Oct 4, 2023

What it’s like to sell a company you love

Lara Casey | 2023

The leaves are about to show you how beautiful it is to let things go. – Unknown

Affiliate links are used in this post. Enjoy!

I’ve hesitated to write about my experience in selling a company—one I grew over many years with my heart and soul. I’ve rewritten these sentences and subsequently deleted them a dozen times. It’s hard to put into words because letting go of something, even for meaningful objectives and outcomes, is painful, and I could never capture the full story here. But, today, PowerSheets Launch Day, deserves an attempt.

God led me to step away from entrepreneurship for specific and clear reasons, some of which I’m just beginning to see the fruit of—and some of which I may not see in my lifetime. Even with God’s constant reminders of “why” over the last year though, the grief of letting go remains.

It’s not easy to let go of something that was so much a part of me.

New photos by Traci 💛

You see, Cultivate What Matters was a reflection of my whole heart: my love of connection, life-giving words, transformation, the colors in my garden (the growing ground for so much of what God has taught me), and living numbered days. I loved the joy, the metamorphosis in people’s lives, and the power of little-by-little steps that really did add up. I loved that I got to fail and learn (peonies grow through the dirt, and so do we). I loved helping people find healthy habits and discover that the small things really are the big things. I loved creating meaningful tools that guided me and many of you to focus on what is good, true, and lovely. I loved making beautiful things and watching my co-workers use their God-given gifts!

While there were daily challenges that refined me, that’s what cultivating does. It tills up the old and makes room for the new. Challenges change us for the better and make us more fruitful over time. It all grew me. Letting go of Cultivate meant letting go of living out my gifts in the ways I’d known for so long. It felt like a death. It was. In those early days, weeks, and months after Cultivate was acquired, I couldn’t bring myself to wear color, see flowers, or write about goals without pangs of grief. I couldn’t look at my shelves lined with Write the Word journals or see products with my handwriting.

God mercifully aligned those early weeks with the season of pulling all the plants out of our garden for winter. What a time it was: all this change and the loss of my dad in the same few weeks. The garden was a picture of life: it was time to let the ground lie fallow and step away from everything I knew to be “me.” I needed time to process and heal. I needed to hear from the Lord about my identity.

Who was I without this part of my life I knew for so many years?

Choosing a new path, or making a choice that requires great faith, is almost never easy. Maybe it’s hard to imagine living differently in your current circumstances. Maybe it’s a lingering decision that needs to be made or a lifestyle change for your health. Maybe it’s the new pursuit you’ve considered or a season of life that needs closing.

Or maybe you’re literally considering selling a business. Perhaps it seems impossible to find the right buyer – someone who will do things the way you would do them or someone who will understand your business at all. Maybe you’re worried you’ll disappoint people – many people – if you move forward. Maybe it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if you did find a fit. (Often, we’re more afraid of success than failure.)

Whatever it is specifically for you, what if doing the hard thing, taking a risk, or stepping into the unknown will change everything? What if giving something up will open space for something else—even if you have no idea what that is right now? That was me. I didn’t know what would come next. I just knew God wanted me to lay it down at His feet and trust Him.

As we’ve long known and explored together, something has to die before something new can grow.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted.

Before a seed can sprout, it is placed in the ground. There in the dark, surrounded by the mess of the dirt, it begins soaking up nutrients that will eventually help it to sprout. The sprout breaks through the hard outer shell, leaves its protective covering behind, and presses through the dirt toward the light.

So, let’s talk about the box.

There are often encounters with grief that grow me—that bring my need for the Lord into the light. Since I no longer work at Cultivate, one of those was seeing the PowerSheets for the first time this year just a few weeks early, alongside affiliates and friends of the brand. The box arrived in the mail, and I couldn’t bring myself to go near it, much less open it.

It’s just paper, you say. Yes, and so are birth certificates and death certificates. In between my own birth and final days has been this book of dreams. To open the box was, in a way, to accept that they had moved on without me — which I realize was my bittersweet hope that they would. It’s hard to love and let go, but this is grief.

And so I let it sit by the front door for days. I’ve learned this year to listen to my body and give myself time to process, and I did, but the time came: I needed to open the box. I was going to see Emily for our bi-weekly walk, and wanted to be able to encourage her in all she had poured into the pages alongside the new Cultivate team for the first time without me.

