Six years ago, feeling totally overwhelmed by the large list of things I wasn’t taking good care of (but really wanted to!), I decided to do something different. I was tired of living in regret: forgetting my priorities, neglecting things and people that needed nurturing, and feeling like my time was totally out of my control.
So, I made a list.
I wrote out all the areas of my life, projects, and people that needed my care. I wrote out the things I wanted to tend to. If I could just remember to care for them little by little over time, I believed that tending would add up. Much like when you tend to a plant, watering it over time, it grows and flourishes.
I called this list of priorities my “Tending List.”
– to give one’s attention to
– to lead or be directed in a particular direction
Yes. I needed to do those things.
I was living by accident instead of on purpose. I wasn’t giving my attention to the things that mattered most to me, but rather just trying to keep up. Have you felt that before?
I took the principles and prompts from my goal-setting series and the Making Things Happen Conference, and turned them into interactive worksheets that included the Tending List. I created these powerful (as opposed to lacking purpose and energy–which is what I didn’t want to feel anymore) worksheets to help me and my team set meaningful goals.
I named them exactly what they were: PowerSheets.
And then I started thinking crazy thoughts: What if I shared these with other people? Would they like them? Would this process work for them? And how in the world do I make my own product?? (Zero people were doing this at the time except for larger companies and retailers and my friend Emily, who was a huge help to us as we got started).
We found a local printer, printed the first sets of PowerSheets that we hand-collated ourselves, and started the Lara Casey Shop in 2013. I was so nervous! I wrote a hand-written note to our first customer, telling her how grateful I was and hoping she loved everything.
And you guys.
The stuff we experienced as we tried to figure out how to run an online shop back then (things are so much more turn-key for new shop owners now!):
Days of our lives (literally) spent trying to figure out the Dymo printer to make shipping labels.
Countless phone calls with USPS to figure out box sizes and shipping rates and weights.
Lots of trial and error (a lot of error) learning how to do customer service (which we now call customer delight!).
Lots of laughs as Gracie stickered several dozen orders with farm animal stickers one year.
Many trips to the post office to hand-deliver orders.
The happiest day ever when we realized we could have USPS pick up boxes at my house!
And shipping orders from our little home office here in North Carolina. We were grateful!
The first PowerSheets above, and our first shop manager and dear friend, Emily.
People indeed loved the PowerSheets. Moms, business owners, students, women in corporate roles, teachers, and women in varied seasons of life loved them, and there was a unifying factor that holds true today: a desire to live intentionally. To not forget our priorities. To uncover good goals and do something about them.
That makes me especially grateful.
I have close friends at church who are several decades older than me who tell me about their PowerSheets journeys, as well as high school students that write me letters to tell me of their adventures too. I am grateful to walk this journey alongside so many different women in so many walks of life and seasons!
Our 2014 PowerSheets above with lots of vintage products above. I still have a “Let’s Do This” card on my desk.
The 2015 PowerSheets were changed dramatically in process and I released my first book that year.
And then I got a little messy with paint ; ) And we took a big leap of faith and made a spiral-bound one-year workbook in 2016.
We did all the shipping ourselves. Are you ready for these next photos??
Here’s how it went: a semi would pull up into our quiet residential neighborhood. Nope, no one was moving in, friends. But, LOTS OF BOXES were!
Most businesses have loading docks with several trained loading/unloading professionals (who have forklifts!); we had strength and determination!
We pushed several tons of product into my garage and hoped the neighbors didn’t think we were nuts.
Move over, Charlie’s Angels — meet the Pallet Posse! Ha!
And then, the shipping parties began and we called all of our friends to help (we love you so much, friends!).
One of those friends on the far left below had no idea she would one day work for us. We love you, Jess!
It has been an unexpected and wonderful journey of change:
We did this shipping-out-of-my-house madness until one Thanksgiving when my family sat on shipping boxes for dinner because our dining room was full of PowerSheets orders. That was it.
We moved all the boxes out of my house and garage (we can park a car in there now which is rather miraculous!) and we found a local fulfillment warehouse close to us here in Chapel Hill.
Gracie helping to load our sweet mail carrier, Walter’s, truck.
But what has changed the most over the years is the PowerSheets process. The PowerSheets have changed and grown aesthetically (from loose binder sheets to bound workbooks, the addition of stickers and color, new features, etc.)…
… but most of all the process has been deeply refined every time we release a new edition.
My September 2017 Goals above.
As women all over the world use them, including us, we listen. And we change and innovate. Our office mottos are:
If you’re not excited about it, no one will be. Which means we make products we love and use ourselves.
Make it better. Which means we are always taking things to the next level to help people cultivate what matters.
SAVE THE DATE: The 2018 PowerSheets release on October 25th! If you are on my email list, you’ll get to see our new collection before we release them to the public. I have the first sneak peek email going out on Monday, so be sure to add your name to the list.
I hope you enjoyed this look back at how PowerSheets and our shop have changed over the years. THANK YOU SO MUCH to so many who have supported us and cheered us on over the years. I’d love to know: when did you first begin using PowerSheets for your goals? We are so thankful for our long-time family and new friends too!
P.S. There is one more date to save. Join Emily Ley and me next week to learn How to Create a Cultivated Calendar. Register here for free.