decided to write down my vision for my company: To be a wedding innovator in order to add to the human experience. (Wow! That’s the first time I’ve ever let anyone know about my vision. It’s scary and invigorating all at the same time.)

    I’ve also decided that the plank I need to walk right now is to surround myself with inspiring people. For too long, I’ve listened to and surrounded myself with people who are devotees of fear. What a horrible decision.

    I’d love to attend the Denver MTH2010 to keep myself on the path of getting out of my rut, silence the fear, stay focused, and finally surround my self with inspiration in order to live authentically.

    Thank you to all who made this scholarship happen! What a testament to harnessing momentum and acting in a profound way.

  25. Sara

    Hi Lara – I’m not an event professional, I don’t own a business, nor do I have the next big creative idea. I work at Bloomingdale’s. I have a boyfriend. I want a puppy. Really, I’m a simple twenty-something girl. But throughout my past three years in the “real world” (after college), I’ve floundered. I’m in a holding pattern waiting for things to happen, fearful of what others may think of my decisions. I’ve tried tech pr, I’ve tried legal services, I’ve considered MBAs, MATs and law school. And the only thing I’ve realized is what’s not for me. I would like to attend MTH2010 to take an introspective look at how to use my existing interests and skills to make things happen for me. To stop caring what others think of my life and start living my life. To take what I love (design, decor, clothing, event planning, customer service, helping, putting out fires, PEOPLE) and pursue work that reflects those passions.
    Fortunately, I live in Atlanta and would love to attend the intensive scheduled for February. Unfortunately, my salesgirl salary won’t allow my attendance, which is why I’d be thrilled to be a recipient of one of the scholarships.
    As a coda to my plea, I’d like to mention how I felt reading “The Comment That Started It All” post. I was a winner of one of the Carrot and Stick Press notebooks from the swsmag.com contest. I thought, “Yay! I’ll use this to keep track of my thoughts, goals, etc.” Of course, it ended up at the bottom of my purse, half full of grocery lists. Then, I read the post about Emily’s sweet, sincere yet aggressive tactic to do what she loved. She used her blog, that notebook and her guts to get where she wanted to go. I wondered, “What if I’d used my notebook in a more productive way? What if I’d sent a thank you note, mentioned how much I loved the blog, enjoyed reading about the Southern Weddings girls, mentioned how I would love to meet with you to gain some insight the industry?” Instead, I did nothing. Now, I have the chance to do all those things and more by attending the intensive. I’d really appreciate the chance to learn how to better myself, get out of my holding pattern and take charge of my life. Thank you for your insightful, inspiring blog and the BEAUTIFUL photos and interesting content on swsmag.com. Even if I’m not blessed with a scholarship to the conference, I’ll continue to be an avid reader of both!

  26. Emily @ Southern Weddings

    Holy wow, Sara. Amazing. You nearly brought me to tears, and that is a somewhat difficult thing to do. Let me be the first to say: if I can do it, you can do it. And you should do it. And I will be thinking about you. Good luck!

  27. Sara

    Emily –
    Now I’m crying! :) Thank you so much for the words of encouragement – they mean more than you know!

  28. Cameron

    Everyone has challenges in their life and I could go all day if I listed every challenge that has developed me as a son, brother, person, and photographer. As an entrepreneur, asking for help can be hard, sometimes depressing. I have realized though that the entrepreneurs that do ask for help, succeed. They are inspired, rejuvenated, and that remarkable and rare passion intensifies – calling them to push on. I think I am at that point. It’s the “Where do I go from here?” question that keeps me up at night. Portraiture is what I make. Photography is what I love. I am a devils advocate and futurist by heart. It would be a truly empowering experience to be a part of the Nashville MTH.

  29. Jennifer

    I have been sick in bed with pneumonia since last Wednesday and my husband has been keeping me off the computer and away from work ever since so I could attempt to recover. I hate that I’m just now seeing this scholarship application!! :-/

    I am the co-owner for a primarily wedding-related business for makeup and hair. We provide services for models and photographers, too but our passion is weddings (and brides specifically)! Makeup artistry is definitely my creative outlet. I manage a bank full-time for steady income and benefits but would love to one day work only for myself. I definitely have the business mindset for managing growth; however, we’ve hit a wall with the economic downturn and I’m really looking for bigger, brighter ideas for overcoming hurdles and increasing revenue. Because I work full time it’s hard to spend all day every day calling/emailing/mailing leads and contacts. I spend most nights and weekends doing that.

    I’d love to attend the Raleigh seminar to get a better handle on 2010 and make my entrepreneurial endeavor my full-time career sooner than expected. :) I’m in Chapel Hill everyday, too if you ever want to get coffee (that is…when you’re not jetsetting around the globe)! lol!

    Thanks again for inspiring us everyday.

  30. Lydia

    There were only so many times in a day I could hit the refresh button on a job page waiting and hoping a new job would magically appear. Six months of clicking I had dug myself into a deep hole giving myself reason after reason to stay there. Finally, when I landed a job, I was delighted to find cash in my pocket but still empty and unfulfilled emotionally. It was then I found my an outlet for my stiffled creativity. Although I’ve always been keen on weddings, I never expected to start a blog about them that affected me creatively as nothing had before. Even if the blog made no significant difference in other people’s lives, the click of a mouse button now meant image upon image of the most stunning and gorgeous work falling into my hands. Most unexpected is the people I have met through networking that truly inspire me and have become great friends. These newfound friendships inspire me to want to make things happen in 2010.

    Through my blog, I’m realizing where I need to be and where I truly want to be. I constantly find myself full of ideas and inspiration to add new content and new methods to attract readers. I am so excited about where my blog has taken me in just a measly 5 months. It has given me so many opportunities to help others in the wedding industry. Additionally, I’ve been wanting to build business ideas of where I want to take my blog and how I want to do it. I’m hoping that Making Things Happens helps me strap down these ideas and guide me to where I want to be.

    For 2010 – no more excuses! No more feeling sorry for myself and like you said, no more fear. There IS nothing holding me back except my own fears of failing. If I do not take the chance and believe in myself, how will I ever make that step forward? I want to find and be that person that not only says but actually does. My goals for 2010: expand and grow my blog; zone in on my audience (vendors included); find new readers and keep old ones loyal by making the blog a useful source for them; establish a business through my blog, and lastly, apply to business school. I hope that Making Things Happen will not only light my fire but make it my bonfire for my success and new budding career that lies ahead.

