Episode 025 of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast was released on October 16, 2019. Listen here!

We’re on. Hi. Hello.

So let’s talk. Have you ever gone through the motions in life and just felt so frustrated waking up and feeling like, “I am doing the same things I’ve always done, and I’m feeling it. I feel like I want my life to change. And yet I keep doing the same things over and over again. And here I am back in the same place again stuck. I want to do things differently.” Well, today, I’m going to help you to get unstuck and I’m going to take you behind the scenes behind the creation and the history of the Powersheets Goal Planner, let’s do it.

You know, all those things you’ve always wanted to do. You should go do them. The things that last longer than you, the things that run deeper and are more thrilling than skydiving, the things that make you come alive. Welcome to the Cultivate Your Life Podcast, where each week we talk about how to uncover what matters to you in the big picture and start acting like it today. Whether you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or in need of some refreshing truth today, I’m Lara and you are in the right place. Let’s Cultivate What Matters together.

I was right there with you. So there, so frustrated looking back on the year I had just lived and just feeling like I could have made progress on my goals if I first would have remembered them. Real talk if I first would have remembered them, and I had a light bulb moment. I thought, “What if I just even tended to these goals? Not even every day, not even every week, but some of these things I could just touch on them once a month. And Whoa, I make progress on those. What if I just even tended to them little by little, maybe would add up over time.” And so I sat at my desk one day with that frustration as my fuel. And I wrote down on just a scrap piece of paper, and I want you to do this right now. Grab some paper, if you’re driving, grab paper later, make a mental note.

But I wrote out on a scrap piece of paper, all the things that were important to me at the time. I had just had my first child, I had a business I was growing, I was running Southern Weddings magazine, the business was growing. Everything seemed like it was growing and yet, I was getting a lot of things done. But the only thing that really felt done was me. So I sat at my desk. And for the first time ever, I asked myself this question. And you know, we’ve talked about this question so many times. But let me tell you, it is the question that is worth repeating over and over every day of your life to direct you forward. Where do you want to be when you’re 80 years old? And if you’re 80 listening to this, hello, my friend. Where do you want to be your net when you’re 90 or 100 or 102? Where do you want to be in the big picture?

“What’s going to matter to you then Lara,” that’s what I said to myself. What’s going to matter to you in the big picture? What are you spending your time on today? I was so frustrated feeling like I was just doing the same things I had always done and getting the same result I’d always gotten. So I wrote out on this piece of paper, all the things that were important to me at the time, things I wanted to grow. Everything from my faith, my marriage, my motherhood. Man, I felt so not confident at all in motherhood. I wanted to, even things like take care of my Facebook page. I don’t think Instagram was around then. So everything. Everything to me. I looked at all of these items that had to do with pouring into other people’s hearts. And I just thought, even things like my Facebook page, if I just would get on there once a month, and post something, encouraging something lovely for people to behold in that space, maybe it would make a difference in people’s lives.

And I called this this scrap piece of paper, my first tending list. Because that’s what it was things I wanted to tend to. And I thought, “Okay, I got this tending list.” I stuck it on my desk and you know what I started to do as I was working? I started making different decisions. And all because I was looking at this list. It was so simple. It was just the visibility, that accountability of seeing what was important, and looking at my computer and saying, “Okay, do these two things match up? Do they match up? Am I doing something about these things?” And it was that visibility that drove me forward to start to make some change and to start doing things differently. But then I started to feel like, “Okay, all right. This is working for me. But how do I know what’s important on this list? Like what’s the priority here? How do I know what to put on my tending list?” And so I made myself a series of worksheets to try to help me take all this jumble of thought, all these things in my head and make sense of what actually matters.

I know you feel that. Sometimes we think things matter. But do they actually matter? Do I actually need to spend my time on that? Everything feels urgent until we stop and we realize we have a little perspective shift and we realize, “Oh, yeah, a lot of this is really not that important.” But in order to get to that point, I needed some worksheets. I need some help. So I made myself some worksheets.

And then I share these worksheets. I had a business with Emily Lay at the time. And I was doing consulting, and she was doing design for the brands. And the consulting that I was doing was all about how do we help you find the heart of your business? And how do we play that out and everything that you do from your customer touch points all the way through that experience? And I thought, “Well, these worksheets I’ve made, I think they’d help them, they would know what’s most important in their lives and therefore, how to give that right back to their clients and the people that they serve on a daily basis.” So I tested these worksheets out with these branding clients that I had. And wow, it was making a really big difference.

