Jul 19, 2017

Making Things Happen: Join Me in March 2018!

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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?

Making Things Happen

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.


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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.

Want to take a peek inside the conference? Take a look here. I can’t wait to see you there! GET YOUR SEAT NOW.

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!

Big congratulations to Katie T. for winning the first Yvette Price Scholarship!

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  1. Kaylee on July 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hooray! I cant wait for my first MTH!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Yes! I’m so excited for you!

  2. Katie @ A Place to Dwell on July 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I would LOVE to come. I’ve been thinking about it for a few years, and I think this might be the year I need to make it happen (no pun intended!). 🙂 I am currently facing a season of great unknown and have been feeling “stuck.” I’m really pressing in to the Lord to see what might be next in His plan for me. This conference could be a great experience to uncover that! 🙂

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Friend, I hope you come!!

  3. Jessica on July 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I can’t wait for the 2018 MTH conference!!! Would absolutely love to go!And I’d love to visit Chapel Hill NC too! Y’all make it sound so charming and delightful! Cannot wait!!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Yay!! We can’t wait to see you!

  4. Jessica on July 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I recently discovered PowerSheets and am already loving them. This conference sounds inspiring and life changing. Would love to attend!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      I’m so grateful the PowerSheets have encouraged you! : )

  5. Sara on July 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    This is super exciting! I’ve wanted to attend a conference for awhile and hopefully 2018 is the year for me! In the past year, I’ve gotten married and had a baby and now we just bought our first home, I’m starting a new job and on the verge of launching a small business. If I ever needed some help on doing what matters…now is the time!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Yes! We would love to have you join us in March!

  6. CoCo on July 19, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks so much for hosting and a chance to win a seat. This conference sounds amazing!

  7. Sara on July 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    I’ve also been encouraging my Secret Sister at church on a regular basis and am putting together a gift for her this evening. We have our reveal in a few weeks and I’m excited to unveil myself to her. 🙂

  8. Angie Erickson on July 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    What an amazing opportunity, Lara! Thanks for giving us the history of this amazing conference. Fingers crossed that I will be there in person next spring!

  9. MEGAN on July 19, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Love this so much! Such a timely reminder- not just to make things happen, but to make the right things happen!

  10. Lindsay on July 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    I’m currently at a cross-roads. I’m confused about the direction I should go and fearful of making the wrong choice. I want to be proud of the legacy that I’ve left. I want to make things happen. I have a lot of ideas, but I know I can’t do it all and do it well, so I would love to be able to attend a conference like this to be encouraged in the RIGHT things and not ALL the things.

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      You are not alone. I hope you can join us in March, but even if you aren’t able to, I hope the resources from Cultivate What Matters encourage you on this journey! : )

  11. Chasity McKinney on July 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    I’m making it a goal to attend MTH 2018! I’m very excited to meet other like-minded ladies! 🙂

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Yahoo, we can’t wait to see you there!

  12. Melissa Q on July 19, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I hope to accomplish defining tangible, life-giving goals that will move my family relationships and my ministry forward. I don’t even know what those might look like yet!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      I love your direction!

  13. Katie T. on July 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    This looks so fun and encouraging — and it’s right around my birthday! Maybe I can scrape up the funds to make it. 🙂

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      We’d love to have you join us!

  14. Elizabeth on July 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I heard about MTH a few years ago and have been intrigued by it since. I would love to attend!

  15. Katie T. on July 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    The image that appears on the “Pin This” button is from the Fruitful Summer giveaway!

    • Lara on July 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you for letting me know! Going to fix that now! : )

  16. Candace on July 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Would love to come, we’ll see! I would want to work through a nudge to start a writing career (scary!!).

  17. Deanna on July 19, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Wow, this conference looks amazing! How thoughtful to give away a scholarship seat in memory of Yvette. I am so thankful for you Lara and CWM for helping me crush my goals every month and to allow myself to dream.

  18. Petra on July 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Love your heart behind all you do & the way it shines through Lara!!!

  19. Petra on July 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I “nudged” my dear friend Amy on our Fitness Tracking Band we both have. She just left my house and I feel so loved & encouraged by just being with her! So I sent her a little love heart on her wrist <3

  20. Clarita Castro on July 19, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I would love to make it to this conference! I am currently in Santiago, Chile working in missions. However, my term ends January 2018. The next stage in our lives is very important for my husband and I. We are seeking to be business owners one day and would love a great start up. Blessings.

  21. Melony King on July 19, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping women like myself live victoriously. God bless you and your helpers. You continue to motivate and encourage me and I’m now looking at life through a better, more focused lense. Thank you!

