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Meet the Fall 2018 MTH Encouragers!

It's been an exciting week in the Cultivate office as we celebrate Mid-Year Goals Prep Week, and we couldn't think of a better time to introduce our Fall Encouragement Speakers for our Making Things Happen Conference. These ladies are eager to cheer you on (in person!) as you take the next step to uncovering what matters, making a plan, and tending to it!

Every year, in Chapel Hill, NC, women just like you from all over the world and in all seasons of life, come together for the Making Things Happen Conference to do just that: make what matters happen. Our team likes to describe Making Things Happen as doing PowerSheets in person. MTH gives you a chance to step away from the busyness and distractions of everyday life to uncover meaningful intentional goals. There's nothing quite like it!

At Making Things Happen you'll dig deep but, you won't do it alone! Our founder, Lara Casey, is there to walk you through every step of the process! Eight incredible women come alongside Lara and serve as our team of Encouragement Speakers. Our Encouragers are women deeply passionate about helping you uncover what matters. They'll share their personal stories and encourage you in break-out sessions to bravely dig deeper together.

We're excited to introduce our Fall 2018 Encouragement Speakers and hear more of why they're excited about Making Things Happen and what advice they have for our future attendees!

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Lara Casey

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "Meeting YOU! Hearing your stories and watching transformations happen and light bulbs go off is a gift I don't take for granted. I can't wait to meet you!"

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "If you are able, stay at the Carolina Inn with other attendees and be sure to go to the fireside chats each night. That's where you'll build a community that will last a lifetime. You only get those two days together—make them count! And trust that everyone else is just as nervous as you are. Those nerves will fly out the window when we get started though!

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Heidi Dawson

Website 

What She's Most Excited for: "I am looking forward to sharing and listening to how others not only overcome the valleys in life and business but how to enjoy the mountaintops as well."

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "Don’t believe everything that you think."

Shunta Grant

Shunta Grant

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "I am looking forward to witnessing every woman in attendance experience the gift of taking two days out for herself to discover what matters most in her life and then do something about it!"

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "Come with no agenda other than to embrace the time spent together with honesty and an open heart and mind. It's going to be so good!"

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Gina Zeidler

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "Time to reflect, REVIVE and encourage each attendee and watch the transformation."

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "Get excited. I'm so proud of you for investing in YOU! I know you might feel all sorts of upside down, but JUST WAIT!"

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Maghon Taylor

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "I can't wait to speak encouragement and life into each attendee at MTH this fall! I enjoy this experience year after year and I feel like everyone who is in the room is there at that exact moment for a reason."

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "I was afraid too. I was worried about making friends, meeting people in my same industry, crying too much, my outfit -- the list goes on. I never thought about any of these fears after walking through the doors. Come as you are. This is going to change your life in the best way."

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Amber Housley

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "I am most looking forward to having these two days to reflect and be refreshed alongside dozens of other women. It's truly inspiring to be in a room with women who want to live an intentional life. It's magic!"

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "Come just as you are, right where you are."

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Katelyn James

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "I'm looking forward to sharing and encouraging attendees with what I have walked through in my recent season. I've learned so much about how even the darkest seasons can produce life-giving fruit."

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "There is no season that is too hard or too dark where transformation can't take place. Whatever season that you're in, it's purposeful!"

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Natascha Trapp

Website 

What She's Most Excited for: "I'm looking forward to my first experience with the MTH Conference, making new friends, and focusing on the goals I know the Lord has called me to."

Her one piece of encouragement for attendees: "Take the leap!"

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Nancy Ray

Website | Instagram

What She's Most Excited for: "I’m most looking forward to two days of no interruptions. No phone, no distractions, just focusing on my heart and my future. Every single time I go to MTH, it is the greatest gift to step away from life and gain perspective on my health, my relationships, my faith, and my family."

Her Encouragement for Attendees: "You’ll get out of it what you put into it. The more vulnerable you are, the better… there is no judgment in that room! Also, wear waterproof mascara and don’t wear jeans. You’ll be more comfy, I promise!"

We are thrilled that each of our Encouragement Speakers is taking the time to join us this fall, and we can't wait for you to learn from them!

Are you ready to take the leap and join us? Register nowNow through July 31st, you can get nearly 50% off your ticket with the early-bird rate!

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How To Be Present

At the most recent Making Things Happen Conference this spring, as I sat in the back listening to each of our attendees share over their two days at The Carolina Inn, I noticed something...

Over and over, a theme emerged: women want to be present in their lives. They want to be present for their spouses, present for their kids, perhaps present in their time with the Lord, or even simply present with the task at hand as they move throughout their day.

