LOVEly Desktop Backgrounds

Love is in the air! I really love Valentine’s Day for so many reasons. Not just the typical romantic love [although, I am one lucky lady to have my stud-muffin hubby :) ], but the love I have for my children, family, friends, and the Lord. So many reasons to celebrate those relationships!

Since I have been talking about self-hatred, I think it is also important to remember to love yourself. So I made these desktop wallpapers so you have a daily reminder that you are valuable, loved, and important. Enjoy!

TalkToSelfLove-Mock Love&Belonging-Mock

Click here to download the sparkly hearts wallpaper. Click here to download the red hearts wallpaper. Once you do this, right click on your image to save it to your computer. :) BIG thanks to Shay Cochrane for the LOVELY images. :)

Dream a Dream With Me

I don’t know that I have ever specifically told you all that my sister is a photographer. But not just a photographer….an amazing and talented photographer. She’s been featured in a magazine, shot countless weddings, and has an amazing announcement today. She is launching her new branding and site!! Plus, an AMAZING giveaway you don’t want to miss. I wanted her to do a guest post today because she has a lot of encouraging words for those of you who just are on the edge about taking the leap into doing what you love. So without further adieu….

_____________________________________________

Have you ever had a dream that you thought was too big? What was it?

Finish this sentence: “Well Amy, my lovely new friend, I have always wanted to….!”

First of all, I am happy we are new friends! Secondly, I wonder…do you complete that sentence with your dream but sadly end with, “but I never got the courage to take the leap”? My sentence did…except I wouldn’t have admitted that 8 months ago. And don’t be mistaken, it was not because I was living my dream, but because I believed I was trying but everything else was in my way. To protect my wallowing heart I would have told you my dream was really a hobby and used words like “one day I will” or “who knows if I ever will.”  It reminds me of one of my favorite movies The Devil Wears Prada. There is one part in the movie where Nigel (Stanley Tucci) is approached by Andy (played by the lovely Anne Hathaway) and in a desperate cry and reach for pity where she explains that no matter how hard she tries she is failing. She is spent; after much effort trying to please her boss she is ready to give up. But, heres the best part, instead of brushing her hair and telling her it will be alright, Nigel puts her in her place:

Andy, be serious, you are not trying…you are whining.”

Here is the reality of it — I, like Andy, was not trying, I was whining.

I exhausted every excuse in the book not to follow my dream. All the excuses not to finish that sentence with “and I finally took the leap and totally rocked it!”  Instead, I shrunk down and hid behind my excuses and whined about my short-comings. I was not trying. I may have thought I was, but it was going to take something special to help me realize why I was so stuck.

After sharing, or whining, my story to a friend who is wise beyond her years, she recommended that I pick up Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. The book is fabulous and dives into our fears, holding ourselves back and sometimes being our own biggest enemy (its good for a read if you are interested!)! In the very first chapter Sheryl challenges with one simple question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

UGGHH.

It hit me. There was my moment of clarity, but instead of beautiful bright light and choirs singing, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Was I really that afraid??? Was I using my excuses like a place of safety to hide away from the realities of pursuing my dream? It was in that moment that I realized I was! Instead of truly trying, I was crippled by my own fear and whining about it to pass the responsibility of my success or my failure to every obstacle that might get in my way. If I was going to fail, it would be because everything else got in my way, not my short comings. And to top it off, I was allowing my fear to feed me lies about what I was capable of — who I could really be! What would I do if I wasn’t afraid? became a haunting question in my head as I worked at my corporate job. There were so many answers to that question that I couldn’t help but commit to solving it…to answering it with finality and completion.

David and Dana-18

I began a journey of answering that question over the last 8 months. I poured into my fears about the world, my insecurity about my abilities, and the stage fright of putting myself out there. Its crippling to present yourself before something you dreamed about. And I discovered my biggest fear was failing before the people that believed in me. But then I realized, I can’t fail if I didn’t try. I was allowing fear to rule my choices and it was then that I made a promise to myself to go full time with pursuing my dreams by the new year — sink or swim, the big adventure, my leap.