And then had this crazy thought. Do you ever had crazy thoughts? Yeah, me too. That’s probably why we’re here together. But I had this crazy thought. I thought, “I wonder if anybody else out there is having a hard time figuring out what’s most important in life, balancing that with their daily responsibilities and then doing something about it. I wonder if anybody else is frustrated by goal setting because goal setting, don’t like you.” And I had these thoughts, and I thought, “Well, this will be really crazy. Nobody else really has a shop and that I know of.” I think my friend Lindsay Sherbondy of Lindsay Letter, she had a shop at the time, a couple of her friends did and it was just not something people did. And yet I thought, “Well, the only way to get these into people’s hands is either to sell them on my friend steps or to sell them at a shop somehow.”

So we just got online and there was only I think, a couple of shop platforms at the time. It was Etsy or Big Cartel. And so we put the first set of worksheets out on Big Cartel and we call them Powersheets. And the reason is I’m even looking at my light switch right now. And I’m thinking, “Okay, if I flip that light switch down, I’m going to be in the dark in here. I’m going to have no way to see my way. I’m going to fumble through the room to try to get to the… it’s just going to be a lot of mess.” I wanted goals that had power, that illuminated my path forward. It’s very simple. When a light bulb has power, it lights the way for others. When you turn the switch off, it doesn’t. I wanted powerful goals. And another definition of the word power is something that has the ability to change something or someone. Well, yeah, sign me up for that, right?

So that’s what became the Powersheets, worksheets designed to help you illuminate your path forward. And we put them out on this Big Cartel site. And I think our first order quantity we printed them with a local printer here. They were just black and white loose-leaf worksheets. And we printed them with a local printer. I think we printed maybe like 100 or 200, maybe 300 sets, which felt like so many. I mean, I often hear people talk about numbers, about growing their business or whatever, growing their following black. Can’t even say the words out loud, it makes me cringe. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re doing it with the right heart. But let me tell you, even talking about a seemingly small number of 300 Powersheet sets, what if there were 300 people in your house right now? That’s a whole lot of people. That is a lot of hearts.

And so it felt monumental, just to even get one of these things into someone’s hands. I mean, I had chills telling you right now because I was so scared. First of all, we didn’t have all the fancy things we have now. Like, don’t even talk about shipping warehouses. That was not at all in our plans. We didn’t have things like a label maker, this Dynamo label thing that prints your addresses out. That was like way too fancy for us. We hand addressed everything. I’d done with Southern Weddings for a decade, I had written a handwritten thank you note with every order that went out the door. And I remember, I hope you’re listening right now, I remember the first person and if you’re out there, this is for you. The first woman that purchased a set of Powersheets from the shop and I wrote her a note. I don’t want to get all teary eyed. And I just thanked her so much for putting her trust in us. Just the trust to be able to invest her dollars into this product and it just felt so big. I felt such a weight of responsibility.

And we had no idea what people were going to think of these things. I was so scared and I put them out there and sure enough people loved them. It was a way to have a structure that helped you to be introspective and helped you to really make progress on the things that matter most. That was very simple. Just fill out the worksheets and when you fill out the worksheets, they’re going to help you to see where you need to go. And then we were shipping them out of my house too of course. Addressing by hand, shipping them out of my house. The ladies in my office had already gotten me a sign one year for Christmas, Emily Thomas had made me assign. She had like the hand decorated this plaque of wood that said, it says… I still have it above my garage. It says, “Shipping department.” I’m getting all teary eyed again.

The Lord is so crazy. I never imagined we’d be here. He’s so good. And I remember hanging that sign up above the door to our garage that Christmas and just feeling like what are we doing? What are we doing sending this national magazine out of my garage and these Powersheets. It was just a time to be alive. A really cool thing to know that I didn’t have any experience in this. But the Lord led me here, and he’s leading you too. Most of the time we don’t feel ready or equipped for what God has for us, for the dreams and goals He wants us to step into. And guess what? If we did, we wouldn’t need him. So now in the times where I feel completely out of my comfort zone, and so like I’m a fish out of water and any other metaphor you could use that really parallels with being completely uncomfortable, I praise him. Because I know it means I’m going to have to rely on Him.

What happened next as we continued to print with a local printer. Lots of people asked me, “How do you get started making a physical product?” You can go listen to my interview with Amy Porterfield for so much more on this. But the best tip I give people is work with a local printer. Because you get this beautiful advantage of building a relationship with someone who can help to answer all your dumb questions. That was the case for me. I didn’t know anything about paperweights. I mean, I knew a little bit from Southern Weddings. But writing on things was a whole new ball game. How do you find a paper that doesn’t bleed through and how do you know what inks to use? And so many things can be helped by using a local printer. And I just love supporting local businesses.