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      Thank you for your very kind words of encouragement, Melony!

  22. Olivia on July 19, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    I have been reading about the MTH Conference for years and have been itching to make my way there to encounter, encourage, and learn from fellow woman who are looking to cultivate what matters most in their lives. I would love a seat here, and would be honored to get the chance to hug all you lovely ladies!

  23. Olivia on July 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Today, I called my sister to encourage her in the midst of major transition. Speaking truth to her heart blessed us both!

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      That is so wonderful!

  24. Quinn on July 20, 2017 at 12:07 am

    I want to come to this conference to set the foundation for the rest of my life. I’ve always been a “yes” person. In the past year, I’ve tried to focus on doing the things that enrich my life, make me happy, and make a genuine impact. I feel like that is the embodiment of the Making Things Happen conference. I really want to go! If I am not the lucky person to win this seat, I’m going to bust my butt to try and get there!

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Yes! You have it right – that’s our heart! I hope to see you there too!

  25. Gretchen on July 20, 2017 at 12:14 am

    I found Cultivate What Matter about 3 months ago and I love the site and everything that y’all stand for! I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 2017 PowerSheets, but I can’t wait for the new ones to come out!

    This conference sounds like a wonderful opportunity and what I would hope to accomplish is:

    1. As a wife, mom of 4 kids 4 and under, full time professional, and an entrepreneur I hope the conference would help me uncover my passions more so that I can grow my business and in return, help other moms find their passions!

    2. Make lasting friendships with like minded women!

    3. That the conference would help me work through the clutter in my head to really help me grow as a woman, mom, and entrepreneur!

    Thank you for this opportunity!

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I love all you shared, Gretchen! We would love to have you join us!

  26. Britt on July 20, 2017 at 6:44 am

    I would love to come!! Will have to look at the calendar 🙂 I would love to dig deep and get really intentional about my faith & my work.

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      I hope to see you there, Britt!

  27. Britt on July 20, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Sent a little note to my friend – we’re getting together for dinner tomorrow night now

  28. Jess on July 20, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I’m so excited about the 2018 conference, and I can’t wait to meet all the wonderful ladies who will be joining us!

  29. Kelly on July 20, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I want to come to this conference, and have wanted to come for many years. As I’m new in my job role be praying I find a way to communicate with my supervisor why this is important and have the time off, and discover ways to fund attending this conference. This has been on my heart for many years and I hope this is the year I can make it!

  30. Anna on July 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    Coming to the MTH would help me to face the path that God is calling me to walk , because it’s a challenge for me to trust Him that much, and it would give the courage to face the things that matter most to me and how to pursue them and make the a priority.
    Thanks, Lara and the team for giving such a thoughtful scholarship.

  31. jenna shriver on July 20, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, I love reading about what MTH has become! God has been working so much in my heart this year and impressed a calling on me. It would be neat timing to attend this workshop as something new is beginning in my life! And what an honor it would be to receive a scholarship in Yvette’s memory.

  32. Braska on July 20, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Lara, you are a wonder! I love, LOVE, following you with your Insta stories, and have watched you for years now even before MTH was born! Ever since I’ve dreamed of one day coming to experience the lifting and motivation (and healing) that I’ve read so many stories from attendees encounter. It would be a dream come to life to attend a conference some day, and hug your neck in person. Until then consider this a giant virtual hug from me to you as a thank you for all the ways you inspire and motivate me even through just social media!! ????

    • Lara on July 20, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      What a joy to read your encouraging words. Thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin here over the years : ) I hope I get to hug you too!

  33. Michelle on July 20, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I’ve been dreaming about being able to attend the MTH conference for years! Now that I’m officially a NC resident, I’m hoping I’ll be able to make this dream happen!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Yay, Michelle!!

  34. Shannon on July 20, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    I would love to attend to really dig in to my power seats. I really want to learn how to utilize them at their potential!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Yes! We would love to see you!

  35. elisabeth on July 20, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    I would love to attend and win this honored spot at MTH! At the conference, I would hope to uncover my deepest heart goals for what I really want to do in my career and as a mom. I feel stuck and uncertain, and frustrated that I feel this way after several years.
    Although I have grown through using the 2017 Powersheets, (love them!!!), I am eager to delve deeper and really make some big things happen for myself, my family and God’s kingdom. Thanks for the opportunity Lara and team! And thanks for all your encouraging words and content! 🙂

  36. Jasmine C on July 20, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Love hearing how God has used and molded MTH through the years! Hoping to join you in the spring, and uncover some good goals for this next season of life in ministry!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      I hope to see you too, Jasmine!

