It has been just one week since I landed home in sunny Jacksonville, Florida after a jam packed 3 days of fun, learning, and connecting with other creatives at Creative at Heart Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina at the beautiful Merrimon-Wynn House.
I’ve spent the past week reflecting on the experience and how it impacted me. And the more I think about it, the bigger I smile.
Honored is an understatement for how I feel about being asked to be a keynote speaker for Round 7. I spent weeks pouring into my talk on Instagram to ensure I wasn’t adding to the noise of trendy tactics that our industry tends to focus on. We flipped the typical Instagram talk on it’s head and got real about cultivating connection with the people who have already chosen to follow us over the chase of pretty perfection in hopes of getting Insta famous.
I’m so grateful for each attendee who took the time to tell me their stories of going from feeling like they were never going to be good enough to gaining the confidence to move forward with a new marketing mindset.
On the last day of the conference, I was asked to take over the C@H Instagram Stories and from those moments of renewed confidence came a little idea. I asked a slew of creatives what Creative at Heart gave them the confidence to do.
“Finally leave my 9-5 and pursue this business full time.”
“Start saying no to the things that don’t fire me up!”
“To be myself. And to be confident to talk to anyone.”
Hearing these powerful words and more got me thinking about what Creative at Heart gave me the confidence to do. And after a week of reflection, I’m ready to make my own declaration with joy.
Creative at Heart gave me the confidence to say YES.
Yes to my story
If you’ve heard my story before, you know that I didn’t finish college. And I felt less than for YEARS after making that decision. I’ve felt like an imposter as an educator for the past year because I don’t have fancy letters behind my name or grand visions of building an empire.
All along the way, Jeremy has gently reminded me that I have built something here and it isn’t something they teach you how to do in higher education. And that my calling isn’t in being a boss lady who “kills it.”
For the past 10 years I’ve shamed myself for what I haven’t done, but I’m done with that.
I’m saying yes to the story God has written on my heart. One that leads me to embrace the real and raw of motherhood and encourage women in their own journeys to family life and running a business. I don’t need a bachelor’s degree or to flash an income statement to cultivate what matters here.
Yes to my unique voice
Behind closed doors, I talk to so many women who are frustrated. Tired of the smoke and mirrors in our industry and craving real conversation. Women who want space to talk about what it looks like to run a business, juggle a home life, and provide for their families.
I get you.
I’m saying yes to being honest. To sharing what it really looks like behind the scenes in our industry and not glamourize the manufactured highlight reel that is our social media world. To voicing the hard stuff so we can have candid conversations about our struggles, our hopes, and our lives as entrepreneurs, wives, students, mamas, and big dreamers.
Yes to rest
This one is a biggie for me.
Right now, I’m 26 weeks pregnant with my third child. And I am literally terrified of the circus that is about to ensue! But what I am most fearful of is missing out on the days of our littles being little.
There are many mamas out there who don’t have the luxury to step away from work and be present as a stay-at-home mom. I’m truly grateful that isn’t my reality. Jeremy and I set up our family finances in a way that allows me to not work at all. We aren’t rolling in the finer things of life, but we don’t need expensive things to be happy.
But with both of my children, I chose to continue working in this business right after they were born. I got plenty of snuggle time, but I was distracted. I couldn’t be still because I was on deadlines.
I absolutely love running this business. It excites me and fires me up. I love nerding out over strategy, marketing, analytics, tinkering with new technology, and designing pretty things.
But my first calling is NOT in business. I’m called to serve my husband and babies above my business dreams. I’m not proud to admit it, but most days I don’t get those priorities straight. I’ve learned that it isn’t going to magically happen. I have to make it an intentional decision to give them my best.
It starts now.
I’m saying yes to maternity leave. To rest. Starting November 1st, I’m closing the computer and saying yes to help so my business can go on while I’m gone. To embracing newborn life without checking emails and wondering if I’m missing out on something.
I officially started the preparation for maternity leave this week and would love to invite you behind the scenes of how it goes and the steps I’m taking!
And I’m saying thank you.
Thank you to Kat for being brave enough to say yes to Round 7. Thank you to Matt & Emily for being such an integral part of making it happen. To each and every volunteer who served us all so well for 3 days straight. To each sponsor who pampered us with the sweetest gifts. And for each speaker, panel leader, and attendee who came together in the spirit of giving and growing.
Here’s to the creatives. Here’s to you.
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