My dreams are a mish-mash of many things that I would like to happen over the next year — like any young bride looking to start life and a legacy — in order to do so, I was going to need some major changes in my life. So in October I walked into my boss’ office and through tears I gave him my notice. I set out in November, ready to conquer the world. And here I am. Its the beginning of 2014 and though there has been a few bumps in the road, I am here, pursuing my dream full time and working to build my legacy. The truth is, this place of clarity is a mixture of vulnerability and the unknown, but I have learned more about my craft, my heart and my desires for my future more these last couples months than I ever have in my previous years behind my lens…all because I decided to face my fears to go after my dream.

AUG2011Whittemore-31

And now, another amazing loooong time goal of mine is being fulfilled today!!

Today is the day I launch my website AmyLeah.com.

I officially have my own corner of the web to showcase my work and allow you to join me in kicking fear in the face and capturing life’s greatest moments. All of my hopes, my fears and endless nights planning have lead me to this day and I am completely grateful. Grateful for the opportunity and grateful for the guts to step out and be brave.

So I leave you with this, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Its heavy but it deserves an answer.

Take a moment to hop over to my new website and see what all the excitement is about!! I’m hosting a FABULOUS giveaway full of things you MUST have. Its going to be amazing!!

Here’s to a dreamy 2014,

Amy Leah

You can also find Amy on her active and inspiring Facebook page and Twitter.

 

Pre-Orders Open!!

OMG, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I have found an amazing and wonderful case printing company that I will be using for my cell phone case shop, opening Jan 2014.

But, since I am super excited and can never wait very long ;) I am opening pre-orders for CUSTOM designs today through December 31st. But that’s not all…I am offering an AMAZING deal that you’re going to want to jump on!!

CellPhone PreOrder

That’s right! I will personally design a custom beautiful cell phone case just for you! What an amazing deal! Regular price on cell phone cases [no matter whether iPhone 4/4S/5/5S/5C or Samsung S3/4] is $39 for the sleek case and $45 for the tough case. Plus $5 shipping and the customization ($15 add-on), this is a value of $59 [sleek case] or $65 [ tough case]!!! And you’re getting it all for much lower! :) All orders placed by Tuesday, December 31 will ship sometime the week of January 13.

Some little notes to know: during checkout, please note your cell phone case model in the notes depending on what model you purchase. Then, after you’re done checking out, I will contact you within two business days to start the design process. I will gather colors and a general design idea from you. I will then design a case design custom to the info you give me. [Personal images or photos will not be permitted for this offer.] Then I will email you a proof of this design. You can then make one set of changes. After I make these changes, I will email you one last proof so you can see the final design. [No changes can be made at this point.] Your phone case will be ordered and printed in the beginning weeks of January and shipped the week of January 13.

Sound good? As I begin setting up shop to open in January, I will also be working on an affiliate program. I’d love word for my shop to spread, and for you to get a little bit o’ cash for helping! I’ll let you know more details in the coming weeks! Now head over to the SHOP and get you a custom case! xo

Thoughts on Finding My Path

BloggingandFindingMyPath

As you may have noticed, I haven’t written in a while. I think it is good to stop and evaluate your blogging, goals, and such. I guess I just realize I probably should’ve said something to y’all before I went MIA for a couple weeks. lol…it really wasn’t planned, but now that I am writing this post, I am glad for the little break over the holiday.

One thing I have been working on is a redesign. I’ve switched the layout around a couple of times with this same blog look – the pretty watercolor, peonies, and handlettering – but as I evolve and discover more of who I am [grad school is rocking my world, y’all] and the things I enjoy doing and don’t enjoy doing, I find more of my voice. Its like unwrapping a box and as I pull away pieces, I unveil more of me.

The Lord is pruning my heart of the walls and masks I put up that make me appear together and passionate about things I am not really passionate about. Y’all know I love design and writing, but did you know that:

  • I love bike riding pulling my babies in a bike trailer behind me.
  • I love the outdoors, and while I used to hate getting dirty, I am getting more used to the idea.
  • I am such an introvert its scary. I could spend the whole weekend without seeing a single person and be fine!
  • I am discovering a love for cooking and baking that I never had before. I love making meals for my family, but I have recently discovered a joy for creating/cooking recipes that are delicious and also gluten free. Cooking recipes just for fun, not because people are crying and its dinner time. ;)
  • I love DIY and making my home beautiful.

