"A life of purpose – living for something bigger than yourself – is not about achieving your dream job or the ideal circumstances or the perfect timing. Yes what you have, where you are, right now, on purpose."
Lara Casey is the founder of Southern Weddings and Lara Casey Media. She is an incredibly accomplished entrepreneur, with an even more incredible personal story. Make It Happen is part memoir, part coaching book for women who want to make things happen in their lives. The heart of the transformation in Casey’s life is surrendering to her fear, taking the leap and living on purpose. Casey introduces a new take on personal development and time management that has a focus on faith, purpose and meaning.
Overcome Your Fears
"Many of us fear that if we slow down even the tiniest bit, we will no longer be productive."
Casey’s personal story is one of overcoming her fears. Throughout her adult life, she struggled with a strong desire to be perfect in her endeavors – to have the perfect body, to have the perfect life, to have the perfect business. These are all illusive ideas of what we think we should be striving for, but really they are fueled by our fears. But as Casey points out, “fear can hold us back from making what matters happen”.
The core of living a life on purpose is about knowing what matters most and pursuing them in the face of your fears. Casey points out that it is important to recognize the difference between normal and abnormal fear. “Normal fear keeps us from jumping off a cliff; abnormal fear keeps us from taking a leap of faith towards something that matters”. Abnormal fear is also what convinces us that what matters most is not actually important. It makes us dim ourselves down for no good reason. Interestingly, Casey talks about fear of success as being one of the biggest internalized fears that women have. I can relate to that. When we fear success, we often really fear that if we reach our potential then we won’t be able to manage the responsibility that comes with it, or that we won’t be able to sustain it. The repercussion of this kind of thinking is that we deem ourselves unworthy and keep playing small.
Busy Does Not Equal Success
"Busy is the enemy of peace. Don’t be afraid to put the brakes on."
I have read countless books about time management over the years and one of the recurring themes in all of them is that we have to defeat the notion that being busy is an indication of success. Usually the conversation centers on the fact that we need to let go of just aimlessly filling our time so that we can focus on our priorities. But what Casey points out that is unique to this conversation is that busy disrupts the peace of our lives. It’s not just about focusing on the tasks that matter most; it’s about cultivating peace in our day-to-day. This is completely counterintuitive to how we usually think about the benefits of overturning the notion of “busy.” As I tried implementing this in my own life, I’ve found it incredibly liberating. It took a bit of time to adjust to having quieter, slower days where I just focus on three to five key tasks, but I’ve found that I have made a much more significant strides in my work.
Casey suggests that if the goal is progress, not perfection, there are a couple of questions that we can focus on to simplify.
- Why am I doing things the way I do them?
- How can I simplify?
- How can I live more on purpose?
Create a Life on Purpose
"Focus on progress, not paralyzing perfection."
In addition to sharing her inspiring personal story, Casey offers readers some practical advice for creating a life they love on purpose. “What seeds can you plant now of the living legacy you want to pass on to others?” That is the question that Casey suggests thinking about first as you try to determine what is most important to you. In addition to that, Casey offers up five steps to create a life on purpose:
- Evaluate your life. In this part of the process, Casey suggests doing a holistic check-in with yourself. How are you? What has been working? What hasn’t been working? What are you afraid of? What season are you in? Once you’ve done some reflecting on these questions, be still and be patient as you decide your next steps.
- Clear the clutter. Our lives are sometimes overrun by weeds, which can be boiled down into three categories: connectivity, comparison and clutter. Once we identify the weeds in our lives we can begin to pull them.
- Set purposeful goals. As we decide what goals would most add purpose and meaning to our lives, it is important to set both short-term and long-term goals. More importantly, when we identify the goals we want to pursue, we should also identify why we want to pursue them.
- Take action. Break down your goals into daily, weekly and monthly action steps. Leave room for evaluation each month and identify things that need to be pruned.
- Engage others. To continue to cultivate meaningful relationships in our lives that add value and purpose, we have to encourage others.
Casey provides many valuable and inspirational lessons about creating a life that matters. Her inspiring story shows us that a combination of faith and action makes the impossible possible.