    Lara, thank you sincerely for such an honest and vulnerable post. Thank you for starting this movement that has sparked so many minds to make things happen. I also have to thank Emily Ayer for being an inspiration as well. And major thanks to Chris and Emily for starting this scholarship and I would appreciate being considered for the Los Angeles Making Things Happen 2010. If chosen, I can’t wait to meet you and learn from you. But also, can’t wait to pay it forward too. Thank you so much.

    Hope you had a Happy New Year and wishing you the best for 2010!

  31. Stephanie Ascari

    Lara! Thank you so much for your honesty and BOLDNESS! I have been PRAYING for people like you to come into my life! I am so inspired by a successful woman who is willing to give the glory to God! While I would love to be the lucky girl to receive the scholarship, I want you to know that you now have a loyal reader in me regardless!
    Photography as a career has been such a huge blessing to me! I feel so fortunate to be able to do something that I love so much but over the past few years it has become less enjoyable because the demands the business has placed on my personal life have been overwhelming. I should also add here that my personal life is a little overwhelming as well as I have 3 little boys all under the age of 6! ! I have been in “react mode” for several years and have not begun to go where I know I am meant to go! My professional road has had some ups and downs! I want to go boldy forward in a way that I am proud of and content with! I want to learn how to market my business effectively as this is something that has gone by the wayside for me… I need some insight as to what I need to do differently to make my business run successfully without compromising my precious personal life! I want to be part of the Washington DC MTH2010 because I see it as such a huge opportunity for me! I feel I have definitely been lead here and can’t wait to see what HE has in store for me in 2010!!!

  32. Ati @ Gekd Boutique

    Hi Lara. You are truly blessed- to be surrounded with so many positive forces in your life. I know it takes some work to get there and some figuring out to meet those people who genuinely care, but it’s hard when the people you trust most betray you. I’ve always had this drive to be the best I can be at what I love to do, but I spent way too much time listening to my father tell me what I should do instead of following my own dream. I’ve always admired him for his intelligence, his wit, & his charm. And this is despite the fact that he had spent 27 years of my life- cheating on my mother with more women than I care to count. At my age of 27, my father promised that he would no longer betray our family with his bouts of infidelity. I am 33, now. You see- my father is a man of the cloth- a preacher who has a congregation of over 800 people. It was over the holidays when we had found out that he had broken his promise- that I realized why I’ve been so fearful and stagnant for so long. I didn’t trust myself to move forward, to be better, to take risks because I’ve done it when it has mattered most and time after time, it has blown up in my face. At least, I didn’t trust myself enough until now… until I found the strength to share this story. I NEED Las Vegas MTH2010 to help me get on the RIGHT track, to move up in a world where I have been led to believe that women should be subservient. I know the life of subservience and distrust isn’t for me, I just need Las Vegas MTH2010 to light the path out of this dark abyss. You should know that despite my father’s constant betrayal- I still find the light of the Lord in people like you & countless others in our industry. So, thank you. No matter what happens… thank you.

  33. Marletha

    Hi Lara,

    First, let me just say that I think it is awesome that you are a Christian businesswoman! I have been longing to network with other business owners who are unashamed of Christ. I started my event planning company last May and have been wondering “what is the next step?” Of course, I realize it’s to attract clients, however I would like to learn how to effectively do so. As a way of gaining more knowledge I enrolled in college again [I have a degree in Political Science- completely different, I know :) ] for Catering & Event Management as well as Culinary Arts. I would love to eventually offer catering in addition to event planning. Anyway, while reading your post I realized that you are absolutely right. If someone wants to achieve a goal they must educate themselves and invest. I think I have taken the first step by going back to school even through all the negative comments and discouragement from family and friends. Now it’s time for me to invest. I would love to attend the conference in Raleigh, NC. However, like you, when you didn’t know how you could afford to give Katharine a raise, I don’t know how I will be able to afford to attend. I am 25 years old and have although I have a full time job it barely pays my bills. I would love to have a career that makes me happy- and continues to pay the bills :) I just need guidance and believe I can get just that at MTH2010. I was actually searching the internet looking for conferences or other events that I could attend but they’re all too expensive. I guess that’s the main reason that I’m stuck, but I refuse to remain stuck in the same place as last year- listening to negative comments, worrying whether I’m can do it. I’m ready to jump in the pool with other successful business owners and make a SPLASH!! After all, I can do all things through Christ who strenthens me :)

  34. Cindy

    I started my photography business 4 years ago because a friend showed EVERYONE some maternity photos I took for her. I had passion about photography. I was excited (fired-up) I had finally found my “calling.” I spent just about every waking moment trying to make my business and my passion the very best it could be. I’ve drifted from maternity and newborn portraits, to senior portraits, to family photography and finally now my specialty is weddings and boudoir. It’s been quite the soul searching journey. However, somewhere along the way it became work and not my passion anymore. I started out taking photos of my family, because it is what I loved and now it seems like a hassle to get the camera out for something capture worthy in my own life. For example, this past Christmas Eve it snowed in Dallas for the first time is like 50 years or something like that. I didn’t get the camera out, because it seemed like too much trouble. SERIOUSLY? What has happened to me? Another thing that has happened over the last 4 years is I have tried to do what everybody else that is successful is doing. If it works for them then they must be doing something right. Right? Wrong. I have finally realized that the only thing that is going to make me successful is being myself, but when I look at my business branding I can’t remember what was me and what was someone else. I’m lost in the mess of a business that reflects a person that doesn’t exist. I know I need help finding myself and my passion again and I have no idea where to start. This is why I would like to attend MTH2010 in Dallas. I feel like I’m on the edge of making some changes that will make my life and my business the best they both can be I just need a little push in the right direction.
    Thanks for all you do. You are truly inspiring!

