Making Things Happen
I attended my first ever Making Things Happen Conference (MTH) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this March.
I knew I wanted to write a blogpost about the things I learned during it, but there's a balance of sharing too much and just enough. The Making Things Happen Conference is nothing short of magical, and the beauty of it was going in with zero-to-no expectations or idea of what it would be like. I went in with an open heart and open mind, ready to get whatever I could out of it, and I think that's why it was so life-giving.
So, if you're looking for a blogpost that will describe the conference or talk about all the details, this is not it.
My goal for this blogpost is to recap the things that I took away and am implementing in my life and business in the hopes that it may open your eyes and help you think of ways that you can make little tweaks in your own life and business. I'm also hoping that it will encourage you to think about attending the conference yourself someday, because friends, it is truly an amazing experience!
1. What's really important
One of the pieces of MTH that stands out above the rest is the visualization exercises we did together. These were not new or original things – we all daydream about the future probably on a daily basis. The difference was that we gave ourselves the space and freedom to visualize where we would be in three years, ten years and fifty years and what would truly be most important to us at those times.
I discovered that beyond anything else, my relationships were the most important thing to me. This looked like having good close relationships with my family and having a tight-knit friend group who would walk through life with me. The second most important thing was my health. I visualized skiing when I was eighty years old. I visualized traveling and taking my friends and family on fun and adventurous trips. And none of those things could happen if my health wasn’t a priority.
What this made me realize was that the things that I was putting so much value and effort into weren’t those two things. Before MTH, I was putting every ounce of my being into my business, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. But when it’s at the expense of my relationships and health, it takes a bad turn. I was putting more effort into my follower count than my own family. I was trying to please clients over spending time with my friends. I was working late nights, mindlessly eating junk food and skipping crossfit classes, while at the same time complaining about how overworked and tired I felt. And it’s sad to say that I had to go all the way to Chapel Hill to realize that I was doing this to myself.
But with the clarity I came home with from MTH, I was able to change several things, especially about my business to allow the space I needed for the two most important things to my future eighty-year old self!
2. Give yourself permission to change
One of the hardest hurdles that I had to overcome at and after MTH was tweaking the goals that I had already set at the beginning of 2018. Being a very stubborn goals/rules follower, it was extremely hard to look at the goals that I had set and see that some of them didn’t align with my path anymore.
I'm the kind of person who sets goals and if I don't accomplish each and every one of them by the end of the year, I believe that either I didn't put enough effort into meeting them, or I wasn't focused enough. When in all reality it could be that my path changed and some of my goals just don't make sense anymore and should be replaced with new and better goals.
During MTH we were taught by some brilliant minds that sometimes goals are just for seasons and that you need to give yourself permission to change your mindset around goals being set in stone. Instead goals need to be fluid, changing with each season and each opportunity or setback.
Powersheets have been teaching me a lot about this as I've been working through them this year, but I learned at MTH that setting yearly goals are great, but that I need to go in and tweak them during the year if they don't make sense anymore or if something changes.
3. Things don't happen overnight, they happen little by little
After discovering the two things that were most important to me, relationships and my health, you can probably guess that I wanted to rush home as fast as possible so that I could make all the changes immediately. I pictured calling each of my family members and close friends and having true meaningful conversations that would strengthen our relationship in one sitting. I pictured getting home and cutting out ALL the sugar and other bad habits in my diet. I pictured upping my crossfit from 3 days a week to 5 or 6.
Guess what happened? Honestly I didn’t accomplish any of those things. But what I did do was invite three of my closest friends to coffee or lunch the week after MTH. I put in more effort and thought into each of our conversations, and I listened more and intentionally built them up. I was more mindful of my husband, Caleb’s love language and tried to speak it more than I had in the weeks before. I texted and called my parents a few more times a week than I normally did. And my diet and crossfit stayed about the same…
But that’s ok.
I learned from a very wise lady (Lara Casey) that “little by little babies grow, flowers bloom and change happens. And little by little goals are achieved.” If I put in a little more effort today than I did yesterday, I have improved. And that’s all that matters.
4. Break large tasks into actionable steps
When Lara opened up all of our minds and changed our perspective from giant lofty goals to thinking more “little by little”, it allowed us to break down those big scary audacious goals that put smiles on our faces, make our hearts beat a little faster, and make us excited, to small bite-sized pieces that we could actually wrap our minds around.
This was a huge thing for me and has been something that the powersheets have helped with this year.
On the way home from MTH, I stopped into the airport bookstore and purchased the book Traction by Gino Wickman. This book had come up several times during the conference and in personal conversations and I knew it was something I needed to read. And read it I did. The entire plan ride, I was soaking in page after page, journaling my ideas and notes, and underlining almost half the book. This book takes your giant lofty goals and guides you through the process of breaking them into actionable steps that you can check in on daily, weekly, quarterly and yearly. It has seriously changed my business for the better after only implementing a handful of the systems it talks about.
If you have a big scary audacious goal, like we all do, but you don't know where to start and it seems too big and scary to really accomplish, all you need to do is break it down into steps you can accomplish weekly. I would suggest getting your hands on some powersheets and the book Traction to help you do this!
5. Understand that you are not perfect
Like I said earlier, I came home with a head full of grand plans and changes I wanted to implement. But like all the wise ladies from the conference warned me, I was hit smack in the face with reality upon arriving home.
Caleb immediately went out of town on a work trip, daily tasks like dishes and laundry, meal planning and cooking, cleaning and taking care of our home all came back with vengeance. And to put the frosting on the cake, our roof leaked straight into our living room while I was sleeping and I woke up to a mini waterfall…inside our home.
All these things could have been extremely debilitating and frustrating. I could have thrown in the towel and let the devil win this one, but because I had such a mountain top experience and change of perspective at MTH, I was able to look for joy and opportunity in tackling tasks and figuring out the crazy world of home insurance. Don't get me wrong, I was still frustrated and I still complained, but it didn't stop me in my tracks like it probably would have before. I was still moving forward with a little more positivity than I had before.
I think that these things coming back full force gave me a reality check that even though I got to attend this amazing conference, meet 100 beautiful women, hear from some amazing minds, and get to know myself a lot better, I still wasn’t perfect and wasn’t going to react perfectly, and that’s ok.
THINGS do not have to be perfect to grow and improve. And YOU don’t have to be perfect to grow and improve. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and make little things happen to get to those amazing plans you have in your head.
I hope these five takeaways will help you open up your mind to new ways of thinking and new ways of giving yourself grace and permission! Like Lara Casey says "Little by little imperfect progress adds up"!
Head to Making Things Happen to read more about the conference and see if you'd like to attend yourself!
Photos by Rachel Coffey