I asked God to settle my heart and slowly let the scissors slice through the bright pink packing tape. Brown paper shifted, and I held my breath as I let my hands reach in to meet them.

Hello, familiar friend. Hello, pages I’ve poured my heart and soul into—and filled with my own messy handwriting, laying down hopes and dreams, and taking a thousand of my own little-by-little steps forward that, over time, led me here.

What a thought. My own PowerSheets guided me through a process of thinking big picture and taking small steps since I created them in 2012—and led me to this place, eventually, of letting go of them.

I let it all sink in momentarily as my hands brushed over the linen cover. I felt the indents of the font and letters that held a million stories.

A turned page after page, and with each, let out a breath of acceptance. I read words penned in prayer, refined over many years, familiar and true:

—Any day can be a fresh start.
—Naming what matters changes everything.
—We can’t do it all and do it all well, but we can choose to cultivate what matters.
—Reflection reaps rewards.
—Legacies start with one small seed.
—Little by little adds up.
—It’s okay to grow slow.
—You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go DO them.

And… it’s okay to let go of a dream.

That dream, I’ve come to see, was fulfilled.

While I no longer work at Cultivate or get the joy of connecting with you through these products and pages, I’m still a cultivator—over here growing good things in new places. Faithfully tending to life and health and little souls.

Sometimes we don’t know how the seeds we plant today will grow tomorrow, much less over a career or a lifetime. I certainly didn’t know I’d be here, ever-encouraged by words I wrote many years ago, today. What a thought. What a gift.

As I walked with Emily this week, I got to tell her what I discovered in this whole unboxing-of-my-soul experience: God makes good things grow out of hard things, and this year’s PowerSheets are the best yet. The changes brought an easy, seamless process that I can’t wait to dig into myself! There are so many new additions and tweaks I love—things I never thought of myself. For me, there couldn’t be a more perfect time to use the PowerSheets with truly fresh eyes, encountering each question without thoughts of changes for next year or launch logistics. It’s a new season of dreaming.

Ari told me this week that he thinks I am in the in-between.

“In between what?!” I protested. He went on: “We have such a limited view. Imagine a pie chart with a tiny little sliver and another slightly-larger-but-still-tiny sliver cut out, both collectively taking up just 1% of the pie. The tiniest sliver is what we know, and the slightly-larger-but-still-super-small piece is what we know we do not know, and the rest is what we don’t know we don’t know.”

Every single step forward in selling a company was a step of faith towards something I did not know. It still feels that way most days as I navigate this second-half-of-life journey. I just knew, deep in my roots, that I was supposed to let go and make room.

I’ll be right there with you this year as you open up your own PowerSheets and uncover what matters most in your season and stage of life—perhaps as you consider letting something go or starting something new. I’ll be writing in full color on my Crocus-covered pages. (Yes, I own nothing purple in my life, but a cover named for the first flower of spring that presses bravely through ice and snow felt apropos for my season of life.)

Soon as the frost will get out of my bed,
From this cold dungeon to free me,
I will peer up with my little bright head,
And all will be joyful to see me.

Then from my heart will young petals diverge,
As rays of the sun from their focus;
I from the darkness of earth shall emerge,
A happy and beautiful Crocus!

Many, perhaps, from so simple a flower,
This little lesson may borrow,
Patient today, through its gloomiest hour,
We come out the brighter tomorrow.

~ Hannah F. Gould

With the Lord’s tender mercy and lovingkindness as our fertilizer, in His perfect ways and seasons, indeed we do.

This last year has been a time of being transformed under the surface. Getting through the one-year anniversary of my dad‘s passing in August was a milestone. I kept imagining what Dad would say to me on that day:

Play. Be creative. The life that is truly life is very real– I’m living it! Go and live like that’s true yourself, Lara. Your gifts and talents matter because they sing to the world to come, taste, and see that the Lord is good!

Friends, I didn’t know what the last year would be like, mingled together with the acute pain of walking my dad home and my health journey. Selling a company you grew from the ground up is an excruciatingly difficult blessing—a journey more complex than I can share in a simple blog post. But, letting go, as it turns out, has many gifts, namely, to get us to trust in something bigger than us.

I do.

The new 2024 PowerSheets launched today—get yours.

P.S. I’m trying something new, just for fun, if you’d like to join me. Join my NEW newsletter here.

