Author: Lara

Okay, moment of truth: Have you had a difficult time saying no lately?

Saying no is hard, so you always say yes:
Yes, I’d love to do that for you.
Yes, I’ll be there.
Yes, I’ll get it done.
Yes, yes, and one more yes.

And now you’re feeling stretched thin—like you have no control over that three-letter word that keeps slipping out of your mouth! I have been there a billion times over!

In this NEW episode of the podcast, my friend Emily P. Freeman joins me to chat all things decisions and saying yes to the right things. You’ll learn the 3 key questions to ask yourself when faced with any decision, big or small, that will help you say YES to what matters and no to all the rest—with confidence!

LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— I begin by telling you about some of my own “nos,” including to travel when my kids were younger. That one “no” made so many other decisions easy, and led to many great yeses!
— I introduce you to my friend Emily P. Freeman! She’s an author, a podcast host, and a “curious listener.” She helps women discern their next right thing in love, and she was the perfect guest to chat with about saying yes and saying no. 
— I give you three key questions to ask yourself when you’re faced with a decision. One of my favorites: “Are you being pushed by fear or led by love?” (That’s some goodness from Emily’s book!)
— Then, we chat about two very practical things to do that will help you say no, including a fool-proof phrase when you’re put on the spot!
— By the end of the episode, you’ll know how to decide if a yes or a no is the best next step, you’ll feel confident in your answers, and you’ll believe that every no can lead to a better yes!

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— You can find Emily on her website, listen to her podcast, or read her new book, The Next Right Thing!
— I share the many ways of saying “no” from my friend Jessica N. Turners’ book, The Fringe Hours.
— Other books I love about soulful decision making: The Best Yes, Essentialism, and What’s Best Next.
— Based around the idea that we can’t do it all and do it all well but we CAN do what matters, my book, Cultivate, will help you sift through the many options in front of you as you hone in on your big picture vision.
— The PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner is designed to help you make your best decisions and then live them out, little by little. PowerSheets are 30% off right now and going fast! Once they’re gone, they’re gone. 2020 PowerSheets release in October!

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode is up!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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Have you ever said yes to something and quickly regretted it? I’m raising my hand, too, and cringing thinking about it!

Get ready to become a master of the gracious “no” over the next two episodes of the podcast!

In today’s episode, my long-time co-worker, Emily Thomas, and I pull back the curtain on some big decisions we made—and some we didn’t make on purpose. Get ready for some never-before-told stories about our partnership with Southern Living, hiring my first employee, and some surprising decisions we made about a TV show!

We had so much fun making this special behind-the-scenes episode for you. LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— You meet my friend and coworker of ten years, Emily Thomas! Emily is our Chief of Staff at Cultivate What Matters and served as the Creative Director of Southern Weddings for many years. We begin by chatting about how Emily came to work at SW (it’s a good story involving a certain journal!).
— You’ll learn how we decide which things to make happen – and which things to say a gracious “no” to.
— You’ll hear about the beginnings of Southern Weddings (and how my musical theater degree was actually really helpful!). You’ll be encouraged to ask, “why not?”
— You’ll hear about one of the scariest things I’ve ever done—hiring my first employee. I also share my number one tip for hiring great team members.
— I tell you how I came to write my first book (hint: it had something to do with this blog you’re reading!).
— We tell you about one of the things we did NOT make happen—a TV show!—and why.
— We talk about why we changed the format of our Making Things Happen Conference, and how to know when to adapt to a new season.
— Our WHY and mission also led us to open our shop (first the Southern Weddings Shop, then the Cultivate Shop!). We chat about the profit of people and why that led us to partner with Southern Living Magazine (plus pies!).
— Remember the Lara Casey Shop?? And the first set of PowerSheets? We talk about why we added COLOR to PowerSheets and changed the name of our shop – two of the biggest and scariest changes we’ve ever made! We talk about how we move forward when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of changing.
— We end by telling you one of our favorite stories of all time, about the day Southern Living came to Lara’s house. Listen until the end—it’s a good one 🙂
— You’ll end the episode fired up and believing that small decisions, made with great intention, can change the world. We believe in you!

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— The Southern Weddings archive is still alive and well!
— My How To Make Things Happen, Volume 1 blog post was the beginning of so many good things!
Sign up to here to hear about our NEW in-person experience and about the next Making Things Happen Conference—I’d love to see you there!
— My first book is Making Things Happen. I’m so grateful for a simple way to give people my story!
— My tips for writing a book!
That handwriting piece is still going strong.
— We tell the full story of the Southern Weddings chapter in Episode 016: How to Let Go of a Dream.
— It wouldn’t be a CYL podcast episode without talking about Traction and the Entrepreneurial Operating System! 🙂 EOS is the business model we use at Cultivate!
— It also wouldn’t be an episode without talking about our PowerSheets! We talk about our WHY and our mission throughout this episode. If you’re not clear on your why, PowerSheets will help get you create a strong vision for your life and/or business and get after it.
— I end by pointing you to Emily’s own blog – one of my favorites to read! Don’t miss her Marvelous Money series.

