I got a surprise package in the mail today from Harmony Walton, owner of Bridal Bar, who is is one of the most genuine, giving people in the wedding business. I can always count on her to lift me up and tell it like it is. Inside was this book. When I get a new book or a magazine, I immediately flip through, usually starting in the middle, just to look at pictures. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I never start from the beginning.
The first page I flipped to…
To name your fears is to destroy them.
What are you afraid of?
Losing your love?
Losing your job?
Having no money?
Not having it all?
TURN IT AROUND –
Transmute fear to energy.
You could be –
Making another decision.
Living peacefully alone.
Finding new love.
Beginning a new career.
Living more frugally, harmoniously, graciously.
Understanding life and the infinity of the spirit.
Moving forward to a new phase.
Currently listening to Let Go // BarlowGirl
Fear is the biggest thing holding you back from living your best life – the life you know you should be living right now in this moment. I will admit, I am at a crossroads in my life right now. My fears have been bubbling to the surface lately as if they mean to stare me in the face and draw swords. Really sharp, shiny, menacing swords. God has recently shown me path I need to take and I’m fighting it. I know I am. I think I’m not good enough, too busy, too broken to follow it. I fear how it will change me. How crazy is that!? I know full-well that God will protect me with every step, but fear grabs ahold of me and builds massive brick walls around me daily. It feels like that, but the funny thing is… fear isn’t tangible. It’s just a feeling floating around in space. Yet, somehow it paralyzes us. Nod your head, raise your hand, give me an “amen!” or something if you feel paralyzed or in any way help back by fear. Why are you letting it rule you? How much does it rule you? If you can challenge yourself to answer those questions clearly, I promise that the simple act of defining those answers will motivate an active change in your life. I’m not at all saying I do this well all the time or that it is easy. I’m able to talk about this because I’m constantly wracked with fear and work actively to fight it. I get it because I’m there with you.
Stop right now. If you are taking the time to read this post, you can take the time to pick up your pen and write this down…
I am afraid of ____[insert fear- no natter how silly, huge, irrational, or crazy it sounds]____ because ____[insert worst-case scenario outcome… the absolute worst mental picture of the scene that would play out if this fear was realized]____.
If I wasn’t afraid of ____[insert aforementioned fear]____ I would ____[what do you know deep down that you are capable of doing or being without this fear holding you back?]____.
If this fear didn’t hold me back, I would feel ____[What would it feel like? Freedom? Light? Clear? Yeah. I thought so.]____.
Just thinking these answers doesn’t count, folks. You can burn, toss, or shred your paper after this. Merely thinking them means that the fear is still floating around somewhere, taking up precious mental space that you could be using to move on. You could perform the simple act of putting your thoughts on paper by using that pen there… and thereby igniting the flame that may fire you up to live that life you know is right at your finger tips. There is power in small action. I’m harping on this because every time I do it, I see the immense power in it. Just do it. If it doesn’t help, I’ll give you … well, nothing. If it doesn’t help, you didn’t really do it.
When we feel fear –that thing inside of us that wells up and makes us want to crawl into a hole, the butterflies, the pit in our stomach– it’s a SIGN! The big glowing neon sign reads “step into me”. Yes, it seems counter-intuitive, but fear is a sign that there’s something there worth conquering. Step into your fear. Feel it. Move towards it with care and open eyes. Fear is meant to make us question our actions and weigh risk. Fear is an opportunity.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
These are actual pages from my MTH notebook. I never intended to share them, but in the spirit of naming fear, I’m laying them out for you here. Writing these words –finding the right words– was crazy hard. I could have just put “I’m afraid of failing” but that’s not really getting to the heart of it. What are you afraid of failing at?
What does the simple act of naming our fears really do? I came back from the first leg of the MTH Tour with clarity. After 80 hours of self-reflection in 10 jam-packed days, it was like a mac truck hit me. I got back and that Monday with a massive list that I was determined to conquer ASAP. Once you find clarity, you have no choice but to act on it. It was like I finally had all the puzzle pieces in one place and I just had to get them put together. I went off the radar for about a week doing the following:
First thing Monday morning, I declared it “the week of getting structured and conquering loose ends.” We redid the office, cleared the clutter and started over.
I hired a new accountant, poured through financial records and prepared the business taxes. I am not a numbers person. This does not come easy for me. I am the queen of “Sorry if this is a dumb question, but…”
When I started working in the wedding business, I started with Bliss Event Group, my wedding production company. While we still have a few select weddings on the books, as the magazine has grown, I’ve purposely phased this business out over time. All of our accounts and legal documents were formed through Bliss, which has become confusing since we don’t operate from that business very much compared to others. So, I formed Lara Casey Media as our holding company for Bliss, Southern Weddings® (<— love that little guy) and Lara Casey Reps. No, it’s not a new company. It’s just the house they all live in. This has helped so much lately with accounts and streamlining our brand.