  35. Lisa Green

    Just when I thought that I was gaining clarity in my business and in my personal life, I’ve started 2010 in a foggy haze. I know that I have the tools to move forward and face my fears but I don’t currently feel inspired to use them. Its as if my internal GPS system just keeps saying “recalculating, recalculating” – neither moving forwards nor drifting backwards. Not once in my life have I not forged ahead with motivation and enthusiasm. I love to persevere, but for some reason, the start of the new year hasn’t been the swift kick in the right direction as I anticipated. Perhaps I put all my eggs into the wrong basket? Its self defeating to know where you want to go but not how to get there. Which is why I really want to attend #MTH2010 in New York City. Not only am I so jazzed up reading the 1st classes posts regarding how #MTH2010 shifted their thinking, I need to be surrounded by inspiring people and get out of the current brain drain that is around me {having a family that doesn’t support what you do is hard}. I need to create a support system that truly believes in me and what I do and I firmly believe that attending #MTH2010 will create just that. The bonds that the first class have shown are really encouraging. Lastly, Lara, your extreme positive energy and bright spirit are awe-inspiring and two traits that I would love to have. I hope, pray and believe that #MTH2010 is the kick in the bum that I need to show the world how truly fabulous I am. Warmly, Lisa

  36. Hannah Taylor

    First, the city I would like to attend in would be Chicago. Second, the reason I would love to attend Making Things Happen is that I am ready to make things happen! I have been mulling around thoughts and ideas and passions in my head for years and am finally trying to put them into action. I have heard such great things about the Making It Happen 2010 and I think that going would be exactly what I need to help channel all my energy into making wise decisions about what to do next to grow a fantastic business doing something I am passionate about.
    What do I want to make happen? First off there is no way I want to settle for mediocre. I want to come up with and implement ideas to be booked for the summer. I don’t want to wait until summer comes. Right now is the time for me to do all my prep work so that I can really “crush it!” during the summer months. My personal theme for this year is “failing to plan is planning to fail”. I have ideas I’m just not sure what do next to make my ideas happen. I am so tired of not taking action on my ideas and I think that Making it Happen 2010 is exactly what I need to launch a business I am passionate about.

  37. Corey Ann

    In 2006 my father died from a quick (but courageous) fight with cancer. My mother and brother died when I was 13 so he was literally my entire world. He was my best friend and my father in one beautiful human being. Three years later, I still miss him as much as I did the day he died. When we found out that his cancer was terminal, I quit my job (medical billing) to stay home with him and get every ounce of love and time with him that I could until he passed. In those days, we had a lot of heart-to-hearts about not only what was going to happen but what I would do once he was gone. One subject was my career and where I wasn’t going with it. I happened to be in a job that I did well but I didn’t love. My father was an electrician his entire life. He was a genius at it but he hated the job. His advice to me was that life is too short to do a job that you hate. He suggested that I try and make a career from photography as it was a passion and talent that I possessed and a year after he died, I shot my first wedding. The reason I want to attend is simple, while I feel my business is doing well, I want it to be outstanding and I feel that attending this workshop can help me achieve that goal.

    In 2010 I would like to see so many things happen. Most of all, I would love to have my first wedding in print which would bring everything full circle for me with my father as he helped me get my first picture published when I was 13 that he submitted on my behalf. Beyond that I just want to acquire skills that will take my business to the next level of excellence.

    I would love to either attend the Las Vegas workshop or the Pittsburg workshop if selected.

    Thank you for your time and generosity. I think that it is so wonderful that you are giving people opportunities to better themselves and help their businesses soar!

  38. Cassandra Cherneski

    Hi Lara,

    I want to say a couple things before I get to my “scholarship entry.” First, I want to thank you for your post. It has such a heartfelt, authentic tone that reading it inspires me and makes my heart beat faster, even though I’m generally not what I would consider an “emotional” person.

    Secondly, I feel your ability to inspire (even through the pixels of a computer screen) is so intense, that being at one of your “intensives” could only possibly have positive results.

    So here is my entry: :)

    I’d like to attend the MTH workshop in Atlanta. I can remember clearly the day I read about the Watercolor workshop just a few short weeks ago. I had very similar feelings to those that I have now — the heart beating fast, the voice inside saying “This is something you need to do” — the knowledge that an opportunity was before me that I HAD to take advantage of… And yet… I didn’t. I came up with a million family and financial excuses, and I didn’t go. And while reading all the MTH buzz has definitely excited me and even motivated me, I can’t help but feel a twinge of regret knowing that I missed out on an amazing experience. So when I saw that you were offering yet another scholarship opportunity (Thanks Emily and Chris for making THIS happen!!) I knew I absolutely had to try.

    Why do I want to attend? I’ve got to make some things happen in my business. I, like so many others posting here, have maintained a second job in addition to my planning business to support my family. I KNOW, absolutely KNOW, that my business could be successful all on it’s lonesome, but I’m letting fear and excuses hold me back.

    What do I want to make happen? I need to take the plunge and make my business successful enough to financially support my family. I have a husband who will be graduating from law school in May (and with that comes the Bar exam and then job hunting in this abysmal economy) and I have our second bundle of joy making her debut also in May. My family truly is depending on me through this time, and while my other job “pays the bills” (barely), it’s sucking the life out of me and not allowing me to live my best life (LOVE that phrase BTW.)

    So, all that to say, I need your motivation, Lara. We met briefly in Cayman this summer at Engage09, and you wrote me such a sweet note after that experience, and I know that tiny encounter just barely scratched the surface, so I am truly looking forward to learning from you more. I don’t view this workshop as the end-all, be-all, quick fix for my problems, but I do feel it will give me the tools to use what I already know deep down inside to change myself and my business for the better. I need to Make Things Happen — and I cant wait to see what 2010 will hold because of this!

  39. Shayna Walker

    Hi Lara,

    I have been so inspired by your post, as well as by your trajectory in general and the enthusiasm that you seem to always exude.

    My dream come true would be to attend in Los Angeles – it is my hometown (and it’s also one of the earliest possibilities to attend and I am truly ready to Make Things Happen!). Of course, I would go anywhere to get to one of the seminars, so consider me flexible!

    I want to attend because I want to stop being the one who every one always says “has such great ideas” and I want to be the one that people say “does such amazing things.”

    I love this industry, and I know I have SO much to contribute. I battle fear and I’m ready to stop letting it win. I am 100% sure that I would leave a MTH Intensive and make my class and my mentors proud.

    I’m also a single mom of two incredible kids – teaching me to overcome fear, let out all of the “incredibleness” and take the world by storm means empowering a minimum of three people to take control of life and achieve dreams. The example that I set for them is more meaningful than any other that I can invest in.