This sounds like such a twenty-first century problem, doesn't it? And there's shame there, like why can't we just do this thing that sounds so simple?? While I'm sure this has always been a challenge to some degree, the fact is that it is uniquely a "right now" problem: there are more distractions, and more powerful distractions, tempting us than ever before in history. (Can you tell I'm reading The Tech-Wise Family and LOVING IT? :))

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Photo by Rachel Coffey

But back to the MTH Conference: this deeply-seated desire to be present was so universal and so keenly felt, but by the same measure, attendees seemed at a loss for how they could create change in this area in their lives. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I wanted to share a few things that have worked for me and for other Cultivate team members. The catch? Very few of these will be surprises to you. We all know these things. The true challenge is doing them. I'm here to encourage you on that, too, as you'll see below! :) Let's go!

One final note: when we talk about being present, I don't think most of us are talking about achieving a blissed-out state of zen. What we want is to live deeply in important moments, giving the people we care about the gift of our attention, and maximizing (in the most heart-centered sense) each moment we have. We want to live and remember each day as distinct and praiseworthy instead of just one more in an undifferentiated slog. Okay, now let's go :)

1. Define what's truly important to you and remind yourself of it often. We will never stop talking about the importance of a "why" at Cultivate - it is central to everything we do, and to the message of the PowerSheets! Without a strong and personally meaningful why, we'll never stick with something that's challenging or requires something of us. So why does being present matter to you? Define it, write it down, and perhaps picture it visually (I have a simple inspiration board on my fridge that reminds me of the kind of life I want to live -- one that is very present).

As an example, part of my why was articulated beautifully in this opinion piece from the New York Times. The author writes that the quantity of "quality" (present) time is almost as important as the quality, that we delude ourselves when we think we can "plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, and engineer intimacy in an appointed hour." The truth is that we never know when those moments will show up, so I want to be present and ready for them as often as I possibly can be. "People tend not to operate on cue... We reach out for help at odd points; we bloom at unpredictable ones. The surest way to see the brightest colors, or the darkest ones, is to be watching and waiting and ready for them."

2. Set a hard boundary. This is perhaps contradictory to my first point, but if being present is something you struggle with, start by setting a discrete time period when you commit to being fully present. It might be in the hour after your kiddos arrive home from school, the thirty minutes when you sit down to dinner or breakfast, or the ten minutes with your spouse before you go to bed. Making a commitment is the first step in keeping it.

3. Don't just hope things will work out - make a plan. Identify your biggest barrier to being present and make a plan to defeat it. For most of us, I would venture to say it's our phones. I have found that the very simple practice of putting my phone in the same place on the kitchen counter when I get home from work stops me from having to make a decision every day about whether I'll have my phone in my pocket, in the bedroom, etc. When I place that phone down, it's a physical reminder that I'm switching over into uninterrupted time with my daughter.

4. Find a way to quiet your mind. By definition, if we're not "in the present," our minds are in the past or future, right? Once my phone is put away, I focus on soaking in as much of the moment as I possibly can -- the sights, the sounds, the smells -- instead of focusing on what happened earlier that day or what's to come. It can also be helpful to focus on your breath, especially if you feel a pull to grab that phone!

5. Learn how to be together. Sure, perhaps the best way to be present with someone is to sit by their side and simply listen to them. But, I think we can also be present with each other in ways where our whole world doesn't need to come to a screeching halt. Some of my favorite moments each day are in the mornings when I'm getting ready for work and my two-year-old is sitting next to me in her high chair eating breakfast. Washing my face, doing my hair, and putting on makeup don't require much brain power, but since my hands are busy, it's easy to focus on her and whatever she'd like to talk to me about. If she's playing independently in the afternoon, I also like to sit on the sofa nearby and read my own book - giving her the gift of my available, present self, even though we aren't interacting constantly.

6. Make a system for capturing info. Aside from my phone, one of my biggest barriers to being present is all of the stuff constantly swirling in my head. You, too? To dos, worries, reminders, appointments to make, ideas to remember, birthday messages to send... the list goes on. Simply keeping a scratch pad out in our kitchen so I can jot those things down instead of juggling them in my mind goes a long way toward freeing me up mentally to remain "in the moment."

7. Acknowledge the tension. Like I mentioned at the beginning, just the fact that we struggle with being present can be a source of guilt or shame. Shouldn't being with our kids be the easiest thing in the world? Shouldn't sitting with our spouses bring us the most joy? They very well might - but that doesn't mean the pull of long-held habits is easy to break. You are learning a new way of being, so simply acknowledge the little by little steps you're taking as well as the set-backs, and keep moving forward!