Now, let me give you a side note to printing things locally. We hand-collated these ourselves. So they had tabs, still do, dividing each month, the original Powersheets were in again, the loose leaf set of worksheets. It was a six month set. And we hand-collated those puppies, we meaning all my friends. All my, really, really generous, I-love-you-so-much friends would come over, we’d have these Powersheets, packing parties, on my driveway, on my back porch, in my living room. There were boxes everywhere. And so we were grassroots. We still are grassroots in so many ways, but we packed them all and shipped all the orders out of my office, which was my house that time.

Okay, so we’re selling the Powersheets as loose leaf sets. They were three hole punched. But that’s not what they look like today. Let’s talk about when that change happened. In 2015, we changed the inside of the Powersheets dramatically. We had a huge revision of the goal setting process. Here’s why. The internet started to grow. And so many of you have been so generous over the years to tell us your stories. And in telling us your stories we wanted to reflect those stories right back out into the world to inspire others. Now, the original name of our shop was the Lara Casey shop, because it started with that handwriting and print that you and I talked about last week. You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do, you should go do them. We started our shop with that first handwriting print. The Powersheets came next.

And naturally, it was the Lara Casey shop at first. It was just my handwriting and a couple things we were making. We did not at all, let me repeat, we did not at all think that this was ever going to turn into a business. We just thought, “Oh cool. Some people are interested in this. We need a way to be able to exchange money for them so we can pay for them. So we will put a little shop thing up and let people do that.” We had no grand vision beyond that. Our grand vision was one person. I just thought if I can affect one person’s life with these things, yes. I’m going to try it. The power of one still permeates everything we do today. We believe that it’s more important to affect one person’s life profoundly than it is thousands and masses of people. Thousands of masses of people is not a bad thing. But more importantly is the way Jesus did it one to one, a one-to-one relationship with people.

But then things started to feel a little weird with the shop name. We started an Instagram accounts, the Gram came around the corner and our Instagram handle was of course, Lara Casey Shop, and yet we were starting to tell your stories. And our handle was Lara Casey Shop. And we were starting to give goal coaching and resources and inspiration. We weren’t trying to sell things. And it just felt, I don’t know strange, like a sweater that doesn’t fit quite right and kind of like rides up on you. I don’t like that feeling. That’s how it felt. So I remember in 2015 things were going well. This was turning into a business. It was just growing and growing and things were good on paper. And usually when things are good on paper, you should probably not change them, right?

People always ask me how we’ve grown so much over the years, and I can’t give you an answer. I just feel like it’s just the Lord has been good to us. And we hope to turn that right back around into the world to say thank you to Him through all that we do. But I do think that one thing he’s allowed us to do is to stop in the moments when it seems like everything is fine and ask him how can we do it better? I have chills again. So we had some pretty interesting conversations. I wish I had the notes on the long list of names we considered changing our shop to, because they were hilarious. We started talking about changing the name of the shop to something else. We thought, we’re not selling things. We’re trying to help people live cultivated life, we want to help people to Cultivate What Matters. We want to help them to just like the word says, like break up the soil of their lives to prepare it for new growth. And the longer we had these conversations about what to call it, we kept thinking, “Well, what are we doing here? Helping women to Cultivate What Matters. Well, why don’t we just call it Cultivate What Matters?” Voila. That’s what we did. We changed the name to Cultivate What Matters.

And that’s not all we did. I remember sitting with our designer, our wonderful Nicole Yang, who we worked alongside for seven years. She’s still a great cheerleader of our brand, and we just got to work with her on a photoshoot a few weeks ago, but I remember sitting with Nicole and if you know Nicole, you know she really likes the color orange. If you know me, you know I like some colors. I just remember distinctly. And I love you, Nicole, if you listen to this. I remember distinctly saying to each other. Wouldn’t it be so cool if we put color in the Powersheets? Oh, man. And then the next sentence was, “Oh, we can’t do that. No. You know why? Because we wouldn’t be something for everyone. We can’t. We can’t do that. What if people don’t like color? We should just keep them black and white and a little bit of tan.” That was our thing. Black and white, a little bit of tan, loose leaf worksheet so that you can customize it yourself. We kept coming back to it.

And I remembered our office motto for years, years and years, I’ve always said it’s our unofficial office motto, let’s just go ahead and make this thing official. Our office motto is that if you’re not excited about it, no one’s going to be excited about it. And that’s a call to authenticity, it’s a call to be real about what fires you up. Because you know what the things that make you come alive, those things can be so deeply tied to the way God created you and He wants you to pass those things right back to other people. Even if it means that some people may not like it. And so we did a crazy thing.

And we mocked up we were just like, “We’re not going to really like do this. We’re just going to try it.” And we put some color into the Powersheets file and I remember Nicole and I looking at each other like, we can’t go back. I know, right? You look at even anything on the Cultivate website, you’re like, “How did you guys not have color before?” And if you’re someone out there that’s thinking I don’t really like color so much. Come to the colorful side. Come on over is fun on the colorful side. Even just a little pop of color in your life. Just think about it, what’s a garden without some color. And trust me even if you like gardens that are all white flowers. There’s some green in there. Okay.