    I have struggled for three years in ways that would have broken most people – they didn’t break me, though, and I want to be your next unbelievable success story. I am praying that I’m selected for the First Class Scholarship!

    Shayna

  40. Crystal

    Hi Lara- I came across your blog from a couple other local photographers who attended Watercolor. Reading their posts I can’t help but want to attend your amazing and moving your workshop, specifically the session Minneapolis. I started my wedding & portrait photography business mid 2009 and I worked my butt off like crazy building my portfolio and doing everything I could to shadow and learn from other fab photogs. By the Fall, I was booking sessions and even 2010 Wedding Clients. I feel like everything started to fall in to place and I should feel great about where I am going. On the other hand, I feel stuck and vulnerable. I have my photography Business, Full Time Job in ‘Corporate America’ and I also waitress a few nights a week.
    Everything I read from you is open & candid and about being true to yourself. I am putting myself out there, but my biggest fear in life is being poor. Sounds kind of terrible, but the truth of the matter there is something comforting in security. I grew up pretty modestly, as my mother could not work (she is legally blind), and I made a vow to myself as a kid that I had to make something of myself, so I didn’t have to ever worry about money. That fear motivated me to start college when I was 16, graduate in 3 years & take on more than I should. Most people who know me well consider me to be ‘driven and motivated’. Truly, I know deep down that what people perceive as motivation is deep seeded fear of being broke or just a plain failure. When I started my photography business in 2009 I knew in my heart that this was about following my dreams, but like everything in my life – fear holds me back. I’m sick of running around with my head chopped off and putting energy into things that don’t benefit my business and goals. I am ready to change, Make Things Happen in 2010 and allow the real business women in me to be my guide.

  41. Laura Brooks

    I want to attend the making things happen 2010 because I am tired of putting my dreams on the back burner. I’ve known I wanted to be a photographer since high school but besides picking up a camera I haven’t known how to make my dreams come true. I’m driven and have a passionate love for photography and taking pictures of people that will make their hearts melt. I work 50 hours plus a week and that still isn’t enough for paying bills. So I’m left clueless on “how to make things happen” and don’t have the money to pay for a workshop that I desperately need. I want to be inspired, I want to get fired up, I want to be successful!!! I don’t want to be stuck at an unfulfilling job that kills my soul.
    I don’t want to make lots of money with my photography, what is more important to me to make happen in 2010 is to live my dream, learn and even pay in forward to others. I believe there is so much to learn from such a successful-positive-inspiring person like you. TEACH ME! GIVE ME THE TOOLS! No matter the out come I am so excited for 2010 because scholarship to your workshop or not I am determined to finally take a stand to myself as a photographer. I have been inspired by everyone’s optimism for this year, this decade and beyond! GOOD LUCK EVERYONE IN ALL THAT YOU DO!

  42. Laura Brooks

    Just realized I didn’t say what city… I am so excited my city is one that was chosen for the tour! So many times Denver is skipped. DENVER COLORADO PLEASE!

  43. Sharon

    Lara,
    Thank you so much for your brave spirit and sharing with the world what you see and feel. I have been reading the Southern Weddings Mag blog for a while and eventually came across your blog. I enjoy both throughly!!! I must admit, I am a shy reader…I log on everyday to read, but haven’t signed up to follow along and I never post comments. (Yes, I know this must change!!) After reading about the 2010 tour, I knew that I needed to attend. I have spent too many years doing “the right thing” and not enough time focusing on making myself happy and being courageous enough to go after what I REALLY want. I had decided that I could make it to Dallas and was ready to register. Then, I got scared. I kept wondering if I should really spend the money, who is going to be in attendance, will I measure up to everyone else there, etc. I am really good at analyzing (that’s what an accounting degree and law degree will do to you!!!) As I drove to work this morning I told myself that I had to make a decision….today! I decided to check out your blog and read today’s post. It was the message I needed to hear. God always has a way of speaking, you just have to listen. So, my plan is to make it to Dallas next week. I look forward to meeting you and the team!

  44. Josh

    City: Nashville, TN is where I’d like to attend

    Why I want to attend: I’m tired of feeling like there’s more that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m scared to fail at what I know I want to succeed in (Photography). I want to have that MTH push that just shoves me over the edge and I can’t turn back! I want my lil 9mo old daugher to always see that her daddy did what it took to take care of the family but at the same time did what it took to be true to himself and to his family! I have a current 40hr a week desk job, plus photography full-time…at the end of October 2010 decisions have to be made at my current day job! I really want that decision to be for me to come home full-time with photography. I’m tired of teetering the line and not being able to devote to one side or the other….this is why I want to attend MTH…I feel that it will be the honest knock down drag out kind of session that I need to really make something of 2010~!

    What I want to happen in 2010: I want to be able to come home full-time with my wife & baby girl! I want to have a thriving business that allows me more family time & time to help out on other projects I’m passionate about.

  45. Kelly

    Lara- This is such an amazing opportunity! And before I tell you about myself I want to thank you for already inspiring me to Make Things Happen through this movement you’ve created (even if I don’t get to attend a session!). I also must take a moment to thank Emily Ayer for inspiring me to apply for this and pursue my dream even though I am, in fact, still in college. I am currently a senior at American University in Washington, DC (So DC is the city I would love to attend in!) and not you’re average college student. While I don’t have a wedding business or a laundry list of clients and connections, I have a million and one ideas that I believe can change the wedding industry. I am launching a wedding blog (notableinspiration.blogspot.com) this coming Monday as a small outlet for all my ideas and it is a huge part of why I would like to attend MTH2010. In the past I have been known to have a LOT of drive. At the age of 15 I had my own jewelry business and at 16 my own collection in fashion week. Now, at age 20, I’ve found my true passion- weddings- and have pursued multiple internships in the field… but that just isn’t enough for a creative mind like me! 2010 is an important year: it’s the year I graduate and walk into the real world with a piece of paper and an overly-active mind. Attending your tour would give me the advice, power and inspiration to not only help me enter the wedding world, but to help me change and enhance it, as I am 100% positive I could do. When I saw you were coming to the DC area I immediately clicked “REGISTER!” but when I saw the price tag for this unbelievable opportunity (can you really even put a price on it??) I knew it just wasn’t something I could pursue on a college budget. But it is something I need and something I would appreciate so much as I enter a job market that’s more than struggling. I know I can succeed but attending the Making Things Happen intensive would teach me HOW to succeed. Thank you again for this opportunity and for showing me that there are people out there who believe in students and who take the risk to see what they can really do!