And so as I evolve, this blog will too. And with that is coming a new redesign that is bright and fresh and a little bit geometric/aztec with some aqua and coral colors thrown in. I have the test site almost finished and can’t wait to get it all up and running [oooh, which reminds me of another “did you know about me,” I reallllllly want to be a runner and cannot figure out how to do it with kids and my husband’s unpredictable work schedule].

I want to feature more bloggers, recipes, DIY projects, stories, videos, faith, and all the things that I LOVE! I think as bloggers, we can get into the rut of what do people want to hear? and I start writing in the same style as a blog I love, or feel pressured to come up with an amazing Christmas kid craft [and you guys, I am not crafty…DIY yes, making my own wreath, no], or want to write about the things other popular blogs write about. And while, for blog growth reasons, we need to pay attention to what brings people to our blogs, we also need to stay true to who we are. What makes blogging so fun? Writing about things you LOVE, of course!!

So keep your eyeballs peeled [seriously, what does that even mean? gross.] for the new design and I hope to be starting the new year off with some fun and fresh content I hope you’ll love! You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter because even if I miss posting a blog post, I am always chatting it up over there. :) Love you all, and I am so blessed by the community of bloggers that we have! xo

Over-Strategizing Yourself

Do you have too much strategy?? // erinlauray.com

Be your best and achieve your goals! Take care of business! Reach your dreams and live the life you love! How to gain followers! Increase your pageviews! Make money while living the dream! And on it goes…

Each morning for the past two years, I wake up to over 50 email notifications on my iPhone that are solely business strategy. Newsletters, subscriptions, and blog posts all about how to be an amazing entrepreneur, blogger, business owner, or whatever I want to be. Daily deal sites, websites, and stores offering amazing sales and prices on things that will make my life so much better! Each of these emails and different sources have been a great resource to me at one time or another. Some of them I save to read again later because they were so encouraging. Some I deleted because they didn’t apply to me. But what ended up happening four months ago was that I would wake up, pick up my phone, and lie in bed for a few minutes “cleaning out” my inbox. 20+ emails would get deleted straight away before I even got out of bed. Then I would switch over to Twitter to catch up (where I was 300+ tweets “behind” each time I checked it)…and would scroll past countless tweets about blog posts, articles, and strategy tips on business to see if the people I loved following had anything to say in the time I was away.

And this got to be annoying. I was getting tired of my full inbox that had no real value. I mean, I would get excited waking up to 50+ emails, only to find by the end of my “clean out” that none were personally written to me. And all of these business “cheerleaders” I got emails from each morning were only filling my inbox with information I ended up not reading.

So it finally came down to the big words that every blogger dreads…

Unsubscribe. Unfollow.

I went through and started hacking away at my list of emails and people I followed. There was just too much valuable information out there…and friendships…that were getting daily drowned out by the “BE THE BEST YOU!!!” messages. And you know what?? I don’t want to be the best me. I don’t want to spend my life working towards the life I’ve “always wanted.” Because the life I am living is my life – right now. I want to receive emails that build into my life. That tell me that my struggles with my three-year-old is normal. Not an email with a 5 step program to make more money. I want to scroll through Twitter and read about the fabulous blessings happening in my friends’ lives…not countless links to affiliate posts and sponsored marketing.

I came to realize that I was over-strategizing myself. [I know, probably not a word.] I was inundating myself with messages I thought would bring value to my blogging and business, but in the end, it was just clouding my brain and inbox and giving me the sense that what I was doing was just not enough. For you, this may be the million people you follow on Twitter hoping for a follow back. Or it may be the fact that you miss out on the “good tweets” from your friends announcing a new baby, house, or something else because your feed is clogged up. This is just not good. Sure, these blogs and newsletters and tweets may have amazing information. They may offer you something for free for subscribing. [I mean, heck, I even mention a freebie for my newsletter subscribers.] But are they making your life better? Or are they just filling space until they’re deleted?