So we added color to the Powersheets, we change them from being loose leaf worksheets to a bound workbook, we used a spiral bound coil. And we also did something big because of you because of your stories, because of listening to you. We thought, “You know what? It would better serve our community if they had a full year of goal setting, not just six months. A full year of a guided experience to carry them from start to finish.” And so we made it a year. That was our first one year workbook for the 2016 Powersheets. And we outgrew the shipping department, AKA my garage and my living room. We had way too many orders one year and always good problem to have, except for when it’s Thanksgiving Day and your parents, and your family ended up sitting on shipping boxes for dinner. And of course, I said, “Enough is enough. I think it’s time we move.”

So we partnered with a local fulfillment solution, a warehouse here and we outgrew that warehouse within a year. And then we outgrew that warehouse within a year, which was such a blessing and we moved all of our inventory to where we are now, which is a wonderful warehouse and fulfillment center in the great state of Kentucky.

And I can tell you all kinds of interesting stories about the history of Powersheets and how we got here. But really, none of it really matters. What really matters is what you have done from your experience and the Powersheets. None of this story about us means anything if women don’t grab these Powersheet sets and open them up and make a big mess. So in 2016, I also was going through a pretty challenging year. It was the year that I just had Joshua after going through a loss before that. And long period of waiting and we had adopted Sarah six months later. And things were pretty chaotic in my house. It was right around the time that started to feel like this business is growing and Southern Weddings is growing and I can’t do all of this. I was writing, Cultivate, I know, right? Two new children and two growing businesses and trying to write a book on top of that, and you’re like, “How did you do it all?” I know, I didn’t. I just didn’t. I cried a lot. I had a lot of anxiety that led me to God’s feet. And it was a very difficult season.

That hard season turned into one of the biggest turning points in my life and in our business. Because I wanted to quit my business. I remember one night, actually saying those words out loud to have them in my head constantly, like so much pressure. Again, maybe you’re there right now feeling this pressure of all the things, all the expectations and the to-do list and, “How am I going to do all of this?” Because you just feel like I just can’t you feel stuck. That’s why I felt just felt. I’m trying to nurse two kids all night and run this business and this other business. I mean, all these things I know you can relate to those feelings of feeling like, “I just can’t do it all.” And so I thought to myself, “Okay, the only logical thing to do here,” and I said this to Ari.

I was like, “The only logical thing to do here Ari is to give something up, and I cannot nor would I ever want to give up the things in this house. My children, our marriage, anything in that realm. So clearly the only other choice is to give up my business.” And I thought for sure he was going to say, yes, Lara, you are correct. No. As you know, from one of the early episodes where we talked together, you know that he did not say that to me. He said, Lara, I don’t think that God wants you to give up just yet. I did not want to hear that. But I remember that next day, sitting at my dining room table with my Powersheets out, and I actually got on my knees. And that’s a very vulnerable thing to talk about. I think Ari was at work and I just remember being there in my living room and I thought, “I need God’s help.” And I got down on my floor, on my knees and I prayed. I just said, God, “I’m here with open hands. I’m really willing and ready to give all this up. You just tell me what to do.”

And after months and months of praying, I finally got the clear answer. He said, “Don’t give up, help other women to not give up in the middle of the mess. Welcome to Cultivate What Matters in the middle of the mess.” I got up, I wrote those words in my Powersheets, so I would not forget them. And I didn’t quit my business. But God did want me to quit something. He wanted me to quit relying on my own strength. He wanted me to learn to Cultivate What Matters in the middle of the mess. You probably thought that I was going to tell you in this podcast episode about all the big leaps and tricks and hacks and things you could do to get unstuck. And I’m not here to tell you that. I’m here to tell you the truth. The truth is if you want to get unstuck, make the next best step. And then make the next best step after that. And then make the next best step after that. And the next best step up. Yep, we just keep on going with this. Little by little by little.

Small actions are the things that add up to real change. Sure you could take a big leap of faith. But you know what? Those little by little small daily steps, they’re going to actually get you to where you want to go a whole lot faster than overnight results. Because do you know how many times you’ve rebounded from doing overnight things? You think on January 1st, you wake up and you say, “I’m going to change my whole life. Here’s all the things we’re going to different.” And then come January 2nd, around like noon. You are so worn out from trying to do it all that you just need a nap. Yeah, I’ve been there. I’ve been there. And that is not the way we do things. Praise the Lord.