  37. Crystal Foley on July 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I would love to come and learn to thrive in my newish role as a stay at home Mom to a 5yr old and a 11mo old foster to adopt baby. It’s been an adjustment after working as a hairdresser for 12yrs! But it’s also a sweet time.

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Wow, I admire you so much, Crystal. I have always marveled at the hearts of foster parents. Huge hugs to you!

  38. Kimberly on July 20, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I’m making the commitment to myself and my future that I will attend MTH next year- despite my insecurities and fears. I will learn and grow and be encouraged to take new steps and cultivate new friendships, because I only get one life and I want it to be worthwhile!!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      I cannot wait to hug you!!

  39. Karlie on July 21, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I would love to come to this! Just not sure the cost is feasible for me yet. I’m working on my graphic design business and building that up right now!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      That’s wonderful! We have flexible payment plans too – if you would like info, email Kristin @ SouthernWeddings.com : )

  40. Elyse on July 21, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. Thanks for sharing! I have a few friends that have been in the past, and they speak very highly of the conference. Keep on doing what you are doing–you encourage so many of us!

    • Lara on July 21, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      I’m so grateful to hear that! Thank you, Elyse!

  41. Laura on July 21, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I’d love to attend! It’s my first year using PowerSheets and they are really amazing… such inspiring. I want more 🙂

  42. Lindsey on July 21, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    I want to make a difference in people’s lives by doing something I love.

  43. Brooke on July 22, 2017 at 12:10 am

    Love following this journey!

  44. Bailey Jean on July 23, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    One of these days I’ll get to Making Things Happen! I feel a new heart season of dreaming with Jesus coming on, and I think Making Things Happen would help me get clarity about some of those dreams and how to get things going <3 Plus I'd love to hug all of your sweet necks!

  45. Jenna on July 24, 2017 at 12:24 am

    I’ve fear that’s holding me back from accomplishing my dreams, but too many dreams that is adding to my fear.

    Clearly, I need help in making some decisions, and formulating a concrete plan in pursuing my projects despite the fear and indecisiveness.

  46. Lesley on July 24, 2017 at 10:57 am

    This makes me excited! I’d love to attend…first so I could meet you and your team in person. I feel like you all are friends. Secondly, to work towards mapping out a personal career action plan. It would help me tremendously to be able to set some good goals for both my personal and professional life. I think it would be life giving all the way around. Thank you!

  47. Melissa Reynolds on July 24, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I think this would be so completely amazing to see!

  48. Mattye on July 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    LOVE MTH so much!! The continual process from what I learned at the conference, through PowerSheets, reading Make It Happen and Cultivate, and staying connected to other people who want to live on purpose, has truly and simply transformed my life. So grateful! In this season, I want to make family and motherhood happen. I want to make simplified living happen. I’m excited to keep taking next steps in this journey. Love you, Lara!

  49. Amanda N Boser on July 25, 2017 at 9:35 am

    At the Making Things Happen conference, I would love to take the time to look back on my season of undergoing treatment for breast cancer and then discover what it means to live on purpose in this new season of life now that I am nearing the end of my treatment for breast cancer.

  50. Lindsey on July 25, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I want to learn how to balance my personal dreams while also maintaining a good relationship with my husband, and staying passionate about my job,

  51. Sarah on July 26, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    If I get to go, I’d hope that I would become inspired to a) see my graphic design certificate to completion and b) start writing more again!

  52. Emily on July 26, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    This sounds amazing! I’d love to go!

  53. Jill on July 28, 2017 at 9:04 am

    I would love to attend the MTH confrenece and personally would love to gain encouragement (and maybe encourage others too!). I would love to hear testimonies of other women, that were like me, wanting to be more, do more, live the best, most intentional life and how they made those things happen.

  54. Heather on July 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    So excited to attend this year for the first time!!

    • Lara on July 31, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Yahoo! We can’t wait to see you!!!

  55. Katy Zitzmann on July 29, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I would love to come to really dig into my goals around ministry and about what I need to cut out! I so am easily pulled in the “I want to do it all.”

    Love your heart behind it all and the journey you’re on! Thanks for sharing along the way ☺️

  56. Melissa on July 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Sounds fantastic! We’ve recently added another blessing (baby) to our family, and we are looking to strengthen and possibly revamp our family business. But I could really use some “Big Picture” work!

  57. Elizabeth on July 31, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    What a beautiful way to honor your friend!

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