I am not just asking you to go unsubscribe to all the emails…but what I am asking you to do is consider why you’re subscribed to or following them. I once wanted to learn everything I could about sewing. So I followed a TON of sewing blogs on Twitter. Well, I don’t sew anymore. My poor sewing machine is sitting all wrapped up in my garage. These women are über talented and wonderful, but I didn’t relate to or need the tweets about sewing tips, tutorials, or starting a handmade sewing business. What I DO love is blogging. Reading. Writing. Marriage and Family Therapy. And so I started following people that interested me. Information that was useful and exciting for me. And I took pressing the “follow” button a LOT more seriously. And you know what? Its okay if you follow someone or get an email for a while that builds into you, but when your focus shifts, to move on.

Just be aware of what you’re putting before your eyes, what you’re inundating yourself with, and the message you are allowing yourself to hear over and over. If that message is that you could be better, have more followers, or build a big blog in 7 days, then I challenge you to really think about your focus and think about what you really want to be teaching yourself. Because when you over-strategize, you could be singing a “you’re not enough” song to yourself that pushes you to make blogging or social media the thing that brings you value.

Because you are more valuable than your Twitter following. Or the quality of your Instagram photos. So go, girl, go unsubscribe your heart out. Maybe de-cluttering your inbox will be the start of de-cluttering your heart of the message that you aren’t enough. Because you are. xo

Happy Paper Co. Update

FBCover

A couple months back, I had the idea and dream to make some income from home doing design work — but on a less committed scale. My life has taken a new speed, and I wanted to do less blog design because of the demand. But I enjoyed designing, so I wanted to think of a way that I could still design but do it more on my own time. In came Happy Paper Co. A place to celebrate life with happy products — products like cell phone cases, cards, notepads, and more. I was so excited, got the website up, advertized the Facebook page, and even got business cards to hand out at the Influence Conference.

But just a couple days after coming home from the conference, I started grad school. And I quickly realized that I can’t do all the things. I could try, but none would be done well. So I started praying about what would get cut out or shelved for now and what would stay. And, I bet you’ve guessed it, Happy Paper Co. is getting shelved for now. I was so excited, and I still believe in the potential in this company. But I just can’t do it all. The Facebook page will be disabled for now, the email subscription will be paused, and the Twitter account will not get updated. I have other parts of my heart and dreams that are more important right now, and when you realize that you’re suffering from trying to do it all, you also realize its not worth it.

Do I want to provide bright and cheerful products to celebrate the joy in your life? Of course! But do I also feel called to grad school and marriages and families? Even more!! There are parts of me that don’t want to give up the design side of my life. But sometimes you have to make sacrifices for some greater calls of your life. I am a wife, mom, student, and friend. I am a blogger and writer and desire to do these things well. So a fond “see you later” to my little business. I hope to be able to be creative in the future, but I know that this is the path that the Lord has for me right now.

If you would, please pray for the things in my life to streamline even further so I can give attention to the good and wonderful things. xo

Surprise and Delight

Recently, I had an amazing customer service experience. Not only did the company shock the crap out of me, but they blessed me in a way that left me in tears. Over a chair. Confused yet?

Why Customer Service is Your Most Expensive Product // erinlauray.com

We’ve all had those moments. That moment that you wonder how on earth a company is still in business because it seems that they hired the most bitter and manipulative person on the planet to run their customer service. The person – on the phone or in the flesh – is rude, mean, and could care less about your concerns. You want to stab them in the eye and run. And while this may feel good in the moment, its probably not the best idea. [Although, its the best and most creative idea you’ve got in the moment, right?]

If you’re lucky, you’ve also had an experience with customer service that just made you want to hug the person [hopefully in this case they are on the phone, because there is no risk to you actually attempting to wrap the unsuspecting employee in an awkward embrace]. I have actually gotten off the phone before and said to my husband, “That lady was SO nice! She seemed like we could be friends in real life.” Needless to say, my husband just stared at me for a moment, probably wondering why I want to make friends with someone I met for a brief moment on the phone. But I digress.