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  1. Emily D. on October 4, 2023 at 10:53 am

    I chose crocus too! 🙂
    I think that sometimes life is like knitting. When I’m working on a color work piece, there are times when I can’t see how things are going to “look.” The pattern makes no sense. And if you looked at the wrong side of a piece of color work knitting, you’d just see a mess! But the front side is beautiful! So I have to trust the designer and follow the pattern.

    • Lara on October 4, 2023 at 11:05 am

      I love that, Emily! Yes! And three cheers for Crocus!

  2. Amanda P. on October 4, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Dearest Lara -Your words are like balm to my soul. I, too, have walked a grief journey for the past two years. I didn’t experience a physical death, but it has certainly felt like one on many days. The Lord asked me to walk away from a dream my husband and I had built together. He, too, asked us to follow Him into the unknown. To cultivate something new, but not knowing what it could be. I’m still in my “in-between,” and I just now see glimpses of light from the other side. Your journey encourages me to know that I am not alone, grief is natural, and it is okay to still hope for more incredible things after the pruning. Thank you for your vulnerability to share your journey with us – even a tiny glimpse. It blesses my heart to reread your words. I hope you keep sharing in whatever way the Lord leads you. Your words bring life – more than you realize.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:55 pm

      Amanda, your journey with your husband encourages me–I’m grateful the Lord is leading you both and you are seeing those glimpses of His light. There is magic in the middle ground. Thank you for the encouragement you offered here. It has been gratefully received! 💐

  3. Nickie Lugg on October 4, 2023 at 11:32 am

    Aweeeeee I love this Lara! Thank you for sharing your perspective. I was so saddened when I heard the news of you seeking last year, because to me, YOU are what makes PowerSheets so special. I refused to buy one last October, and well by June, my life needed the structure of your system back in my life. So for my birthday I ordered one & im so grateful I did. Because what you created, cultivated, & curated, helps me every single day. I overcome obstacles and check off goals, I find order & success in my life. & I’m so sorry to hear about your father. Sending all the love. My sister was killed last month, and honestly it’s your voice & wisdom in podcasts, (I’ve listened to a million times) the pages in the PS, & your beautiful handwriting hung in my home that makes me smile. Because my sister was proud of my accomplishments, & she would want me to “go do all the things” also. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for everything you’ve done, your books, wisdom & everything you do in the future. I’ll be cheering you on with confetti & cowbells!

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:52 pm

      I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your sister, Nickie. That is hard and heavy. Thank you for your kind words here and sharing her life with me. I
      think part of my grief journey has been learning the balance of celebrating my dad’s life (and all I got to experience with Cultivate) and letting the sadness be what it is: painful. It all changes us, even when it feels like it’s swallowing us. I’ll be thinking about you as you continue to grieve your sister and do “do all the things.” 🌱 Sending all my love – and cowbells and confetti for you, too!

  4. Erica Diaz on October 4, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Hi Lara,
    Your words are beautiful and probably the only words on the internet I cherish so deeply and have for many years. Thank you for your bold and bright perspective in life. In motherhood, marriage, your work, your garden. You are such an encouragement. Your vulnerability is a gentle reminder that we are all on a continuous journey with ourselves, our creator, and our loved ones. XO!

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:48 pm

      I was just telling Ari last night, after a moment of doubt in sharing all of this, that I don’t know why I put myself out there sometimes. I am a sensitive soul (I mean that in a loving way – a gift the Lord has given me to use for Him). And then I read your words and I’m truly amazed He uses me at all for any good or encouragement. Thank you for sharing these kind thoughts with me, Erica. May the journey continue with joy for us both. 💛

  5. Julie Roberts on October 4, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    You always have a way with words. This season of my life has been releasing my older children to their spouses and my middle son to his career. After homeschooling for 15 years, it was a step that has left me wondering who I am besides the homeschooling mom of 4. (I still have a soon-to-be 11-year-old to homeschool). I am thankful that God directs our paths regardless of our season.

    I loved what Christine Caine had on her Instagram page this morning. “The middle of anything seems like the hardest part to get through– It’s when you’re no longer where you were, but you still haven’t reached the place you hope to be. Excitement has worn off. Fatigue is setting in. Weariness is overwhelming. But God is not finished yet because the middle is not the end.”

    BTW, I chose Perennial PS for this coming year.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:44 pm

      I have so much to learn from you with graduating homeschoolers! I am so grateful for your encouragement always, Julie. I love that Christine Caine quote as well.