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode is up!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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Well—2019 is almost halfway over.

This year has not gone like you thought it would.
Time feels like it’s flying.
You feel like it’s too late to make progress on anything this year.
You started all wrong, you’ve gone from feeling behind to feeling like the year is over.
You feel like you’ve failed.

But, this year isn’t over—not even close! In today’s episode, I’ll walk you through three steps to make the rest of 2019 count, no matter how it started. (Whew!) You’re going to hear from women just like you who are struggling with their goals, and you’ll learn how to break free. We’re going to finish this year strong together—with joy! Let’s talk!

LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:
—I start by giving you an update on my own 2019 goals—which ones I’ve made progress on and which ones I’ve tweaked.
—I tell you my Enneagram Type and how it relates to Mid-Year Goals Prep Week (this week!). I tell you about some of the (many!) important things I have started on days other than January 1st.
—I walk you through three simple steps to finish this year well, having made progress on what matters most to you.
—Then, I put my Goal Coach hat on and troubleshoot the issues YOU’VE told us you’re having with your goals at this point in the year. I give specific solutions to help you move forward!
—I end by giving you four simple goal setting hacks I use to make little-by-little progress. I think one of them will work for you, too!
—You’ll end the episode believing what I know to be true: what matters far more than how you started this year is how you finish it, and you can finish it well.

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— It’s Mid-Year Goals Prep Week! We love a fresh start around here. Follow along on Cultivate’s Instagram and blog!
— When you write your goals down, you’re statistically more likely to get results! I use my PowerSheets goal planner to set and achieve my goals—the things that really matter to me. Buy yours now at a 30% discount! (They won’t last long at this rate!)
— I taught a live class this week for Mid-Year Goals Prep Week, and you all were on fire in the comments! Watch the replay!
— Here are the four 2019 goals I laid out in January. I’ve made little-by-little progress on all of them!
— I’ve been loving the comment function on YouVersion’s app – makes it fun to read along with friends!
— Doing Write the Word at night has been a game-changer for me, and so was the Fresh Faith Challenge we ran in January. (More WTW journals coming soon—text CULTIVATEFAITH to 55222 for sneak peeks!)
— I use my phone’s Notes app to add scripture that relates to my goals throughout the year.
— Ari and I read God and Money to align on our No Spend Year goal before setting our budget with YNAB.
— I also did Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge for the first three months of the year and opened an Acorns account!
— In homeschool, Grace has been loving Math-U-See, and we’ve all been loving the garden, as we chatted about in Episode 017.

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode is up!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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We’re almost to the half-way point of 2019 and you’re feeling it.

Life keeps happening.
Daily pressures keep pressing.
You want to make progress on the things you’ve always wanted to do. But, you’re starting to think it’s not possible to achieve your goals this year—it feels like it’s too late.

It’s no surprise you feel this way! The world tries to convince you that that, in order to have a meaningful life, you have to do it all and be it all. You have to have made perfect progress on your goals from January 1 to now. You have to have it all together. You have to take big shiny steps forward. You have to do “big things” to have value.

Ugh!

I’ve been there, too. Feeling like I have to do it all and be it all. Escaping to social media, to distractions, to comparison, to whatever we can find to avoid that voice that keeps telling us we’re not good enough.

There’s a better way forward! A simple way. Like my garden, it’s the way of growing slow and well.

My little buddy exploring the community garden down the street from us!

Starting next Monday, I’m going to guide you through 3 steps to finally make progress on your goals—no matter how your year started. Ready for a life reset without the pressure, guilt, or that feeling of never catching up?

Welcome to your LIFE RESET.

Whether you’ve made progress this year, completely forgot about your goals, or never set them in the first place, Mid-Year Goals Prep Week is for you—and it’s going to be FUN!

3 steps to get ready for your Mid-Year RESET:
1. Grab your PowerSheets—no matter where you are in your goals, I’ll help you get refreshed!
2. Follow Cultivate What Matters on Instagram for Mid-Year Goals coaching and fun all week.
3. Sign up for my free live class next Monday at 1 pm ET. Let’s make it a date! I’ll guide you through the 3 steps to make the rest of 2019 count—no matter how it started (and of course I’ll send you the replay if you can’t join live!). Save your spot now.

And now, a quick progress update from my May PowerSheets goals! May was a big month! Grace finished 1st grade, all the kiddos started the transition-to-summer, and Mommy eased lots of big emotions for sweet little hearts who don’t love transition! : ) We had a refreshing trip to the beach, planted the garden, and ate breakfast outside. It was a good month!