There are the extremes. Extremely, business harming bad. And majorly, loyalty-building good. I don’t know that I have experienced much in between, or maybe I just don’t remember, but that right there says something too. Whether good or bad or mediocre, a company’s customer service is communicating to the customer something. Its either, “I could give a rat’s patootie about you,” or “I care about your happiness with your experience with us.” And I bet if you’re a blogger, busienss owner, or shop runner, you probably want your customers to feel like you care.

A couple weeks ago, World Market was running a major furniture sale. And I had even further back in time admired a chair that was called the “Floral Erin Chair.” It was way out of my price range, but during this sale, it was $40 off. I wanted it. [Tip: name your products after popular names…could help people’s “gotta have it!” mentality!] I tweeted that I wish I could participate in the sale because “my” chair was on sale. To my surprise, World Market tweeted me back offering $90 off!! I was floored. But it didn’t stop there. After privately DMing them, I explained that I was very grateful for their generosity and that I wouldn’t be able to purchase the chair still. I offered that I was a blogger, but had no expectations. I even said to my husband that if they didn’t move forward with the fact that I was a blogger, I was still extremely impressed with their customer service. They then stated that they would be willing to consider a blog pitch and for me to send over my stats, post idea, and relevant info. After doing this, I received the email that made me cry. They were offering me the chair in exchange for a blog post. The woman that I worked with was AMAZINGLY sweet and wonderful. The whole experience led to another blog opportunity, and just left me speechless at World Market’s grasp of good customer service.

Why Customer Serivce is Your Most Expensive Product // erinlauray.com

Would I be typing this if they didn’t give me “my” chair? Absolutely. Because as a shop/business owner, you need to know that customer service is your most expensive product. I don’t mean this in the sense that you have to pay a lot of money to have good customer service. I mean that good customer service will earn you insane amounts of customer loyalty. And bad customer service will cost you a lot. [Tweet this.]

You may thrive as a company still even if you are a mean and bitter person to your customers. However, nowadays, customers aren’t just looking for a good product to purchase. If I evaluated some of my online purchases within the last 6-8 months, I can honestly say that most of my purchases were driven by how the product and company made me feel. Customers aren’t a “hit it and quit it” group. They want the experience and giving them that will create brand loyalty. [Tweet this.] Customers want to feel like they are the one. The customer that got through to be RTed in Twitter, responded to in a blog post, and joked with over the phone.

So how can you do this?

Make sure you represent your brand well. Telling someone what you think when they’re mad, delaying a package to a pushy customer, not responding to emails or comments, this all creates uncertainty, bitterness, and a bad experience. You want that person to have an experience with your brand that they remember and want to feel again. You want to surprise them with your generosity and kindness and delight them with an experience that is rare. Keep them coming back. Have a loyal following. And understand that your products aren’t the only thing you’re selling. You’re selling yourself. Your voice. An experience. And if a customer doesn’t feel like they’re getting back in the emotional investment of a purchase, they may not participate at all.

Let’s chat: Have you ever had an amazing and over the top customer experience? How did it make you feel? Did it create brand loyalty for you? Have you ever surprised and delighted a customer of yours? Lets chat in the comments below!

While I did receive the chair in exchange for a blog post from World Market, this is not the post I was compensated for. I wrote this simply because I am a loyal customer to World Market, and I felt that they did what we all should be doing in our businesses.

The Influence Conference – Meet & Greet

The Infuence Conference

In 15 short days, I will board a plane alone, fly across the country, and meet women I have loved from afar during The Influence Conference, a conference for Christian women about making much of the Lord online. This network has done nothing less than bless my socks off. I have experienced love, genuineness, and life though the network, and I cannot wait to hug everyone!

So today, The Influence Network is hosting a link up for the bloggers attending to get to know one another. Gosh, I just have to say right now again how INCREDIBLY EXCITED I am to be going! My life has been in a pretty rough season since my son was born in April 2012. He was a much harder baby than my daughter was, and as he has gotten older, parenting two independent kids is turning out to be the hardest thing I have ever done. There are moments of utter joy [they are playing on the floor together nicely right now] and moments where I want to cry. Earlier this year, I started praying for the Lord to bring refreshment. My husband and I were blessed by some friends with an amazing trip to visit them in Hawaii in March, but because I deal with anxiety and maybe a bit o’ OCD, I didn’t take advantage of the trip. I felt rushed. I felt anxious. And I did it all to myself. The availability of relaxation, sweet friends, and the beach [hello!] were all there — but I wasn’t. Our friends were beyond amazing and I chose to focus on stupid things. I regret that severely.