The story of Powersheets is your story. Not my story. It’s not cultivate story. It’s your story. This is the story of a woman who decided that she was so tired of doing things the same way she’d always done them. You know what she was just frustrated, and she used that frustration as fuel to live life. Like this is the only life she’s got. This is a story of a woman who decided to finally say yes to the things that matter and no to everything else that just does not matter. This is the story of a woman who decided to come alive. That woman is you.

Nicole paid off $30000 in debt. Joelle, she joined a career development course to kickstart her business. Katie made weekly date nights a priority. Go Katie, and hasn’t missed one yet. Beth Ann was accepted into her dream grad program. Caitlin sold her house, Sarah accepted a full time job she can’t wait to get started on. Congrats Sarah. Casey has developed deep, meaningful friendships with two other moms in her neighborhood. Now these women, they’re in various stages of life, and work different jobs, but they have all found success. And when I say success, you know what I mean. Success in the big picture. It’s not about getting a job or a title or moving forward in something that you can see with your eyes. It’s about doing the things that we were created to do. But they all found this by doing things differently from the rest of the world. And you can start doing these things today.

Here’s what they did. They all had these things in common, as did the thousands of other women that have used this proven process. Number one, they didn’t give up at the first sign of imperfection. Remember how God told me in that moment, to help women Cultivate What Matters in the middle of the mess, not someday when they have it all together, they will be able to Cultivate What Matters. No. God said, “You know what? Peonies they grow through the dirt, in the mess, not in some like perfect, clear sand. They grow in dirt,” and so do we. So these women, they knew the truth that all progress is imperfect progress. Number two, they believed in little by little progress. They knew that in growing things slowly, they would avoid burnout. And now you know that too. They focused on mini goals. So breaking those big goals down into really doable, small goals. And those mini goals they really added up over time. Number three, they knew it would be very easy to get distracted and go through the motions. You and I both know that too. We’ve been there. We don’t want to do that anymore.

So what they did is they kept what matters in front of them with their Powersheets, tending list which is the cornerstone page in the Powersheets where this whole journey started now you know the list of their priorities was in front of them all the time. And finally, they committed to the long haul. But surprise, they saw immediate results too. Okay, bonus, they also made it fun. So that kind of success lasts. That’s the kind of success that women have had with the Powersheets. That’s why I say this is not our story. This is your story. You are the one that has been using Powersheets for the last eight years. Many of you still have those binder sets. You’re the ones that have been taking the leaps of faith and making those small steps forward over time. And those have been adding up. We forget sometimes that actually, we have grown a lot. We look at other people’s lives, we compare our lives to other people, and we think, “I haven’t grown as much as she has,” or, “she’s a lot further along than me,” or, “man, I feel like I’ve made no progress on this.”

And that’s where for me personally, the Powersheets have intersected with my life and completely changed that have thrown that comparison out the window. Because I get to look at my Powersheets, which are never perfect because they’re not supposed to be. And I see progress that’s added up over time. There’s so much neuroscience behind all of this too. People who write down their goals are 42% more likely to achieve them. Why is that? You and I have had quite the journey this year talking about the brain, our lovely brains, and about how the simple act of writing things down in our own messy handwriting changes things. Go back and listen to all the episodes. We’ve talked at length about this together. But I’m convinced. I’m convinced because I see it in my life every day. When I write something down in my Powersheets it changes me.

And so people have asked us for years, “Can you please make a digital version of this?” Trust me, I get it. We have so many international friends, I wish I could fly all their orders on a plane, the plane would be really cute, it’d be super cultivatey, we’d have flowers growing and window boxes, it’d be just awesome. But until then, we don’t have any plans to make a digital version because it would not be as effective as the proven process is right now the way it’s set up. And not just in the fact of using your own handwriting and the power of handwriting. But we have worked so hard throughout the years to create a user experience from the moment you touch the materials on the cover to opening up the first page to the colors that we’ve chosen inside it is all extremely intentional. We follow color theory and all the neuroscience behind color theory and how different colors affect your brain and how words interact with you as you hit them on the page with your eyes.

So for instance, there are certain sections where we know that there will be more challenging things to write down. When we start talking about fears for instance, we want to give your brain a sense of calm as you move into that. So you’re able to write those things down with no trepidation. And so we use cooler colors in there. That’s just one basic example. But from the moment people open their Powersheets, we have thought through every single detail. I can’t replicate that digitally. It’s an experience for all our five senses. And that leads me to today.

So now you know, the history of power issues and how they really started in my own life of trying to solve a problem that I had, and then how they worked in other people’s lives and little by little over time over the course of the last over eight years, the Powersheets have grown and changed as you have grown and changed as you have so generously shared your stories of transformation with us whether it is big transformation, like a huge leap of faith with a new career or a whole new direction life, down to the things that may seem small, but to me, those are the big things like spending more time with your loved ones, or those fringe hours in the evening spending those in a more intentional way or sharing more face to face eye to eye time with someone that you want to grow relationship with. Those things matter. So it’s you have created this powerful tool that has helped thousands of women across the world to Cultivate What Matters. I have chills again, all the chills.

