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.
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!