So about a month after that trip, I started praying for the Lord to provide me with refreshment. For Him to renew my mind. Clear out the yuck that clogs my thoughts and heart. I had wanted to attend The Influence Conference, but because I live in Arizona and the conference is in Indiana, it would be a large expense for me. When I calculated the cost, it came out to $670. Ahhh! And now that number is over $700. But, y’all, God is so good. In my pleas for refreshment, He provided. I asked, He listened. I called, He answered. Some things have come out of pocket, but others have been through gifts and the Lord’s provision. I am amazed.

This trip will be the first trip I have ever taken by myself, will be without kids, and will be to my second blogging conference. I will launch a business, share my heart, and hope to make many, many more wonderful friends. I will meet women I admire, women who have hearts of gold and businesses to match, women who have inspired me to embrace the gifts the Lord has given me and move forward in them. I am nothing short of ecstatic that I am going.

Two things I am looking most forward to during the conference is meeting my blog friends in real life. I have made many friends through blogging and some will be there. I am grateful to the Lord for heart friendships. Such a blessing! I am also looking forward to learning more about business and spreading the word about my new business, Happy Paper Company. There are going to be some great minds there and some wonderful opportunities to learn and glean wisdom. I am excited to connect, network, and learn. And I can’t wait to share with you what I will learn there.

Two things that will definitely be in my bag? Gosh, that’s a good question…only two?? lol…well, I am gluten free, so I will definitely have gfree snacks to save me in a moment where there may not be any. Kind bars, nuts, and fruit for sure. It is such a temptation to fudge on my diet when I am starving and there are no options. But feeling horrid during this time for refreshment is not an option! The second thing is a combo of a few things actually, blogging and note taking essentials – my laptop, a notebook, and pencils & pens. I love taking notes on paper. That is my favorite way. But I also want to have my computer for the plane ride there and back [six hours for doing whatever I want?? Call the Midwife, blogging, designing, surfing, and more. YES.]. But then there are also other things I will make sure to have – my iPad for my morning Jesus time & other times to read, spending money for THE SASHES MARKET, plenty of pictures to show off my kiddos, room mate gifts, business cards, and many other things.

I probably will overpack. ;)

You guys, this was seriously a major answer to prayer. God listens. And He heard my specific prayer for refreshment. You know how there is that blog that promotes picking a word for your year? This year, I picked the word blessing. I wanted to be a blessing to my family, my business, and any other area in my life. But the Lord has blessed me this year too. And if I could pick a word for this conference, it would be refreshment. Every time I think about the trip, that word comes to mind. I know the Lord is going to use the conference to renew me. And I am so excited! If you’re a fellow attendee, I can’t wait to meet you! And if you are not, you can still come by buying your ticket here. And if you are neither of those two, would you just pray for the conference? The women attending? And that it would be a refreshing time for all? Thank you! oh, and p.s., for you attendees, you can click over to my About Me page or visit me on Instagram for a picture of me. :) xo

That Time I Was in People Magazine

I have a confession. I guess it could be somewhat embarrassing, but I think you might want to do it too.

I talk to myself.

Yep, its true. Mostly only when I am the only adult around. Don’t want people thinking I’m crazy… [even if I am…]  So why do I say that you might want to do it too? Because it could benefit your business. Have I gotten you confused yet??

Imagine yourself in the place that you dream of when your mind wanders about your business. What are your big audacious dreams for your business or blog? To be on Oprah talking about how you made your blog a six figure business? To have your products in World Market? To have a celebrity want to be an ambassador for your brand?

When you think about all those big “they’ll-probably-never-happen” [in your mind] goals, what are they? Don’t think about how they couldn’t or likely wouldn’t happen. Think about all the wonderful things that you’d love to see for your business. The crazy exciting goals you want to accomplish. Wanna know mine? Don’t laugh.