So that leads us to this year. This year, we did something different. We had specific focus groups, and a focus group sounds like a businessey thing but what it is a listing group for us. It’s like we get together with a bunch of friends from various walks of life, various different stages of life, and we ask them about their experience in setting goals. And so many of you thousands of you helped us in our survey. And again, I know surveys again seem like, “Oh, just a businessey thing.” We read every single word, we know that you’re another person on the other side of that. Those things really matter to us. Not just as a small business, but as a small business that is here to help Shepherd hearts. We take it very seriously. And our longtime dear friend, Amber Housley, she always likes to keep me in line. I like taking things very seriously. But we also got have a lot of fun.

All that to say, let me tell you about now. So how did we create the 2020 Powersheets and how did those go from an idea to our hands? I’m going to give you a real behind the scenes in the process. Are you ready for this? So what happens is somewhere around the very first portion of the year when you’re using your brand new Powersheets, we instantly go into the mode of creating next year’s Powersheets. We’d love to even work further ahead than that. But we first have to listen. We listen, we interact. We hear your stories, we watch as you go through the Powersheets prep work, those first worksheets that guide you seamlessly to uncover your goals. We listen. And then we take all those survey feedback pieces, and we take all the focus group things, and I pray about it. I do.

Like I said, I take this very seriously when I say seriously, it’s just a joy. It’s a joy of a responsibility to create a tool that helps guide you to what matters. I just will never get over that. So thank you so much for allowing me to do this work too. And I couldn’t literally could not do it without you, without your feedback and your kindness and your letters and I’m sitting here right now I have one on my desk.

It is eight pages. Eight pages, a handwritten letter from a lovely reader who shared her entire Powersheets journey. Casey. Casey you’re so sweet and so incredibly generous. So little tangent here. But it just want to say thank you guys so much. It really does mean so much to us to get your letters in the mail and all your kindness. So we take all the feedback, and I pray over it. And through teaching the Powersheets too I learned a lot about how I might want to change the process or help smooth things out or make things clear in a certain place. And then I spend about a week going piece by piece by piece doing nothing else, but that I really have to just completely block out my time to rewrite the process from start to finish. And this year in particular, I just felt like it was time for a change, that you are wanting something new, you’re wanting to go deeper, you’re wanting to make this simpler, you’re wanting to number your days.

You and I have had so many conversations this year together here on the podcast about how to number our days and use this gift of a life like this is the only life we’ve got. And it is. And it’s been so fun to see all of the leaps of faith that have come out of those conversations together. And so all of that got integrated into the 2020 Powersheets. Also got keep it fun. So my husband said 2020, that’s got to be the year of clear vision. So we’ve been having a lot of fun with that too. And we incorporated a lot of fun touches into this year’s Powersheets that I think are going to delight you. Of course, as always a full page of stickers. Okay, back to it. So I work deeply on that process for about a week and I step away from it and I come back to it, pray on and I come back to it. And then I work with our designers. And I say, “Okay, this is what I’m envisioning for this year.” And we start to do what we call a sketch. So we open up the previous year’s file and we start pulling stuff out, we start reordering pages. We just kind of do it live on the screen together. So we start to sketch that out.

And then once we’ve got the sketch done, I say, “Okay,” and now we take more time, and I take time to start writing the text. I write the bigger pieces of text for the Powersheets, all the coaching, and then Emily Thomas comes alongside me to make it all grammatically correct. It’s always good to have an Emily Thomas in your back pocket. And so we work together to finalize the text while the design is being finalized. And we probably go through about, I don’t know, eight to 20 rounds of back and forth on that. And then we do the fun part and we create the covers. This is very similar to the process that we went through with Southern Weddings. We would wait until close to the middle of the process to choose a cover. Because it always had to be an image that just spoke to the heart of what we had just created. And so we go through the process of choosing covers.

Now, choosing covers is such a fun process because we dream about you and about you in the various places you’re going to be in your life, whether that’s in the kitchen or at your desk or in your car. And we just envision these products in your real life, how are they going to interact with your real life, how are they going to hold up to the daily wear and tear, materials are something that’s very important to us. So this year, we took another big leap of faith, and we said, “Okay, we see a need to serve.” It always starts with a need to serve. “We see a need to serve women to create a more durable product for their lives, and a product that feels more like they are creating a legacy.” Because that’s what Powersheets help you do. It’s not just to throw away you know, three-dollar note book that you get at the store. This is where you are writing the most important things in your life. It’s like an archival notebook.