  46. Amy Kerstetter

    Dear Casey, I’m not gonna enter the scholarship contest because I don’t feel like I deserved it, at least not yet. I know there is another person out there that deserve this much more than I do. I also know that if I don’t meet you this year, I will another time. It is my goal. I just want to say thank you for your heartfelt letter. I have never seen such vulnerability from this industry or any kind of industry before. It is the kind of vulnerability that I would only share with my family and closest friends. Thank you, and I can’t wait to meet you ;)

  47. Janice Carnevale

    I would love to attend the March 24th MTH2010 in Washington DC. I am a wedding planner who has a goal of getting more education and more inspiration in 2010. These types of events cost money. Unfortunately with my husband out of work for the past 13 months, money has been limited and I have not been able to take the classes, attend the seminars and join the professional organizations that I had hoped for in 2009 and 2010. This of course is the proverbial double edged sword, because without this training, development and networking, I struggle to take my business to the next level. And by next level, I mean being able to quit the day job and focus solely on wedding planning. This was supposed to happen in 2009, but did not. I am hoping it can happen in 2010. Being able to attend these types of events will allow me to keep my spirits up and my creative juices flowing when the drone of the day job brings me down and attempts to suffocate my dream job. Being able to quit the day job would mean so much to me, my business, and my volunteer work. As it is I spend about 20 hours a week on dog rescue. It is my second passion and something I wish I had even more time to dedicate to. Thank you for the scholarship opportunity.

  48. saundra, event engineer

    Lara, fantastic and gut wrenching post to read. I winced a few times. I’m glad you are pursuing your passion and igniting others. I hope your troubles will soon pass and I know you will handle it with grace. 2010 is already proving to be better than 2009.

  49. Rachel Nickel

    Lara, I think that what you are doing is a wonderful and amazing in every single aspect. I respect you hugely and admire you for being such a ‘go getter’. Me and my husband left our home about a year ago to pursue a dream. We are people who know there is something bigger out there for us, and we aren’t exactly sure what it is, but we know it will be amazing. We got the opportunity to work with some family members with their wedding photography company. So we packed up our family… an almost 2 year old and a 12 week old baby… flew 3 thousand miles away from my family, and gave up EVERYTHING. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING. Our home, our friends, our church, our life, our family… to try to pursue a dream. Ten months later, we are making things happen for ourselves. We are on our way back to Seattle, with so much knowledge and the dream of hope… we know that this is the beginning for us, but we also know we have what it takes to make this an amazing thing. We have sacrificed more than most would… and unfortunately, shouldn’t have. We understand you can’t change the past, but are instead hopeful for a more promising future for ourselves, and our beautiful babies. We’d love the chance, while we are still in the south, to attend the Nashville session, before making the huge trip back to Seattle (home sweet home!) Thank you for this opportunity, you have a beautiful soul~

  50. Marni Gold- Creative Custom Card Boxes

    Hi Lara, I follow your tweets and have been reading your blog for some time and just have to say how much your enthusiasm and devotion really means! I was told a few days ago by a friend (Cherin @ Customized Wedding Creations) but read through the blog and though the scholarship had been closed! I have to tell you I was a bit devastated. I really want to attend MTH2010 in NYC! This would be my first time taking a ‘big leap’ for my business aside from of course starting the biz and jumping into something headfirst.

    You see, i’m no business person. My training and degree is in music and teaching, not the wedding business! I’ve gotten to where I am so far but sheer grit and surrounding myself (as you do) with positive and wonderful people! These people are my affirmers and my guts. They help me to keep going and stay strong in business when sometimes it feel like I should just give up. They help me to see that my business and concept are unique and that my skills and craft are worthwhile! I need to come to MTH2010 in NYC to learn so much more and make more things happen in my own life and in business.

    I know what holds me back sometimes and I also know that I need to take some leaps of faith. I’d love to be as inspired as I get reading your posts in person! I feel silly to even post this because there are so many wonderful and inspiring people who deserve this scholarship (as I feel I do as well…not undervaluing myself). But I’m here to take a risk and a stand. I’m so glad I found out the scholarship was still open and I hope to get to meet you in NYC! I’ll be around 8 months pregnant with my first child and this is why I want to do this. I want to make things happen for me, and for me family!

  51. deb @owlandbunny

    Lara, this is a wonderful, beautiful post. This especially speaks volumes – “Sometimes all it takes is knowing you are supported, understood, and knowing what not to invest your energy into.” Thank you for continuing to share your inspirational energy, words and wisdom! You have definitely given me things to think about and pushing a new focus for the new year!!

  52. Jenny West

    I would like to attend the Washington DC event, for so many reasons. Tops being the amazing opportunity to meet the creative and amazing people that will attend the event, along with you Lara! Personally I feel that is what I am missing the most, daily inspirations from strong talented minds. After reading some of the blogs of your first class (who are so amazing to put this together) I have realized that it’s all about coming together and being better and stronger together. Secondly fuel for action, a supercharged boost to unleash the creativity I know has been suppressed for a long time. Because I am the driving force behind my business and brand I want to be recognized in my field and share that blessing with others who are eager to learn, along with learning from them. This is just one of the things I want out of 2010 and the most important to me. A huge Thank You to the first class and all of the sponsors for making this opportunity possible for one of us to attend! And Lara thank you for your Awesomeness!

  53. Kristi

    First off, thank you for putting together this tour! I would consider it an honor to attend any one of them! I need to be a better me so I can be a better mom, a better wife and a better business owner. 2009 has been a trip for me, my business partner one day suddenly just quit. I was left with a lot of debt, a 4 year studio lease, and a full season of weddings that were promised that both of us “professional” photographers would be there on their day. I have hidden my stress in hopes not to worry the brides before their day. I have pushed myself through these past 8 months, there have been some major bumps along the way but I got through it. My list is unreal…it includes death, robbery, a car accident, 2 sets of attorneys, well 3 actually, medical issues, physical therapy, temporary loss of sight (this sucks when you are a photographer in the middle of a job), debt problems, theft, etc….all in the past 8 months. It doesn’t seem real. I have known since I was 9 that I was going to be a photographer. I have worked with all my heart to make that dream come true. I have taken some major risks. I want to eliminate the excuses and focus on some new business goals to move in the right direction in 2010. This blog will continue to inspire, encourage and kick me in the butt to Make Things Happen. Thank you and your wonderful team!!