8. Listen to older people instead of resenting them. We've all heard about the frazzled mom at the grocery store who wants to strangle the grandma who says "you're going to miss these days!" as she tries to wrangle her three screaming kids out the door. Well, my own grandma's best parenting advice when I asked her was "I just tried to enjoy them." What a simple, poignant, true thought. To me, that is what being present is about: simply enjoying the people and time I have been given. Keeping that as my focus instead of resenting it, even in the difficult moments of parenting or life, has been a game-changer for me.

Friends, I'd love to hear: is being present something you struggle with? What tactics have helped you be more present in your life?

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Making Things Happen Conference Spring 2018 Recap

Each year in our company PowerSheets, our team lists the things that fire us up. It won't be a surprise to know that at the top of the list year after year is hosting the Making Things Happen Conference! What is the Making Things Happen Conference?

The Making Things Happen Conference began in 2009 after Lara posted a blog entry answering the question, "Lara, how do you make things happen?" From a whirlwind tour across the country to settling down in Chapel Hill, so much has changed in MTH's history! Last month, we gathered to celebrate nine years of MTH, and host our 53rd conference!

View More: http://rachelcoffeyphoto.pass.us/mth-2018

After taking a break from our fall conference last year, it was hard to hide our excitement for our newest group of attendees. Almost 100 ladies said yes to taking a leap of faith and joined us at our Spring Intensive at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, NC.

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When asked how to describe MTH, we often have a hard time putting the experience into words. We could write out a schedule for the two days, but that doesn't do justice to the space given the to help attendees uncover what matters most and do something about it. Every year, women of all different ages, professions, and backgrounds join us for a two-day intensive to uncover their goals and take action.

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Behind every MTH Conference is our Encouragement Crew. The Encouragement Crew is made up of past attendees who selflessly volunteer their time to come back and encourage our attendees. They greet our attendees with bright smiles, warm hugs, and are always nearby to lend a hand when needed.

View More: http://rachelcoffeyphoto.pass.us/mth-2018

Making things happen means learning to say NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique assignment–not someone else’s assignment.

One of the core components of MTH is being able to dig deep free from any distractions. To make this easy for our attendees, we provide a safe home for all cell phones so they can focus free of distractions! This often seems daunting to many attendees, but we hear time and time again how it's one of their favorite parts of the conference!

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Each conference we welcome an incredible group of encouragement speakers to share their stories and encouragement for attendees. This isn't a panel of women talking to our attendees; they do the hard work alongside them, and selflessly poured into the lives of our MTH attendees.

Why? Because at the end of the day, this conference isn't about them.

It's about our attendees. The ladies who bravely stood up and shared their stories. The ladies who took the time to put to paper their deepest fears and greatest dreams. These ladies who gave their dreams a voice–planting seeds from which good things will grow.

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Making things happen means making decisions that will get you to where you want to be when you’re 80 years old.

"This is hands down one of the most life-giving experiences I have ever been a part of. MTH provided me the opportunity for concentrated time to explore the possibilities of what an intentional life-giving life looks like. I went in feeling stuck. Stuck in my career, stuck in my thoughts process of wanting to make things happen and not sure how to, stuck in the idea of possibilities, stuck in believing lies from the enemy, and stuck in wanting someone to give me a blueprint for success. I left the conference not with a blueprint or with someone telling me how to fix my circumstances, but with hope, courage, and authority. Hope that things CAN and WILL change, authority to make them happen and the courage to keep going when I'm not sure what is next." -Paige

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Making things happen means taking risks, taking action, and embracing tension.

"Attending MTH was arguably one of the best things I've ever done for myself. It was worth every penny and every ounce of effort it took for me to get there. Before MTH, I was tired and feeling a little hopeless. Life felt stagnant, like I was going through the motions without much forward progression. MTH reminded me of my own agency, of my responsibility to myself and others, to continue moving forward and to live for something better. I left knowing I was created for more! I'm so grateful, now, for the work I have ahead of me." -Meghan

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Making things happen–the right things–changes everything.

"I had wanted to attend MTH for many years, but this year I just decided to take the leap! I’m SO glad that I did; it was a life-changing experience. From start to finish, I felt cared for, encouraged and challenged to step out of my identity box. Life is too short not to live on purpose!"  -Taryn

MTH is unlike any other conference. It’s like doing PowerSheets in person and meeting a group of women who think like you and will cheer you on in every step forward. Together, we uncover what matters to you and do something about it. When you join us at Making Things happen, you join a community of more than 1,000 like-minded women across the world who have chosen to take the leap and make what matters happen.

Are you ready to uncover your goals and take action? Our team would love to invite you to join us at the Fall MTH Conference!

The Details: September 24-25, 2018 at The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, NC 

It's time to take the leap! Our Early-Bird Rate (more than 50% off ticket price) ends on July 31st! Payment plans are available; email Kristin@CultivateWhatMatters.com for more information! Register today!