And so we decided to take the materials up a notch. And now this year, we’ve had flexible covers previous to this. We have hard covers now to protect the magic on the inside. And lots of construction pieces too. And I get I’m giving you all the behind the scenes, lots of construction pieces that we test, and we get samples in, we send them off to our printing partner. And we get samples of the coils, we got samples of the gold corners, we got samples of the pockets, and I pull on these things. I smash on these things, because I’m like, “Look, this needs to hold up to real life.” So that’s the next part of the process is once we have the cover designs finalized, we usually do a surprise group text to our whole team to say “Okay, here’s the final<” maybe it’s six that we end up with at the very end. “Which ones do you like?” And it’s usually a very excited debate about which ones we should go with. That have to say do they’re usually clear winners, we refine our covers a bit more.

And then we’ve got a final file. Well, an almost final file. This file gets sent off to our printing partners. And we get what’s called a wet proof back. And that means that it is a proof that it’s like, I don’t know, six inches tall. It’s like a huge layer cake size. And it is just pages of, I don’t know what kind of paper it is. But whatever paper it is, it’s going to show us the correct colors. It’s not the final paper that they’ll be printed on. But it’s just for the purpose of reading the text and seeing how the pages layout and they send us this giant stack of paper. It’s so fun. I remember that the day it comes in, it’s like everybody circles around that little stack of paper and they want to see it. And so that gets passed then to our writing team and they’ll do it another final copy edit on it.

And then if I feel like I need more time with the file, I might go through it a few more times just to perfect it and really work through that user experience a little bit more. I just think about you. I do. I know that might sound creepy, but I do in a so not creepy way. I think about the things that you might struggle with. And I certainly don’t know all of them. But I love listening to the stories you tell us and we take that feedback into account to make a product that is truly made by you and made for you.

Okay, next round, is we wait a little while and the manufacturer sends us a full sample. Now the full sample is not really full because it’s just blank pages inside but we get to see the cover on top, the construction of the tabs. And so we get to really play with the physical construction at that point. And then the next proof is going to be the one that is an actual file, it’s going to be the whole thing down together just like you would see it when you had it in your hands on launch day or when you ordered your product. There’s so much more that goes into the process of taking a product from an idea all the way to reality. But the most important thing you need to know is it finally gets to our warehouse in Kentucky, and it gets tucked into the shelves and it waits for you so expectantly for you to get your set in your hands in the mail. Happiest mail day ever. You get that bright yellow, Cultivate What Matters box. You open up your Powersheets, and you have in front of you in your hands possibility.

Now you could keep doing things the same way you’ve always done them and not make any change. And you would end up right back here where you are maybe feeling a little frustrated, overwhelmed at times, maybe a lot of overwhelmed. You could. You could keep on going in circles feeling like you’re not really living this life or you could make a change. And remember that change does not have to be groundbreakingly monumental. The change could be so small. A small acorn seed. Do you know that that’s where the angel oak tree started. The angel oak tree is so big it’s, it’s about I think something like over 100 feet from tip to tip. It’s so big that a car could drive through the trunk of it. And all started with one little acorn. That’s what a cultivated life starts with. It starts with you just taking that shovel and hammering it into the soil of your life, giving it a big heave whoa. And turning that soil over and again and again and again. And breaking up the old to get ready for the new.

So this year for 2020, the year of clear vision, thanks Ari, we have four different covers. But now you know that the magic is on the inside and it’s all about you making a mess on those inside pages. I can’t wait to see the mess that you make in your Powersheets this year. You have four covers to choose from, and they’re all beautiful. You can’t choose wrong. Everything from pink linen to teal linen, our blooms cover, which is a beautiful floral pattern, and then our confetti cover. Now I have to tell you a funny story. So a couple weeks ago, I went to my little boy, Joshua’s preschool class and Josh is four and his sweet little friends. I was asked to come and talk their class about my job and what do I do? And I thought to myself, “How in the world am I going to explain what I do to preschoolers?” So you know what I did? I walked in and I said, “Hi, I’m Josh’s mommy and I make stickers. That’s what I do.” They were really excited to meet me. And of course, yes, I told them, “Also, I tell people about Jesus and I help them with their goals. And we have a whole lot of fun at my job and all the people at my job wanted me to tell you Hi.”

And I just get so jazzed talking to young people about what matters most. They are why I do this job. They are. I do this job. We all do this job. We had a team retreat several months ago. And I remember us writing down these words, we do this work to leave a legacy for the next generation for our children and our children’s children, to give people a safe space on the internet to come and learn about what matters. A place on the internet that’s actually good for you. That’s what I want. I want that so much for my kids. I want them to have a tool that will help them to sift through all the noise out there to know the one thing that truly matters. I want them to know that it’s okay to grow slow. And they don’t have to do it all and be it all in order to live a life that matters. I want them to know that little by little by little progress adds up over the long haul, that perseverance is so much better than any type of five minute fame they could ever find. You know what I want the same for you. And I think you want that too.