  54. Michael Newman

    Atlanta, February 8th 2010. I want to “crush it” in 2010 and take my photography business to the next level.

  55. Cathy Olson, Love at First Invite

    I was so excited and moved to respond on Monday, that I left out some important details!! 1. The city you would like to attend in: I would love to attend in LA, since I’m in San Diego, but really anywhere would be an amazing experience, I don’t travel much and it would be amazing to have a reason to do so! 2. Why you want to attend: See my above post for my heart pouring! 3. What you want to make happen in 2010: For 2010, I would like to grow in every way possible. I am a shier person, so I’d love to learn to be a confident business woman; how to not just dream, but how to take action on those dreams; how to build relationships in the industry; how to put myself out there without FEAR; how to better my organizational and customer service skills to make it equal the quality of my product. I know God gave me some amazing talents and I want to share them with the rest of the world! But most of all, for 2010 I’d like to learn how to grab that motivation to be able to put my energy into something to MAKE IT HAPPEN for the rest of my life. Thanks again Lara, Emily & Katharine and the rest of the immensely inspiring folks who I am proud to call my industry mates! Go get ‘em!!

  56. Kim Percival

    Had to share the post, it was inspirational & real! Thank you for that! I want to attend in the great city of New York. The why: I can’t stop my mind. I can’t turn it off right now. It just keeps thinking & brainstorming & thinking & planning. I started my photography business part-time in 2009. 2009 was not a good year, but I am past that & already feel a new me emerging in 2010. Sounds kooky, but I really feel it. I am leaving my corporate work life to venture out on my own fully & it will be a year of exploration, daring & failure I am sure. But I am ready for it. I just need more focus to hone in my mind! I want to make everything happen in 2010. 2010 is a year of change for me, change that I am embracing … a new baby (to add to the awesome one I already have), a move to Dallas & a departure from corporate life. I know I want to brand or rather focus my photography business brand, but I also know there is so much more I have to give & really that’s that I want to do. Give my knowledge & expertise to others, while soaking in the same from them. I am just in desperate need of the right outlet for that. I think this intensive is just that! I need to focus my mind to be able to better share me in all aspects of my life.

    Now how’s that for free-form thought? =)

  57. michelle

    i would love to attend MTH2010 in Denver. we are about to welcome our third baby boy into this world {i’m about 3 weeks from my due date} and we are just finishing up our fifth year in business for ourselves! i feel like finally after 5 years, we are really starting to understand what we want our image to be and where we want to be in this crazy filled photography business! we have been working on rebranding and making our business truly US! we have so many ideas and thoughts and inspirations, we just don’t know where we should go next, how to make ourselves and our work really stand out and how to make it all happen. we love that our passion and our job allows us to have so much time at home with our boys. this year, and next, and next, etc… we really hope to be able to make that perfect balance between family and work life. learn how to succeed in both family and business life. thank you so much for this opportunity!!

  58. Kelsey Eads

    Hi Lara! I would be honored to attend MTH2010 in Seattle. Why do I want to attend? Honestly, because my little wedding planning business and I need a kick in the ass! I need support, I need honest guidance and I need a hearty shove in the right direction. I can be timid, I actually considered not entering to win this scholarship because I figured I’m alright how things are going and there are people who need this more than myself. But I realized that is the EXACT reason I need to apply. I will never make anything happen if I stand on the sidelines. In 2010, what I want to make happen is to face my fears, to challenge myself and my business. I want to succeed through my passion which is this venture I’ve worked so hard on. I want to give and share and grow and BLOOM. This new year already feels like it brought an immense freshness to my life and I want to take it to the maximum. I’m ready! If in person you inspire me twice as much (which I’m sure would be an understatement) as you do through your story and your blog, I will have been taken to a whole other level. Thank you Lara, I hope to meet you in Seattle.

  59. Catie Ronquillo

    Lara, thank you. Thank you for being real in a world that at times feels lost. You’ve been such an inspiration for me. Since that first time you wrote about Making Things Happen, I was fired up with the passion to make things happen in my life too. I’d like to attend in Dallas. I’d like to attend because I need this kick in the pants to make things happen in 2010. I’m done with my excuses and reasons and getting down on myself. Now that I’m in Dallas full time, launching my wedding photography business full time, I’m ready to take the Dallas Metroplex by storm. But I also feel scared and stuck because I’m new to this market and feel like I don’t know how to make it happen. But the drive and desire is there. I want 2010 to be a year that makes a difference in my life, to enrich my relationship with my husband, God, and my family and friends. I want to be a value-add to my clients’ big day. In 2010, I want to take my business to the next level, booking clients, collaborating with peers, and living the life I envision.
    Thanks for the books from the first contest from MTH2010! And hopefully all sorted out soon. I’m humbled to have met you briefly in Vegas last year and would be over the moon should I have the chance to attend in Dallas. Hugs.

  60. Katie

    The inspiration that I have felt ALL week because of this post Lara, and from what Emily and Christopher accomplished with the fundraising of this sponsorship is proof that some people need that jump start again to get their butts moving and really make things happen. For themselves, for others, and especially for their business. I would love to attend in Chicago but would also come to New York or Denver in a heartbeat (my two favorite cities). One of my more immediate goals for 2010 was to finally launch an official brand for my wedding planning company, and last night I jumped off the ledge and launched it for the whole social media world to see (new look, new blog, etc). It was incredibly scary to put myself out there with a new look to the company but it was also such a great feeling because I feel like I’m starting 2010 off right. I would love this opportunity because I think it will force me to answer those questions that I so need to answer in order to take this business to the next level. I do a day job that I don’t love, and I think I’m scared to go to that next level and give up the comfort of having a constant job in this struggling economy. Even if I’m not chosen, I’m still taking the learnings from the first class and trying to do the same in my life. It just may take me a little while longer to answer those tough questions for myself!

  61. Christina B.

    Thank you so much for the scholarship opportunity. I think you’re doing great things, and I’d love to be a part of this. I started my business 4 years ago, and last year was a truly pivotal year. I have been blessed with having -truly- the most amazing clients. I took on too much too soon, and I got completely fried in the process. So I took part of last year off. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d be back, but sitting back I realized how much I’d accomplished, and how my hard work has paid off. I started to put together new plans, and 2010 is the year to put these plans into motion. It’s time to take my life and my business to the next level. I’m ready to rock it. And I’m beyond excited to attend MTH! PS I’m in DC!