      • Julie on October 7, 2023 at 7:54 am

        I think we learn from each other! Somedays I need that fresh enthusiasm!

  6. Jennifer Teubl on October 4, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    Thank you for continuing to share your heart, your trials, your struggles, and your faith. My eyes filled with tears as I read this and I’m so grateful for your example of obedience even when it’s filled with sorrow and more unknowns than knowns. Haven’t ordered my Powersheets yet, it’s honestly felt so emotional (been using them since 2014, I’ve had a hard time though accepting the change), but reading your words reminded me it’s okay to move forward even if it’s different. May His grace continue to lead you and heal you and bring forth His glory through you.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:43 pm

      Your prayer is incredibly generous. Thank you, Jennifer. I am grateful to have taken steps in faith with you since 2014! I read your second-to-last line several times over. It rings true for so much of my life, especially over the last year. It’s okay to move forward even though it’s different — or you don’t know what’s next or it all feels uncomfortable. I needed that. I am so grateful to you!

  7. Cassie Nolin on October 4, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Lara, I am in tears writing this to you. I unfortunately have walked through very similar grief when I had to let go of my dream job building a growing dance medicine clinic to care for a progressive disease. It was gut-wrenching, and now almost 6 years later I am seeing how gracious God is in calling me into a new season.

    Yes, even years later I still at times grieve what was so much of my identity and passion, but through that grief I am allowing Him to make me whole. When we were making the decision to close our business my prayer – that I still pray often – is/was, “I can do hard things for You, Lord, even this.”

    You did the hardest thing as worship to a faithful God. So as someone who had to let go of a business and is still actively grieving it *while* living in what God has called me to right now – thank You for this vulnerable blog post. It was comforting and humbling to read.

    I also want you to know that your legacy, your words, and your gift of bringing Powersheets into the world is not forgotten by the Cultivate Community. I see you in it every day. Yes, Cultivate has grown and has many new faces and features, but YOU and your passion is still fiercely present in every. single. page. This may be a new season, but the Powersheets legacy seeds that you planted in faith, tended to, and ultimately stewarded to a new team are flourishing with your heart beat continually imprinted and heard. So grateful for you, Lara 🫶🏻 cheering for you always 🎉

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:41 pm

      Cassie, I love you to pieces. Thank you for all these loving words and for sharing your story. I am ever grateful for your encouragement! That last paragraph you shared is a balm to my soul. It’s hard to let go, but that’s what God asks us to do over and over as we grow in trust. I’m so thankful for you and the Lord’s encouragement through you.

  8. Leah Wilson on October 4, 2023 at 4:02 pm

    I MISS YOU, LARA! There I said it! I too have been going through a year of loss. You said it all too well at where my heart has been this past year. My grandma, I grew up with left to be with the Lord last August as well. She lived to be 100 years old, which ironically, I asked her to promise me when I was younger because I told her I can’t imagine life without her with me.

    If I am being honest, I only did the prep work in my powersheets this year. I don’t think it was a good reflection of what my goals were/are being that there was a lot of arguing, stress and upset amongst me and my family driven by not only grief, but change. (I got married in September 2021 and we bought a house and moved before the holiday season in November 2022.)

    With the change of CWM and as a Goal School Premium Member, the community has changed and I grieved the loss of that as well. CWM has felt like it has become more centered around selling goal products than a goal community. I had to unsubscribe to the e-mails because I constantly felt I was being spammed every week/month with a new product or a sale. Because of this, I debated on whether or not I wanted to buy powersheets this year. But through 7 years I used powersheets, things came to fruition I had told myself never would. I reluctantly did purchase powersheets this year and am still feeling reserved about if they are still for me in this stage in my life.

    This blog post really spoke to me and reminded me that maybe powersheets are not for me in this next stage of life and that is OK to let go.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:39 pm

      What a legacy your amazing Grandma lived——100! Wow, that is incredible. And I can imagine you miss her terribly. You have experienced a lot of change over these years. I will pray for your rest. You have experienced a lot in a short time. God knows what you need! 💛

  9. Casey on October 4, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    Oh how I loved to read this. The legacy lives on. It’s amazing how when one person like YOU lives out what matters all of our lives were changed because of it. It’s encouraging to remember that when we do the things that matter we’re inspiring more people around us than we realize. Forever grateful and inspired by you!