May Monthly Goals:
— Love the Word (above all else!) – One of our work benefits is an allowance for books, so I got a new ESV study Bible and have been loving it alongside my Write the Word Prayer journal, which I’m almost done with!
— Make our family summer plans – Done! We’re headed to the mountains in June and August and have simple summer fun plans thanks to many of your suggestions and the Summer Wildcard Page pack.
— Train team members (2 Corinthians 3:2 is my verse for this!) – So much progress here that I am very grateful for! I work with amazing women.
— Make our summer homeschool plan – Done! We ordered all of our 2nd-grade books, too! (By the way, the new version of the Cultivated Homeschool Planner is coming soon! Stay tuned!)
— Plant the garden + Josh’s farm – FINALLY!!! Listen in here for the story of how this almost didn’t happen.

May Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath. – Many naps with Josh transpired! And we had an especially sweet Shabbat with some friends at the beach, complete with a seder meal and singing!
— Do something for the joy of it—HIS joy! – Goodness, I loved this goal. It was a reminder to live with joy! From being silly with the kids to telling funny stories to making fun things for breakfast, this was a delight.
— Be in the Word with Ari – This was pretty simple – a reminder to have spiritual conversation with him!

May Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading – Yes, and continuing to LOVE this reading time with friends each morning!
— 10k steps every day – Progress not perfection here. I’m so glad I set this goal—it motivated me to move!
— Read aloud to our kids – We already finished some of our second-grade books and made some good library trips. Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea has us rolling in laughter every time!
— Write the Word – Yes, little by little steps forward here, too!
— Exercise it out! – Progress! I’ve been walking and running in our driveway while the kiddos play in the garden.

Here’s a little marriage advice we shared this month that resonated with many of you!

Don’t miss these from May!
One of your favorite podcast episodes launched in May! In How to Let Go of A Dream, I share the story of letting go of Southern Weddings and the surprising thing that happened next.
—Learn how to take back your summer before it starts!
—Feel like it’s too late to start a goal since it’s not January 1? Here are 3 reasons to start your goals today.
See big change in 5 different goal areas. Check out our NEW Downloadable Goal Guides in friendship, finance, relationships, parenting, or wellness!

On to June! It’s a new month and I’m ready for that mid-year reset! I’m excited to dig into these June PowerSheets goals (Goal Setting Sticker Book in hand, of course!)!

New goals for June!

June Monthly Goals:
— Seek His wisdom
— Ask His wisdom
— Pass on His wisdom (There’s clearly a theme in June! ☺️ )
— Enjoy the garden
— Train leaders—pass on wisdom
— Dig into summer homeschool
— Do all of the new goal guides! Ari and I are halfway through the Couples Goal Guide and it has been AMAZING.
— Learn to number my days (life is short—play in the sprinklers!)

June Weekly Goals:
— Sabbath rest
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging things to grow! Ha!
— Love people well
— Simplify + systemize my work
— Finish reading Letters to the Church, Rocket Fuel, and The Out of Sync Child

June Daily Goals:
Write the Word (P.S. Brand new Write the Word journals are coming in July and they are so good!)
— Bible reading
— Run!!
— Read aloud to the kids

Your turn! Do you have goals for June? Comment below and I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! Congrats to May’s winner, Tiffany!

P.S.  Let’s have a coffee date on Monday! Join me for the free live class where I’ll guide you through the 3 steps to make the rest of 2019 count––no matter how it started (and of course I’ll send you the replay if you can’t join live)––save your seat now.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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There’s something you want to do, and it’s not done yet. It really matters to you, though, and you’re frustrated that you haven’t done it!

On top of that, summer is coming and you’re feeling it. You’re feeling the pressure to finally do that thing or… accept defeat.

I was right there a couple weeks ago. There was something I really wanted to do, and I was stuck. I thought it was too late and that I had missed my chance.

In this episode, learn how my garden almost didn’t get planted, how I took back my summer, and how you can, too!

LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:
—I begin by telling you why there’s been a little break between new episodes (spoiler alert: I can’t do it all and do it well, either!).
—You’ll hear allll the reasons I thought it was too late to plant my garden—and the one reason that helped me push past the excuses and get out there in the dirt.
—Want to know what we’re planting this year? I’m spilling the beans!
—Have you been frustrated lately? I share how our times of frustration can lead to our best breakthroughs and our most passionate work!
—I remind you that there are almost 100 days of summer, and summer hasn’t even started yet! You have time to grab hold of the memories right in front of you, and I give you three simple steps to do so (don’t forget to break it down!).
—Finally, I tell you why I think goal setting is FUN! Yes, really! 🙂

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— We love planting seeds from Floret and Park Seed!
— Keep up with our garden progress via Gracie’s Garden account.
— Learn to plant your own garden! I give you my best tips in my Gardening 101 class.
— Our new collection is here to help you use your time with no regrets this summer! The NEW accessories are meant to be used alongside your PowerSheets for meaningful and fun steps forward on what matters most to you.

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode is up!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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