  62. Sara

    Reading your blog posts is always an incredibly inspirational experience, Lara. Your willingness to lay out exactly what you are thinking and feeling is simply incredible. I would be absolutely thrilled to attend the Washington, DC workshop. I remember being struck by your incredibly positive personality in Grand Cayman this past year and I can only imagine how motivational an intensive seminar with you would be. For two years I’ve been saying this is what I need to do next, given where I am with my business and where I want to be, and while I have a plan for how I think I should get there I’m not making progress! Given that, I desperately need someone to help me make things happen. 2010 is the year where I am looking to grow my company, however it’s also a year where I want to be more active in supporting colleagues with their projects (there are 3 colleagues with national projects I think of off the top of my head). Right now I find all of that overwhelming, but I hope that Make Things Happen would help me clarify how to manage all of this in the coming year.
    Thanks so much for your fabulous blog posts, Lara – I always come away inspired!

  63. Kristen Steele

    Making Things Happen. That’s what I feel like 2010 is going to be for me. As an individual it’s taken me about 3 years to finally crystalize that I want to be a wedding photographer (I took a brief detour as a PR person and a web designer). But I would not take back one step along my journey as I have timidly tested the waters, tip toeing in some places and jumping forward in others.

    But this year, I want to fly. Of course that sounds cheesy and ridiculous, but I’m serious.

    I know that God has huge things in store for me for this year, I can feel it, and I know that MTH would be the launching pad for my success and hopefully the success of others on this journey too.

    I have spent the past year being a sponge, drinking in all of the available education, info, workshops, books, blogs, magazines that I can to get up to snuff in the wedding industry so that I can be an inspiring, impactful photographer.

    I’m hoping that you’ll pick me for the Nashville, TN MTH scholarship, because I’d like to bring others along in my journey with me. It’s my New Year’s resolution to be more dedicated to my blogging and when I go to MTH, I will take meticulous notes so that I can share with others my journey of launching into a career head on. I hope that I will be an inspiration and an encouragement to others the way you have been to me, Lara.

    I’ve read others’ comments and I know that whomever you pick will deserve it, but selfishly I hope that you’ll pick me so that you’ll affect not only one life, but dozens. Thank you for this wonderfully opportunity!

  64. robyn

    first off, thanks so much to the “first class” for pulling this together! such an awesome opportunity.

    my passion for design has grown through out my life, but my business story starts about two years ago…after years of designing invitations for family and friends, i had been tossing around the idea of going for it and starting a custom invitation business…besides design, i love to mentor and help others figure things out and share my experiences so i had also been looking into getting a masters degree as i am also VERY interested in teaching. so, i went back to school and got an MA in graphic design and immediately after completing, i (officially) started my custom invitation business. i say “officially” because the fall before that, i had so wanted to put a stake in the ground and say “i am doing this”. but of course, that was just when i started back at school. i mean would like to think i can juggle a lot, but didn’t want to jepordize my degree or my business if i by chance couldn’t make both work. so. i bought my domain name, designed my logo and a quick site with a few samples and let those things be my stake in the ground, committing me to do this and start my business while i finished my degree and started a small buzz about my business. the second i finished my degree, i hit the ground running trying out all sorts of ways to get my name out there. i joined etsy (which is great) and a slew of wedding websites where i could list my business, i got my biz papers in order and got some wholesale accounts set up at my favorite vendors. my efforts began to work a few months in and inquires turned eventual orders began to trickle in. i have never been so excited as when i got my first order that was completely unconnected to me or any friends of friends. and a year later, and i still get excited with each new inquiry i receive. and it probably sounds crazy, but i actually LOVE packaging and shipping orders— the sense of completion and accomplishment i get from finishing an order. :)

    i have learned a TON over the past year of officially launching my business, but the biggest thing is that i have found that though design is my passion, i am not fulfilled in my day job and upon beginning to design invitations, even just for friends and family, i found that it was this that was fulfilling.

    after all of the things i learned in the past year i am so excited for 2010 and have a million and one things i want to make happen this year — starting new product lines, redoing my site and refreshing my brand, new packaging, purchasing equipment, getting my designs into magazines, create a dedicated studio space, go to more conferences…i could go on and on! but perhaps the biggest thing is that i would LOVE to be able to do my invitations full time. i would love to accomplish all of these things and more this year, and maybe i can! but i think attending this intensive would really help to bring it all into focus for me, prioritize my goals, and get real with what is actually possible to accomplish.

    i would love to attend in chicago, but would also be interested in NYC, or vegas as well.
    i have heard nothing but amazing things about this intensive and would love to attend to experience for myself and my business all of the wonderful things i have heard!

    thanks so much for the opportunity!

  65. I LOVE NEW YORK + THE WHOLE SHEBANG « Lara Casey

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  67. Lucia

    dear lara, i was so hesitant to post a comment here because there were so many any other comments here that are so moving… i just didn’t think i deserved to be leaving a comment. too afraid to cry. to afraid to face my fears and doubts. too afriad to be wrong. too afraid to be so real in front a group of strangers. but i’m here. what gave me the big kick in the butt? i just finished watching an amazing movie – julia & julia and it encouraged me to be fearless. to transform and do what i am meant to be. thats how i want to live my 2010. taking the first step to just apply for the scholarship is just my first step of living fearlessly. last year my business was blessed with an amazing opportunity for another project, but because of this project i have come to the point to where i am no longer working on my business but rather for the business. i didn’t leave my job and go to creating a design studio to just work 24 hours a day, but now i am. after 5 years of creating my graphic design / invitation design studio i have lost my drive to design. to do art. to be the entrepreneur i was meant to be. i have lost my voice. and i have especially lost be ability to give my heart, time and inpiration. i feel so embarrassed to talk about it. to let anyone know that i feel like i have failed. not speaking about it has me feeling alone. its hurt my realtionship with my clients, our financial situation has been in the red, and worst of all it’s starting to cause some tension in my marriage. darn it – i don’t want to do that any longer. I’M READY to make things happen and make 2010 amazing and wonderful as it’s meant to be. i ready to get my life balanced and my house in order. i know for a fact that if i had this opportunity to be a part of the making things happen workship in los angeles, it will change my life 360 degrees. i will laugh again in my business. i will be more confident to express myself. i will be more wise in making financial decisions. i will be able to run my business in a higher level of vision and be big player in my business. and i am especially excited that i will be able to give back to what i have been blessed with. in 2010 i have one feet forward to take that giant leap to become succesful, be happy, laugh again, be a better wife and start living a life of giving and inspiring others. why do i say that? ever since i was little, i keep having thoughts that i am meant to do something big. what is that BIG? i don’t know but i’m so ready to find out to live and BE BIG. i am ready to start living a life of abundance, passion, prupose and prosperity.

