Making Things Happen
In December, I decided that 2018 was the year I was going to attend another conference. If you saw my “2017 Year in Review” post back in January, then you know it was one of my top priorities. It had been 3 years since I attended the Creative at Heart Conference, and I felt excited about trying something new. After much deliberation, I signed up for Making Things Happen in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Not only did it sound like an inspirational conference, but it was close to home! I couldn’t wait!
The morning of Making Things Happen arrived, and I was honestly a mess. The night before I was up for hours with our sick puppy, and I was exhausted. I — no joke — left the house without brushing my teeth! I realized it about halfway there, and I had to stop at a grocery store, buy a toothbrush and toothpaste, and brush my teeth in the parking lot. It was embarrassing, but I couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Needless to say it was not the best start to the day!
I got to the Carolina Inn and I was just buzzing with excitement. I was ready to make new friends and really dive into my business. Before entering the room, one of the members of the encouragement team came by with an adorable yellow box covered in lemons that read, “When life hands you lemons, make things happen!” She was collecting cell phones for the day. I knew that this was part of the deal, but it honestly made me anxious. Not because I have to check social media all the time, but with a sick puppy at home, I worried about having an emergency. Fortunately, they have an emergency line you can give to family members if they need to contact you. So off went the phone, and into the box it went!
I first want to say that I think Lara Casey is not just a wonderful motivational speaker, she is also a sweet and very genuine person. She is incredibly passionate about what she does and she truly inspires people. The other motivational speakers were also a really wonderful group of women! All of them shared their hearts and really put themselves out there. It was really beautiful to see a group of speakers who were so open with their audience. It allowed the attendees to feel like they could be more open with a total group of strangers.
I want to be completely honest about my personal experience with the Making Things Happen Conference. This is something I’ve gone back and forth about because I don’t think my opinion is a very popular one. However, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about my thoughts on the conference, and I think they’re important to share. I want to preface my opinions by saying that I completely respect and admire everyone who is involved with Making Things Happen. They are doing amazing things for so many women, and just because this was my personal experience doesn’t mean that everyone else feels the same way. I know there were many women who had their lives completely changed during our time together, and that is incredible!
The truth is that I walked away from this conference feeling very disappointed. I went into Making Things Happen with really high hopes and huge expectations. I had heard really amazing things about it and how it would change your life. To that I would say it just depends on where you are or what you’re dealing with in life. I think this conference may have been what I needed three years ago when I quit my full time job to start my business. However, I am in a place in my life where it just wasn’t something I needed. Again — this is personal to me! There were so many women there struggling with things that they were able to confront during our time there, and that is incredible.
Part of the reason I think I walked away feeling so disappointed was because my expectations of the conference were not met. I knew Making Things Happen was more of a personal conference, but I thought it’d be a little more business-based than it was. All of the speakers are small business owners, so I think I just assumed it would be at least a little focused on that. I also thought there would be more small business owners there, but most of the women I talked to were not. As an introvert, it made it really hard to relate to this group of strangers. This was probably my fault for making these assumptions, but it’s just the impression I got after looking at the website.
Zach and I have been talking about starting a family in the next couple of years, and it’s a topic that really intimidates me. I was really eager to talk with other working moms about how they find the balance between their kids and work. Specifically, I was hoping to get advice from the speakers since many of them are business-owning moms. It’s one of the reasons I specifically chose to attend this conference! I was really looking forward to having discussions with people and feeling comforted about my fears. However, there wasn’t any discussion at all because they don’t allow you to talk to anyone the entire day. Not during breaks, not during lunch, not until we’re completely finished at 6:00 pm. We had to stay “in our own space” all day. It was incredibly isolating.
About two weeks before the conference, I got a survey from the conference coordinator that I had to fill out. One of the sections was designed to help put us into breakout groups. We had to rank a series of statements from what related to us the most and what related to us the least. There was a statement that said “I am balancing my passion/business/career with parenting.” I thought, “Awesome! One of the breakout groups is going to be about balancing your career and business with parenting!” I selected that one. Come to find that it didn’t matter which one you selected because it just sorted you into a group. There was absolutely no discussion at all about any of the topics from the survey. I am still very disappointed. You see why I was under the impression this was maybe a little bit more about business than it was?
On the first day, Lara gave us a bunch of prompts to answer in our notebooks. We answered questions like, “What are you afraid of?” and did some fill-in-the-blank prompts (“I’m afraid of ___ because of ____.”). Other prompts read, “I’m saying ‘no’ to ___” and “I’m saying ‘yes’ to ___.” Then we thought about where we wanted to be when 5-10 years from now, and then we imagined what life would look like when we are 80.
Day 2 was more focused around goal setting. We had to write out our goals and then come up with an action plan. This included writing down starting steps and and when we would accomplish them. We talked about big picture goals and action steps, and then we talked about smaller short-term goals and action steps.
Do any of these questions and fill-in-the-blank prompts sound familiar?
Well, if you’ve ever filled out a set of Powersheets, then you’ve probably seen all of these questions. This conference was essentially a $1100 guided Powersheets session. I think everything we talked about, with the exception of the testimonies from the speakers, was straight out of Lara’s Powersheets. To me, that was not at all what I expected, and I think that should have been more clear before attending.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being down on this conference, but the truth is that it was an expensive investment. I put a lot of time and energy deciding what education to invest in each year, and it feels horrible walking away from a $1100 investment feeling so disappointed. As much as I love this group of women, this conference was just not for me. However, a lot of people walked away with a completely different experience, and that’s wonderful! As I mentioned before, I think a lot of it has to do with where you are in your life. Just because I didn’t have the best experience doesn’t mean you won’t.
So if you’re interested in attending, give it a try! If this sounds like it may not quite be for you, and you want to save some money and have a more discussion-based version of Making Things Happen, I recommend purchasing a set of Powersheets with a group of friends and filling them out together. Lara’s work is amazing, and her Powersheets have been a real eye-opening experience for me! I just don’t feel like I needed to invest in a conference that was really just walking through a product I already had.
Some Things I Think are Important to Know before attending:
- The survey they have you fill out before asks you to rank a few statements from 1-5 in order to put you into a breakout group. The topics of the statements have absolutely nothing to do with what you’ll be discussing.
- On the MTH website, it specifically states that it is not a religious conference but, “Because the encouragers tell their personal stories, including the challenges they’ve faced, faith gets talked about extensively at MTH.” This is not an understatement — it comes up a lot. Personally, as a woman of faith, this didn’t bother me. However, if people talking about their faith is something that bothers you, then this conference is probably not for you.
- You must turn in your cell phone before you can enter the conference room. You won’t get it back until all of the conference activities have finished.
- Once the conference starts, you are not allowed to talk to anyone. This includes during bathroom breaks and lunch.