I've been writing this blog for over two years. I've hosted events. Paid for events that didn't pan out. Lost money. Gotten frustrated. Quit for a little while. Reinvented. Trudged and trudged. And today? Two years later? It's still mostly my best friends and my family who keep up with what I'm doing with Selah. My work here isn't really noticed or celebrated. But here's the thing: It's changed me life. So I'm succeeding. Every day I keep going is another day I get to love what I do.
I believe so much in the message of Selah. I believe that a pause and praise lifestyle can change your life. And I know that practicing gratitude and creativity and connection can bring you through the exhaustion. Out of the grind. Above the chaos. I know because it works for me. Every single day. It's not a quick fix. It’s actually work. Every day, no matter what, no matter how much acknowledgement, no matter how many people drop you or make fun of you or doubt you. But it’s good work. Work that can change your life. And I can give you the tools to rise above the noise and focus on building the life that you want. I can cheer you on. You can come with me into this Selah life. We can do this together. We can choose our more and go after it while we love our lives today.
Maybe I don't seem credible. Maybe you think it's all a waste or a lot of fluff. And, dear reader, that's ok. You don't have to listen to me. You don't have to believe in my credentials or think nice things about me. But watch me. Watch me love my life and build my relationships and grow my business and take my dreams and make a plan. Watch me. Watch me take the doubt of others and turn it into motivation to make things happen. And when you've seen enough? When you want to love your life every day? Join me. Come alongside me with your own dreams. We can make a plan. We can encourage each other and grow together. It doesn't matter what you want to do. Start your own business. Be a more present partner or parent. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Make more friends. Travel the world. Pay off your credit card. I know there is something. We are not meant to stay where we are. We are meant to grow and reach and stretch ourselves for as many days as we are blessed to spend on this earth. And I want to be your biggest advocate. Your coach. Your cheerleader. And no one has to believe you either. But if they watch you? They will see good work and joyful living.
For me? The way I got over myself and stopped lying to myself about what I can and can't have? How I started seeing the choices in front of me? And started choosing joy and leading with love and changing my life? Friends, it was Selah. A word I found on an art print that changed my life and became my lifestyle. Selah: Pause. Praise. I teach it through gratitude and creativity and connection. Because those three things are innate to us as human beings, and if we don't tend them carefully then we cannot reach our full potential.
So I'm not all that credible I guess. But this journey I'm on? This lifestyle? It's my testimonial. It has brought into some of the dearest relationships of my life. It has offered me grace when I have failed and motivation when I have felt stuck. It has brought me closer to God and to myself and to the people who matter the most to me. It has opened my eyes to new possibilities and it has given me freedom to build a life that I love and to let go of worry and self doubt and what others think. Am I perfect at it? No. But every single day I choose who I want to be. I don't let the world tell me who I am. And this new way of thinking? Of deciding for myself? It is radical and non-confirmative. It is bold and daring and beautiful and terrifying. And I know with everything in me that this is what I am supposed to do - to live this Selah life everyday. And to share it. So even if you're scared. Even if you don't believe. Even if it seems impossible or silly or stupid. It's ok. Because I'm not scared any more. And I believe. And I know that what you want for your life is possible. So if you're still unsure. Watch me.
The first time I thought those words, "watch me"? I was 36 weeks pregnant and I took a business outline to my grad school professor. I wanted to create a coaching company at the beach. I wanted my clients to come to me so that I would not have to travel and leave my family. I believed in the power of the beach - a different and retreat like environment to encourage clients think creatively and open themselves to new ideas. I wrote out a 3 phase plan spanning from 2014 to 2022. My plan focused on leadership development and communication. I wanted to work with leaders and teams to develop effective leaders and engaged team members.
So I took this idea to my professor. And I am not kidding. He took that paper and looked at it for 15 seconds. A glance. Handed it back to me and said "This will never work." Then, do you know what he said next? He asked a few quick questions about my husband, a Wake Forest MBA grad with a background in corporate sales and marketing. And he said, " Your husband might could do this. But not you. No one will listen to you." I took the paper and timidly said "Thank you for your opinion." And I held it together just long enough to waddle my very pregnant butt out of there as fast as I could. But do you know what I thought?
