Live with intention | Leavenworth Wedding Photography

It’s been one week since the What If Conference in Portland began. One week since I began a journey, a voyage of sorts, with almost 60 others who didn’t know what to expect out of the conference, the speakers, the other attendees, and probably mostly we didn’t know what to expect of ourselves. I certainly had no clue what would happen, but I know I would NOT have ever been able to predict what ended up transpiring.

I’m still having a difficult time articulating what came to pass at the conference, but it was something extraordinary…no, it wasn’t just, “extra-ordinary”, as one of the speakers, Mary Marantz, would say, it was “un-ordinary”.

It’s wasn’t any one thing that happened, or any one thing that was said, or any one person that I met. It was the sum total  that created an atmosphere to just stop and think about things just a little differently. Actually, not just a little differently–completely and wholly different.

If there was an overarching idea or theme of the conference it was this: Be a doer, not just a dreamer/planner/thinker. And, if I’m going to be honest, this scares me to death. I, for sure, am a person who finds safety in just talking about doing something, and then not exactly following through on it, and then well, just not doing it at all.

One of our speakers, Liz, of Sseko Designs quoted J.K. Rowling who said,

“The only way NOT to fail is to lead a life so cautious that you don’t live at all. And in that, you have failed.”

Liz is the epitome of a doer. She has an idea and she runs with it. As she spoke to us, she talked a lot about why people don’t just “do”, but often choose to play it safe. She talked about “lizard brain,” –the idea that there’s a part of our brain that takes over when we face a decision. That part of the brain is responsible for fear and if we let it rule our lives, we might never make the decision to act on any big idea. We have to fight it at every turn, even knowing that we might fail. We must learn to fail and fail often, she prompted. She is living this motto as she works to build a business and a bold idea of what her company can do to give back and to change the fashion industry.

What If Conference

"Just start"

Liz is a doer, but “how does one become a doer?”, I kept asking myself. The entire conference I, and others, were questioning how you go from playing it safe all the time, to taking action at every turn in your life. Every speaker had a take on how they do it and I have made a list of each of things I plan to take from the way each of them tackles this.

If that idea could be summed up for me in one idea, it’s this:  “Live with intention”. Liz was speaking about her work and about failure and she made a comment that I began to write down. She was talking about how to take action, even if you know you could fail and she said, “Live within tension,”–meaning, we all must make decisions day in and day out, and some of those decisions are big and scary, and in that, we can live paralyzed by that fear, OR we can let go and learn to live with that tension. What I heard though as she was talking was, “Live with intention”. Learning how to be a doer is a major part of what we discussed, but then we have to know our “why” …we have to know what our intentions are in the doing. I have come up with my “why” and soon I will be revealing that, but for now, know that I do everything with that intention as my driving force.

So, you might be asking, what are you going to DO, now that the conference is over? First, I’ve made decisions about my daily routine and I’m going to start there. Because we can’t run, until we learn to walk. Meaning, it takes training to learn how to be a doer, so I am going to do several things each day that will “train” me into taking action, even if it’s just little things. I need to learn to live with that tension…that it won’t happen over night and that failure is just around the corner, but well, I’m going to do it anyway.

“A ship is safest in harbor,” one of our attendees, The Joel, reminded us on our last moments of the conference, “but that is not what a ship is built for.” I am taking action today to start my voyage. And tomorrow I’ll do it again….and the next day and the next and pretty soon I’ll have sailed around the world and back!

Bon voyage, everyone! Until next time!

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