I streamlined Twitter accounts. I got rid of the @WeddingRep twitter account and changed it to @LaraCaseyReps. I started to feel like “WeddingRep” was impersonal and I don’t just work with wedding professionals. I also got rid of about 5 other twitter accounts that were just sitting there doing nothing. This may sound like a tiny change, but it worked wonders to clarify our brand. I made clear goals for each twitter account as far as the audience I was targeting and content. Think on this: if a new client happened on your twitter page (or Oprah, for that matter… you just never know), what would your first 10 tweets say about you? Does your bio just say “photographer” or nothing at all? What does your picture say about you and the experience your clients will have if they hire you? This stuff matters and if you think your clients aren’t reading your twitter feed, you’re wrong. Twitter is meant to be authentic and somewhat spontaneous, but for business use you also have to have a mission for the content you are putting out. Twitter is essentially micro-blogging. Also, remember that the number of twitter followers you have doesn’t mean much. They loyalty and interaction you have with your “Tribe” of twitter followers is exponentially valuable.
I booked all of us tickets to NY that weekend after I got back to take Katharine to Kleinfeld to see Randy and to meet with creative business consultant, Sean Low. I was ready to invest in someone giving us a solid opinion on our business structure. Much more about our trip to NY and our meeting with Sean in the next post. That day deserves its own series.
I toiled day and night to clear my inbox. Many times “clearing our inbox” really means making a lot of decisions we don’t want to make yet. Instead of returning emails we get on Twitter, facebook, and let distraction rule us. Writing the email really takes no time at all. Writing 100 a day on average takes a lot of time. Wavering on decisions that hold us back from replying to those emails can take an eternity. Like we always say around here… It is better to make a decision you are 80% sure of than no decision at all. It’s OK to fail as long as you committed.
On a personal note, I committed to more time in the gym, more time in my Bible, less time working at night and more time doing little things for my husband to show him that –even when I’m insanely busy– he is my first priority.
I started to live my ideal day: waking up earlier, inspired environment, feeding my soul with goodness from the first moment I open my eyes, taking time to do the things that make me feel most alive and whole, and so much more. This is a principle we teach in the MTH Intensives. Blog post coming soon.
Most significantly, our Monday morning huddle that week was, to put it mildly, epic. I told Katharine and Emily the roles in our company that I was grooming them for and we clarified job descriptions. I’ve never seen them as focused and fired up as they are now. I realized I wasn’t tapping into even half of their potential and needed to give them more responsibility. No, I won’t tell you exactly what that means now, but you will certainly find out in time. They are brilliant women. Spend an hour with them; you’ll see.
There are 1000 other things, but my laundry list may bore you to tears. Let’s just say, life around here is more focused and, as a result, sweeter. It was great before, but great can always be improved. Great has been re-defined in our office.
Doing all of those things above may seem simple and, despite barely sleeping for a week because I just wanted it all done, it was. It was a breeze. Why? Because I had done the work beforehand to clarify my fear and then make an active plan based on what I discovered. Clarity creates conviction which creates action. Clarifying my fear was not easy. At all. As I wrote in my post last week, I spent ten days writing, crying, laughing, getting angry and getting real about my life. The veil was lifted. While that was a luxury to have that time, I know the power of even taking 10 minutes to read this post and write those answers above. Every time I did it, in every city, I got clearer and clearer. Layer by layer, fear started to peel back.
No matter where you are in life or how overwhelmed you may be reading this post and thinking of those fears, just know that your fears do not define you. You are not your thoughts. You are not your fears. Simon T Bailey always says, “Fear isn’t final.” So true. Replace fear with love and you will unlock more confidence and humble power than you can imagine. What does that mean in a practical sense? I leave in a few hours for Altanta to speak at The Simple Plan workshop tomorrow. I realize this is going to sound silly, but I’m scared to give a PowerPoint presentation. Put me in front of a crowd of thousands with no script and I’m all good. Give me structure and I start to freak out. Why do you think I work for myself? So, in preparing, I’ve focused on how I can impart knowledge and really listen to each attendee rather than what they will think of me. I’m replacing fear (paralyzing) with love (action).
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
Oddly enough, 90% of the people I have met on the road are afraid of success. We are afraid of what the greatness within us will command us to do. What percentage of your potential are you functioning at right now? Imagine if you were at even 70%. Crazy thought, right?
A favorite quote that my bff sent me one day last week when I was having a rough day… “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson
OK, off to pack and head to the airport. I’m traveling solo this week to Hotlanta and Nashvegas. Thanks for listening and taking this journey with me, friends.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
So, what are you afraid of? Name your fears. Destroy them. I know you can.