    gosh it wasn’t so bad to write and to let it all out! it feels great. just writing what i want to change i can already feel a paradigm shift.

    thank you for taking your time and for this opportunity. i will not let you down.

    to our success,
    lucia

  68. Shannon Bullock

    Laura you are a great inspiration and reading your blog always motivates me. I would love to apply for the scholarship and go to the one in Los Angeles.
    There are so many things that I want to do for 2010 but the most important one is to motivate myself as much as I motivate my friends. My goal is to start a photography business but I work so hard at motivating everyone else in my life that even though I do have the inspiration and vision I am just lacking the self confidence to take the jump and just go for it…which is funny because I always tell all my friends you never know until you try its kinda ironic. My motto in 2010 is to be happy, live happy, love lots and give freely and so I want to further my photography career in order to be able to do this.
    I work full time so it is hard at the end of the day to follow my dream as well as be a single mom but I am not complaining I am just asking to be able to have you Laura help motivate me with this great workshop! I can just imagine how motivating the workshop would be considering your blog motivates me so much I forward it on to my friends. I am looking forward to being able to hear you speak and inspire me!!

  69. Rachael Peffer

    I have to be completely honest and admit that you are new to me. I just opened an email from Debbie at Studiowed in Denver and she was letting all of us know about the stop you’re making in Denver…I had to see what it was all about. I am impressed by the way you approach business and I believe that you might be my answer (or angel)! I, for the past 8+ years, have dreamed that my business would be seen as more than a “hobby” but I just never knew where to start. I think I’m pretty well known with wedding vendors in Denver but I don’t feel like I’m at the level that I want/need to be to make this my career and become successful. I made a HUGE step this year and I decided to take my business to the next level. Within the past 5 months: I quit my salon job, did 4 bridal shows, signed up with StudioWed and placed an ad in a magazine…now I’m a little tapped out (in the money area). I feel I have the tools set in place but I don’t know what to build with those tools that I have invested in. I would like to make 2010 the year I turn everything around. I want to learn to make great business choices, learn to stand out and find out how to put my business on the right track to take some financial burden off my husband (for the first time ever). I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to meet you in Denver and be inspired and excited to make 2010 the first of many successful years! Thank you so much for considering me and hopefully I will be seeing you in Denver!

  70. WHAT IS MTH2010? + THE 1ST CLASS SCHOLARSHIP + WE’RE LIVE! « Lara Casey

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  71. LisaRhinehart

    This morning as I warmed my body with Rooibos tea and Quaker oats, I warmed my heart and imagination by reading Jasmine Star’s blog, love her– great way to start a winter day! It linked to this site. I followed. As I read about MTH I got goosebumps– this is EXACTLY perfect timing for this experience in my journey, I could never afford it, but there was a SCHOLARSHIP, praise the Lord!!! But, then I read the part about the deadline :( . I decided I would still share my story, just get it out there and who knows maybe some late scholarship money will roll in, you never know …

    My story: I started my wedding photography business six months ago and it is growing far beyond anything I had imagined– now I am running at an all out sprint to keep up. My plan was to work at my full time job and shoot an occasional wedding or two for the joy of it and use the extra income for travel or photography equipment. In actuality though, I have been getting constant contacts to cover weddings, to the point of this income rivaling that of my full time job (don’t be too impressed I make very little at my FT, lol). I have invested every penny back into my business creating a website (www.lisarhinehartphotography.com), upgrading to top of the line photography equipment, getting quality insurance and a solid contract, etc. What I’m lacking is a brand– a concept of who I am as a photographer, a feeling for where I’m going and an ability to channel all of this energy so that it is streamlined in a sustainable direction. I also need fellowship. I like the idea of hard questions, accountability and connecting with others who love people, think creatively and support each other. I believe that MTH2010 would take my career to another level and help me to make some of the big decisions that I will be facing in the upcoming months. Thank you for taking the time to read this, may all the attendees grow, prosper and be blessed by MTH!

  72. Lisa Rhinehart

    All that and I neglected to state my area. I would be able to attend Pittsburgh or DC both of which are quite a bit away. ;)

  73. Lisa Rhinehart

    This morning as I warmed my body with Rooibos tea and Quaker oats, I warmed my heart and imagination by reading Jasmine Star’s blog,– great way to start a cold winter day! It linked to this site. I followed. As I read about MTH I got goosebumps– this is EXACTLY perfect timing for this experience in my journey, I could never afford it, but there was a SCHOLARSHIP, praise the Lord!!! Then, I read the part about the deadline. I decided I would still share my story, just to get it out there and who knows maybe some late scholarship money will roll in, you never know …
    My story: I started my wedding photography business six months ago and it is growing far beyond anything I had imagined– now I am running at an all out sprint to keep up. My plan was to work at my full time job and shoot an occasional wedding or two for the joy of it and use the extra income for travel or photography equipment. In actuality though, I have been getting constant contacts to cover weddings, to the point of this income rivaling that of my full time job (don’t be too impressed I make very little at my FT, lol). I have invested every penny back into my business creating a website (www.lisarhinehartphotography.com), upgrading to top of the line photography equipment, getting quality insurance and a solid contract. What I’m lacking is a brand– a concept of who I am as a photographer, a feeling for where I’m going and an ability to channel all of this energy so that it is streamlined in a sustainable direction. I also need fellowship. I like the idea of hard questions, accountability and connecting with others who love people, think creatively and support each other. I believe that MTH2010 would take my career to another level and help me to make some of the big decisions that I will be facing in the upcoming months. Thank you for taking the time to read this, may all the attendees grow and be blessed by MTH!