The Making Things Happen Conference began in 2009 after I posted a blog entry answering a question I’d been emailed. I was running Southern Weddings magazine, doing brand consulting, and producing high-end weddings (wow, how life has changed since then!), and the woman who emailed wanted to know, “How do you make things happen, Lara?”
At the time, having your own “creative business” was not commonplace. In fact, it was in many ways, looked down upon to step outside the bounds of the corporate world to pave your own path. If you didn’t have formal training in something, how could you pursue it as a career?
I fought these thoughts: How could I lead a team when I had no experience? How could I publish a magazine without a degree in journalism or business? How could I succeed on mere passion and gusto?
The truth is, I couldn’t. But, I’ll get to that part of the story in a minute.
I replied to the woman and asked her if it would be okay if I blogged my answer so others could be encouraged too. As soon as I hit publish on the post “How to Make Things Happen,” my life changed forever. Dozens of comments poured in. Emails. Texts. Calls. This post had struck a chord with people who were tired of feeling stuck. That first post grew quickly into a movement. A friend suggested I take these ideas on the road and teach them to people.
Emily Ley above at the very first Making Things Happen intensive in Watercolor, Florida, in 2009
Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler and I traveled all across the country doing the Making Things Happen Intensive together. We visited dozens of cities and made friends that are still strong to this day. It was an exciting time of helping people break down barriers and to do the things they’d always wanted to do.
Above: on tour in Atlanta in 2011
But, here’s where the story takes a turn.
I did all the things I wanted to do (at the time). I had a growing business. I was traveling and speaking and doing creative work. But, it came at a cost. I didn’t know how to balance it all. Even doing too much of a good thing is too much. My marriage was falling apart. I was working 24/7 at the expense of everything else. My work became my worth. You can read the whole story in my book, Make It Happen.
I couldn’t succeed on mere passion and gusto. I had to learn to make the right things happen. I began learning these truths:
Making things happen means knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all.
Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS–on growing what lasts longer than you.
Making things happen means learning to say NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique assignment–not someone else’s assignment.
Making things happen means making decisions that will get you to where you want to be when you’re 80 years old.
Making things happen means taking risks, taking action, and embracing tension.
Making things happen – the right things – changes everything.
The 2015 Making Things Happen Conference where I first met my farmer-florist friend Erin Benzakein.
As I began learning these truths and living them, the Making Things Happen movement did an 180-degree turn too. We got off the road and turned the intensive into a two-day conference here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But, the biggest change of all was teaching attendees to make the right things happen.
Everyone else was saying, “Do more! Be more!” And you know what? That was wearing everyone out. We began teaching something entirely different: do less. Do what matters.
Our 1000+ alumni have made dreams come to life, launched new businesses, left behind unfulfilling habits, transformed marriages and families, and helped thousands of other women live on purpose too. And it was out of this conference and my annual Goal Setting Series that an editor approached me about writing my first book, Make It Happen. This work was resonating with people. It was different.
The MTH Encouragement Crew!
Who is MTH for? This is where MTH is different from other conferences. You won’t be listening to a panel of speakers tell you how to do things; you’ll be led through a powerful process where YOU uncover good goals and make an action plan that fits your specific life and dreams. MTH is for everyone: love-at-home moms, corporate CEO’s, students, creatives, non-creatives, and everyone in between have joined us over the last nine years. Whether you know what you want to make happen and need an action plan, or you need help uncovering good goals, MTH is for you. And all ages join us: from college freshmen to women in their 60’s who are ready for a new chapter in life. The unifying factor is a desire to live intentionally and make the most of your time and gifts.
MTH is unlike any other conference. It’s like doing PowerSheets in person and meeting a group of women who think like you and will cheer you on in every step forward. Together, we uncover what matters to you and do something about it. Every time I lead this conference, I do the work right along with the attendees. And every time I’m changed. There’s no magic to it, but we have learned a lot over these nine years to help women simplify and take action. You might be a mother or wife who is struggling to balance family responsibilities. You might be a working professional trying to run with a big idea. Or you might be a small business owner burning the candle at both ends. (Or all of the above!) If you’re ready to use your potential on purpose, MTH is for you.
The March 2017 Conference at the Carolina Inn
I want you to join me in Chapel Hill on March 19 and 20th for our 52nd experience! This is the only conference I’ll be speaking at in 2018. Many of you have told me you’d love to go. Take the leap. I’ve been doing this conference for nine years and I believe in the work we are doing. Your gifts have a purpose and they were meant to be used!
The early-bird rate ($1000 off) ends December 31—or till we sell out—and we’ve sold out every conference. Since we are not doing a conference this coming fall (we’re launching the 10th-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings in November!), we fully expect to sell out for March.
I’d love to hear from you: what do you want to make happen?
Yvette above at MTH 2015, doing what she did best: sharing her heart and passion for the good of others!
P.S. We’re giving away one scholarship seat in memory my long-time friend, Yvette Price, who embodied all that we teach at MTH. She was courageous in her battle with cancer and made what matters happen despite great challenges. She grew what would last longer than her: a whole lot of love and joy in the lives of others. In her honor, we’re excited to give away one seat to either an alum or new attendee. This scholarship is for the full ticket price not including travel or accommodations. Enter below to win the Yvette Price Scholarship by July 31st!