  • To have a business that allows my husband to not work [if he wanted to] so he could pursue seminary and all his “God-sized” dreams
  • To have a full-time income working part-time hours within a year
  • To have Happy Paper Co. products in Target stores
  • To be able to travel all over the world
  • To have Happy Paper Co. products in Apple stores
  • To be on Live! With Kelly and Micheal talking about the whirlwind success of Happy Paper Co.
  • To live generously and support organizations I love
  • To have a studio and staff who loves and is excited for the brand and one another
  • To have a job, life, and business I LOVE doing every day
  • To be a successful watercolor painter

So now that you know mine and hopefully have some of your own in mind, lets talk about the talking to oneself thing…

That Time I Was in People Magazine // erinlauray.com

So when I am in my car [that’s where it happens the most], I pretend like I am being interviewed by People Magazine. [blushes] I act as if all those above mentioned crazy goals are true to my life and pretend that someone is asking me interview questions like, “So Happy Paper Company is wildly successful but is only a year old. What is your story?” or “You just were on Live! With Kelly and Micheal, I bet that was fun! What does it feel like to be a successful entrepreneur?” or “You’re a stay at home mom. How did you do that and get to where you are now? What were your major milestones?” And I answer them out loud.

I know it sounds silly. But sometimes you have to dream big and talk big to convince your heart that your dreams are worth pursuing. I mean, lets be real, sometimes those big dreams just sit on the shelf and we occasionally look at them and smile, but they never get brought down. They are just something to admire on the shelf but not to pursue. Sometimes we lack confidence. Sometimes we lack resources. Sometimes we just feel depressed and stuck and don’t want to give up or try and are just hedged into this stagnant place of what ifs and could have beens.

When I sit and pretend that all my business dreams have come true and speak them aloud, it empowers and excites my heart. There is something powerful about spoken word. It may feel silly, but I have been doing it for years now […again, sounding crazy…] and it almost feels second nature. When it comes to my business goals and dreams, I almost crave those talk it out times. When I am unsure about an idea or a dream, I interview myself. And the true feelings eventually come tumbling out, and I am able to see the true motivations and feelings behind those big ideas.

It also acts as a self pep-talk. Hearing my dreams as if they are a reality really pumps me up to pursue them! If I am feeling discouraged, well, its time for People Magazine to tell me how awesome I am. And it reminds me of what my goals are, why I am doing what I am doing, and how I want to move forward.

So, friends, its time to go talk to yourself.

Try, Try, Try

DontBeAfraidtoFail

One of the things I have come to value in the past year or so is the freedom to try. Many things in the blogging realm [money making, shop opening, etc.] do not require much up front except a willing individual and a determined mindset. I have tried many things and failed. I have tried many things and succeeded. I feel like I have come to find just how fun the trying actually is.

There is a lesson and value in trying. There are also lessons and value to failing. But growth is always a good thing. As I’ve admitted before, pursuing things can be scary. Often, it can be scary enough to make you not want to do it. But as Dory in Finding Nemo says, “Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.”

You can’t let fear keep you from trying things. Sure, it will keep all those scary things you’ve imagined from happening. But it will also keep at an arm’s distance all the blessings that God just might have in store for you if you’d just take a step out and try.

I am a firm believer in starting businesses, blogs, and pursuing the life that you believe God has for you. But it takes a little guts on your part.

I was texting my sister last week about this. She is a photographer but has some fears about her business and goals. We were talking about them, and I was trying to encourage her. And you know what I kept saying over and over??

Do it! Do it! Do it!!!!!!

Do you believe you can do it? Do you have someone encouraging you that you can? Friend, I am here to be that cheerleader for you. I want you to know that I believe that if you put your mind, efforts, and energies into it, you can accomplish what God has set before you.

Please let me know in the comments if you’d like prayer for anything. Or even if you have a new business, have a new website, etc. that you want me to visit, I’d love to see! :) You can also let me know what you need here.

As a blog and web designer, I am passionate about setting the right foundation for your business. The appearance, logo, and general aesthetic feel of your blog and business can make a humongous impact on your success. If you’d like to chat more about how I can help you create the business of your dreams, contact me here. I’d love to help you get on track towards success!