I don’t know what switched inside me at that moment. But I decided. I decided that no one could tell me what I couldn’t have. Maybe it was because up until that moment in my life I’d always been encouraged. Cheered on. I was lucky enough to find my strengths early in life and I learned to play to them. I became the best at my natural strengths, and I ignored the rest. I was an excellent dancer. I danced for hours and hours every week. My parents turned my bedroom into a studio. Hardwood floors, mirror, ballet barre. I launched my first entrepreneurial endeavor when I was 13. I created a dance camp for 4 and 5 year olds in my carport. I made $400. My mom supervised the classes, and she took me to the grocery store to pick out my refreshments for the parent showcase I hosted at the end of the week. But I meticulously and confidently planned every minute of my camp by myself. I practiced my parent welcome speech in the mirror and I choreographed a dazzling “teacher performance” for the showcase. Bless. But my point? I knew early on that dance was a talent. And so did everyone else. And I focused fiercely on developing that talent. It took me all the way to UGA where I danced for 4 years and captained both the football and basketball dance teams. Then it led me to Boston where I coached the Boston College Dance Team. And today, I still utilize that talent through my Mini Motions business. And this Fall, I teach dance 2 hours a week while my kids are in preschool. And I pay for their preschool tuition. I know how to play to my strengths.
But grad school was different for me. Academia was not my strength. I was smart. Made good grades. But didn’t really connect with that world. I was so driven with my dance. And I would dance for hours a night. But academics? I could get by with pretty little effort and still perform fairly well. So that’s where I sat. I got by. I didn’t strive or study. I did just enough to stay in honors classes, keep my scholarships, and be allowed to dance.
I have no idea what drove me to pursue grad school. When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I would have said definitively that I was done. But I really think God planted a seed in my heart. A thought. A prayer. That I could do something hard. Out of my comfort zone. I could achieve beyond what came easily for me. So I pursued it. I got into a program. And began studying Organization Development at Queens University in Charlotte. I was terrified. I never spoke up. Sat in the back. Felt like I had nothing to contribute. But very very slowly, people began to believe in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Fellow students. Professors. Friends and bosses. And I started letting myself be who I could be. And I thrived.
When I took that business idea to my professor, I was shaking. I had never requested a meeting with a professor ever. Not at UGA or in my graduate work. I had always tried to fly under the radar unnoticed. So they couldn’t see that I really wasn't good enough. But that day I gathered up all my gumption and took a wild business idea to an expert. And he shut me down with one sigh. And then his words shook me so hard that I was out of breath. Flushed. Mortified. Motivated. After a lifetime of avoiding school, I was finally, by choice, in a graduate program. If I could show up for that? I could reach for more. So when I walked out of that room, I knew. Watch me.
I continued my studies for 7 more months. Halfway through my degree. Then life turned upside down we landed in Saint Simons. We chose to come here because the timing was right. Even though my degree wasn't finished. This place? There are so many reasons we picked it. And one reason? One big reason? Because I was told that my idea would never work. That only my husband could have a slim chance of making that dream a reality.
Am I there yet? Nope. Has the idea evolved and changed? Yes. 100%. I’ve spent 4 years having babies and being a mommy. And that choice brought me to Selah. And now, my business plan is new and different and driven by passion. But I'm still motivated by being told that I'm not good enough. And so every day I move closer to my new goal: To coach women in the Selah lifestyle so that you can live into your full and intended potential. Every time I hear you say that you’re afraid to go back to work because no one will hire you after staying home with your babies. Every time I hear you say that there has to be a different way than this exhausted state of overwhelm. Every time I hear that you don’t have enough time or you don’t have enough money or you don’t have the support or the credentials to do what you want to do. I am motivated to teach you how a Selah lifestyle can help bring everything you want into focus. And every day I am moving closer to helping you. Because I'm learning how to help myself. To take my dreams and make plans and to stop believing what other people think I can’t do.
Every day I become more passionate about coaching and encouraging women to take action. And I believe with all my heart that God set me on this journey of growing Selah so that I can share it. Why should you follow my plan? Because I am you. I don’t have time. There are literally zero minutes in the day for me to do this. I am writing now while I’m nursing. And I’ll write again at 3am. And then at 6am I’ll write a parent letter and lesson plans for Mini Motions. I am you. I am tired. And I don’t have the time or the money. And I don't have the right credentials. But the only difference, maybe, between me and you? Is mindset. It’s living intentionally into the Selah life. Training myself to pause and praise. Using the tools of gratitude and creativity and connection with intention to make my dream a reality AND to love the work of getting there. And when you see me do it? When you watch me? You’ll know you can do it too. You can love your life right now and still reach for something even better. I can show you. So if you’re scared? Watch me.
And as I plug away listening and planning and learning and inching forward, you can stay where you are. Or you can come too. We can go together. And we’ll do it despite everything because it’s worth it. And when we rise together? We’ll shine a light for others to follow. And we’ll bring them alongside us in celebration.
And one day when those Sea Island gates open for me and I'm the keynote speaker at a lovely event where I get to teach this beautiful Selah life of pause and praise? And I’m signing my book that I poured my heart and soul into? When that day comes, I will invite that professor from my past, and with a truly grateful heart, I will thank him giving me the motivation to do what nobody thought I could. Watch me.