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:17 pm

      SO very grateful for you always, Casey. 🌱 All praise to the Lord!

  10. Lorena on October 4, 2023 at 5:44 pm

    So glad to hear you’ll be working through Powersheets too! I could not get myself to purchase Powersheets last year, it just wasn’t the same without the old team hyping us up and honestly there just was not enough color on the pages for me, felt almost sad. But I’m so glad you’re back, your words are always so encouraging. I am also setting out on a new journey trying to improve my health, hoping Powers can keep me focused and accountable.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you for all of this, Lorena. I loved creating last year’s collection—-bittersweet to be the last I got to work on, though. We simplified some of the color in places to let people customize their PowerSheets with the amount of color they wanted. I do love seeing more of it in the pages this year, though! I’m excited for your health journey and for all that’s ahead! Thank you for this generous encouragement! 💐

  11. Audrey on October 4, 2023 at 7:15 pm

    My dearest Lara,
    Your words still move me to tears, as sure as they did when I first picked up Cultivate and my first set of PowerSheets in 2019. In full transparency, I was very angry and sad when you sold the company. I have the utmost respect for you and your legacy and I didn’t know if it would be the same without you. But reading these words, I see this journal still holds the same value for you as a fellow cultivator even though you weren’t a part of it is something truly powerful. Thank you for your stewardship and your faith and your example. I will forever be on your team with confetti and cowbells. Love, Audrey

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you for this kind note, Audrey. I can understand the feelings you experienced. Change is hard. I’m learning that it is fruitful, too. I smiled thinking of confetti and cowbells! 🙂 Thank you for all of this and your encouragement!

  12. Sandy Trzcinski on October 5, 2023 at 4:04 am

    Lara, thank you. I’m in my own season of grief and you’ve encouraged me to consider the gifts of letting go and also giving myself the gift of time. I’m in my 90day PowerSheets that I will be using until the day I die 🙂 but I love looking at everyone’s pretty yearly covers!

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      I’m sending love for your time of grief, Sandy. Giving myself time this last year was needed. I took one day each quarter to just focus on my grief where I could. I went away somewhere locally to process, journal, and let myself listen. Our family prioritized that time for me and I am reminded by your note to keep this practice as grief continues. 💛

  13. Shanna Mallon on October 5, 2023 at 7:45 am

    So much me too here. Thank you for sharing this and for your obvious genuine joy in God, it is so beautiful to me. A lot of what you wrote reminds me of Ann Voskamp’s book, “Waymaker,” which God brought me at the beginning of a certain kind of death in my life that I am still in and is still a kind of “in-between,” but like you and she said: He is with me in it.

    • Lara on October 5, 2023 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you, Shanna. Glad to be here with the Lord (and you!) in this in-between. I will have to look up the book!

  14. Crystal on October 5, 2023 at 4:49 pm

    Your posts are always an encouragement to me, but this one especially was. We have been overseas missionaries working at a school for children. Over the 7 years we have worked ourselves out of a job. That was always the end goal, because if they “own” it, it will last for generations, but if it’s just “our” school and dream, it will end the moment the missionary leaves. It was such a bittersweet time when we told our friends that we had worked arm in arm with for so long that it was time for us to step away, because they were doing it. They were carrying the load and doing amazing and it was time for them to fly. Helping our five kids walk through the reverse culture shock of life back in the US, was very hard, not to mention my husband and I learning to navigate big emotions of grief, yet so proud at the same time…. and the “now what” thoughts. The school there has continued to flourish with over 150 students now, amazing teachers and a very qualified and proactive school board. I know if we would have stayed there, they wouldn’t have stepped up to the plate like they have and taken ownership of it. It was 100% the right time and thing to do, but, man, was it hard. 🙂 Your post was such an encouragement to me today.

  15. Greta on October 5, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Lara, I miss you! I don’t say anything in the FB groups as I don’t want to be disrespectful to the current staff. It’s no longer the CWM that I loved and I’ve been sad that you’ve been gone for so long! Even launch day was bleh; most things are bleh! You just brought life and light and I miss that! I know you you had to do what you had to do but I really miss you and your enthusiasm! I still use powersheets because the product is good and still reminds me of you. Thank you for motivating me and introducing me to an intentional life! I will be thinking of you and missing you!

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