2 lessons i learned in the last week

Sweet Karsen, who will be graduating high school this month, and is off to study to become a teacher.

Sweet Karsen, who will be graduating high school this month, and is off to study to become a teacher.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that it had been a while since I’d picked up a camera.

Happily, I’ve had the opportunity to pick up the camera a few more times since then. And I’m so glad that I did, because having these photographs allow me to tell you all that I’ve learned in the last few weeks.

First of all, you might have noticed that I didn’t post as much last week — that’s because I was attending the Mom 2.0 Summit, an annual professional conference for entrepreneurs who create online content. I’ve been attending this conference for over a decade, and every year, the conference is in a new city. Last year, when they announced that the 2019 conference would be held in Austin, I called my war council.

“I have a proposition,” I said. “I propose that a few days before Mom 2.0, you three fly in to Houston and spend a couple of nights with me in the new house, and then we’ll roadtrip to Austin. What say you?”

Incredibly, they said yes.

Asha, Christine and Jessica arrived Monday and Tuesday of last week, and it was a breath of fresh air hanging out with the three of them. I wish I could fully express how much I value the friendship of these three women, and how much I strongly advise that you get a war council of your own. We each live on opposite sides of the continent, and our work is very different from each others; however, we share the same values when it comes the work we want to put out in the world. Also, each of these women is smart as a whip, and their outsider perspective gives me ideas for my own work that I would’ve never considered for myself. Every two months or so, we get on a video conference to brainstorm ideas for our respective businesses; this time, we took the opportunity to have our “fempire” meeting in the 2-1/2-hour car ride to Austin. Thanks to them, I am absolutely reenergized when it comes to my work … in particular, around a new in-person retreat that I’ll be offering soon.*

So, lesson one: find a small group of people who you admire and whose work you admire, and cultivate a war council of your own.


The second lesson that I learned over the last week came, in part, from the clarification of my thoughts on growing up instead of growing old (which I share on this week’s episode of The Make Light Show), but also from an impromptu photo shoot I did for a high school senior, Karsen. I’ve only done a few senior photo shoots — like, maybe 4? and all of them the daughters of friends — but my word, they’ve been fun. There’s something about spending time with someone who is at the cusp of big things: university, or travel, or otherwise making their way in the big, wide world. Remember that feeling? I distinctly remember the summer between my last year of high school and my first semester of university as such a shift: suddenly, I felt more grown up (my parents seemed to understand that three months away from leaving home, it was time to loosen the apron strings and give me more freedom, since I was about to be on my own), a little nervous about what lay ahead, but oh. so. excited. There’s something about facing the unknown with determination, you know? It’s empowering.

Why not cultivate more of that feeling in our own lives?

It requires some intention on our part — it’s not like we’re in school, where the end naturally happens. It might mean seeking out new beginnings.

So lesson 2: follow the lead of graduating seniors and keep their sense of adventure and anticipation in your heart. It can really be the birth of some beautiful things.

* If an in-person retreat sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, be sure you’re signed up for the newsletter by scrolling to the bottom of this page and entering the information under the words “JOIN ME.” More information will be shared there very soon, and you don’t want to miss it.

Soundtrack: The best crew, by Tep No