What started as just a little idea I had for myself at my desk, kept snowballing and snowballing. And now we are here. And Powersheets have landed in 65 countries and all 50 states. But the most important thing, besides any number that we could ever share with you is that these concepts, this idea of doing things differently than the rest of the world lands in your heart. Whether you buy Powersheets or not? It doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is that you Cultivate What Matters right where you are. Not on some faraway day when you feel like you have it all together. But right now. In the soil that you’re standing on right now, what’s the next best thing that you could do that points to where you want to be when you’re 80 or 90 or 100 years old? What’s that tiny, tiny little step that you’ve always wanted to take? What is that thing that you’ve always wanted to do? Maybe you have no idea. And that’s what the Powersheets are going to help you to do.

You walk through a three step proven process. It’s a research back process that number one, you uncover your goals. I give you guided worksheets that walk you step by step. There’s no guesswork. You don’t need any other videos, although I’ve got those for you too if you want them. You don’t need anything else. Just walk through the Powersheets prep work, the first part, step by step that’s number one, is number one, you’re going to uncover your goals. Number two in our three part proven process is to write out your goals using our proven method. And number three, you’re going to live it out using the tending list that help you to take action in your everyday life right where you are. So no more guesswork, no more feeling unclear, no more feeling overwhelmed by all this pressure that the world gives us to say, “You got to do it all. You have to be perfect in order to make progress on any of your goals.” No. You know now it’s not true. And now you know that this story is not my story. It’s yours.

And the next best step and our story together is to live out 2020 on purpose. I want to walk this journey with you step by step, page by page. Everything you need is already inside the Powersheets. That proven process, it’s in there. That one page of stickers, they’re so awesome, it’s in there. The new pocket that helps you to have a great space to tuck in any of your wild card pages which helps you to customize your Powersheets, there’s a free library of wild card pages that comes with every set of Powersheets. Everything from a reading list to a fitness tracker, finance tracker, budgeting is a great pocket for those now, to the new hardcovers with four beautiful cover designs. It’s all inside.

And the most important thing that’s going to be inside is your messy handwriting. So just get ready. I know these things are pretty. Trust me. I think they’re absolutely beautiful. There are great high quality, beautiful product, but I want you to mess them up. So order your Powersheets and just get ready to make a mess. Use your messy handwriting. Get your Powersheets today at cultivatewhatmatters.com, that’s cultivatewhatmatters.com. We’ve got some great bundles too where we’ve really done all the shopping for you. And you can get all your Powersheets essentials, or there’s even a bundle that’s called the “I want it all bundle.” Yeah, I named that one. We’re trying to think of a name for the bundle. And I was like, “Well, this is everything. And I really want all of it. So let’s call it the, I want it all bundle because that’s what it is.” We keep things simple around here. But yes, go to cultivatewhatmatters.com. Get your Powersheets. We’re going to start them early this year.

Instead of microwaving our goals and cramming in goal setting somewhere around the end of the year. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to start them early. We’re going to start them in the beginning of December together. Once you order your Powersheets definitely opt in to be on our monthly coaching newsletter list. I love sending you notes in the emails. I love the email relationships that we have. It’s just so cool. It really is so cool. And I count that an honor too people to pop into your inbox and give you some encouragement. But be on our newsletter list. Go to cultivatewhatmatters.com. Order your Powersheets, opt in to our newsletter when you order your Powersheets. And you will have monthly goal coaching all year long to keep you motivated, to keep you inspired, and to keep you focused on what matters most.

So friends, Happy Shopping. But most importantly, I’m excited for you right now, not just in 2020. But right now. Today, we’ve talked about a whole lot of things, grab that scrap piece of paper right where you are. And write out the list of things that’s important to you. Write out the things that you want to tend to this year. Make that list, stick it somewhere you can see it and then go order your Powersheets and let’s do something about that list together. But don’t wait until those Powersheets come in the mail. I mean, they ship fast but don’t wait. Get started right now. Right now, make the call. Send the text, make the decision, say the Yes, say the no, give that hug. Whatever it is, whatever your next best step is. Take it. Until next time, get out there and Cultivate What Matters.

Ari: Cultivate your life with my wife, Lara Casey Isaacson. We’re not quite done. And this is the intro in case you didn’t know now and don’t forget to rate it and review it, rate it and review it. You can do it. And tell your friends to listen in and subscribe to be notified when a new episode drops. Now cultivate your life with my wife, Lauren Casey. Was that okay, babe?