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

We'd love to hear from you: what do you want to make happen?

All photos by Rachel Coffey

 

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New Dates and a New Logo for MTH Conference

Our team just wrapped up two days with 96 women who took a bold leap of faith and made a choice to live on purpose. And now, we want to invite you to do the same.

The Making Things Happen Intensive (affectionately known as MTH Conference) is the first of its kind. This two-day intensive, led by Lara Casey, author of Make it Happen and Cultivate, is intentionally designed to fire you up and set you on a powerful path. Together, attendees dig deep, establish priorities, uncover a purposeful vision for their lives, set goals, and discover how to make what matters most happen. Making Things Happen was founded on the idea that each attendee has the choice to change your life.

Making things happen means knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS–on growing what lasts longer than you.

When everyone else was saying, “Do more! Be more!” we began teaching something entirely different: do less. Do what matters.

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Who is MTH for? This is where MTH is different from other conferences. You won’t be listening to a panel of speakers tell you how to do things; you’ll be led through a powerful process where YOU uncover good goals and make an action plan that fits your specific life and dreams. MTH is for everyone: love-at-home moms, corporate CEO’s, students, creatives, non-creatives, and everyone in between have joined us over the last nine years. Whether you know what you want to make happen and need an action plan, or you need help uncovering good goals, MTH is for you. And all ages join us: from college freshmen to women in their 60’s who are ready for a new chapter in life. The unifying factor is a desire to live intentionally and make the most of your time and gifts.

Over the past 53 MTH Conference experiences, our 1000+ alumni have made dreams come to life, launched new businesses, left behind unfulfilling habits, transformed marriages and families, and helped thousands of other women live on purpose too.

In the same way that the heartbeat of the MTH Conference changed over the past few years, we knew it was time to make another change. The MTH Conference needed a new look–one that represented our mission. One that represented the hope that the seeds attendees planted during their time with us would be just the beginning and those good things would grow over time.

Our new logo represents the fresh start each attendee takes when they join us for two days of uncovering what matters most and making an action plan.

The Details: September 24-25, 2018 at The Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill, NC 

BUY YOUR EARLY BIRD TICKET HERE

We believe beautiful things grow out of getting messy and doing the hard work, and MTH is the start of that. At MTH, Lara and our team of guest encouragers will ask you challenging questions. She'll ask you to be honest with yourself and use your voice to banish your fears. In many ways, you'll do PowerSheets in person alongside her. It's time to listen to the voice in your head telling you it's worth investing in yourself!

Take the leap, and join us in Chapel Hill, NC this September! We can't wait to help you uncover your goals and start making them happen!

Our Early-Bird Rate (more than 50% off ticket price) ends on July 31st, and we have payment plans available; email Kristin@CultivateWhatMatters.com! Register today!

I'd love to hear from you! Big or small–what have you invested in for yourself recently? Leave a comment below!

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When It’s Time to Take a Leap of Faith…

Our team is busy preparing to host our newest group of Making Things Happen Conference attendees in Chapel Hill, NC next week for our two-day intensive to help them uncover their goals and take action on them. These ladies are taking a huge leap of faith, and we wanted to offer encouragement to them and anyone who might be stepping into the unknown with the expectation of great things to come. Whether you're packing your bags for Chapel Hill, NC or making progress on one of your PowerSheets goals, this is for you!

Ask yourself this question: What if today is the day that everything changes?

Let that sink in for a moment. What if the small decision you make today is planting the seed for great things to come?

Taking any big leap forward–into whatever it might be–can be daunting.

There is a lot of pressure in today's world. Whether it's pressure put on us by others or pressure we put on ourselves, it can oftentimes feel overwhelming to get started on anything new at all. A fear of failure or underachievement oftentimes stops us dead in our tracks and paralyzes us from taking any action on the things that matter to us.

But making the decision to step forward is often the hardest part because it's the first step. It takes bravery to step into the unknown. Making good things come to life requires physical action. And then another action. And another.

Over time, goals and dreams that were once leaps of faith turn into a new life. You have a choice. You can choose to start fresh. You can choose to put the phone down, stop scrolling, and turn comparison into celebration.

This leap of faith? It is not selfish; it takes bravery and gumption. Whether you're taking two days away from your work and family at MTH Conference, spending a few hours on your PowerSheets Prep Work, or stepping outside for a moment to breathe in the sunshine and fresh air, you are worth the time investment.

You are worthy. Just as you are. There is no guilt or shame for taking time to invest in yourself. 

The process of cultivating–breaking the soil, planting, tending, and waiting for the harvest–is where life happens. It's where change and growth happen. The journey to making it happen is where the good stuff lives. Soak it up, friends.

Dreams become decisions when you cultivate them, and the best is yet to come!

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