Wow, where did October go? Heck, where did the rest of 2013 go?! We are in fall full-force here in Portland–cold mornings, lots of rain, gorgeous bright leaves (Olivia loves to point them out when we’re in the car. “I see leaves! Red, brown, ye-woah, orn-age, green!” Cutest ever.) After a long stretch of amazing weather, it’s time for me to go shopping for rain boots.
So the other day I was moping about feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything in October. Then I looked at my october post and… I accomplished EVERYTHING! Wow! I worked through my power sheets, I revamped my site (I’ll give you a tour this month!) and I launched my menu planner note pads! Hooray!
So this month–I’m doing more! This is my first real month putting my Lara Casey Power Sheets into action! It took me all month to really figure out my goals and why I’m making these goals and breaking them down into action steps. Not that I can even say I’m “done” with that. Goals are evolving. I was so excited to sit down on November first and fill out my first “tending list!” Talk about hard work! Thinking about my goals, figuring out how I was going to work on them daily, weekly, and monthly, it required some serious self-reflection. I’m really happy with my plan so far, though! And I left a few blank spaces to add action items as I think of them this month.
What’s in store for me this November, you ask? Lots! Both professionally and personally.
I’m going to go ahead and put it all out there. Here are my goals for the next 6 months along with what I’m specifically taking action on in November:
1. Nurture my marriage – It is important to me to show our kids a strong example of what love looks like. And it’s just important to me to show great love! I’m committing to date nights and love notes in November!
2. Be a present and playful mother – This is something that’s really been on my heart for months. It probably deserves it’s own post. In short, I just need constant reminders that the whole reason I quit my job as a teacher and started my stationery business was to be home with Olivia and enjoy her childhood. So being present and playful instead of consumed by busy-ness and work is a huge goal for me. My action steps for November include weekly play dates and fun projects. We’ve also started having spontaneous dance parties, which was an unexpected little joy initiated by my little rockstar. My big big super challenging goal for myself is to look at my phone less. A lot less. Less facebook, less instagram, less checking emails. Just less phone, more family. Simple. (Simple, but HARD!)
3. Build a bright, bold, and beautiful brand that reflects my authentic self – my number one take-away from Stationery Academy was that I need to stay true to myself and my personal design aesthetic. One thing I loved about my middle-school self was that I wasn’t trendy. I actually couldn’t afford to be trendy, so I didn’t have much of a choice. But that forced me to find my own sense of style. I wore the craziest outfits and people totally made fun of me for them. It hurt at the time, but looking back I’m so glad I stayed true to myself. I was just ahead of my time. I was cutting edge and creative. I’d choose that over being a bully in Gap jeans any day. Fast forward a couple years (decades) and I’m realizing my brand could use a big dose of Emm. (Yeah. I went by that for a few years. People from my middle school still don’t realize that there’s not really an extra m in my name. But in a class of 7 Emilys I had to set myself apart!) When I look at my invites that don’t sell well it’s because none of them are me. They’re trendy or they’re standard or they’re comfortable. The invites that get noticed are the ones that are different, clever, unique. The ones I designed when I was just playing around with fun ideas and being me. So this month I’m making a serious effort to weed out the boring and inject some serious fun into my shop. Stay tuned for some brand new designs and some “redesigned” looks!
4. Get physically strong and nourish my body with healthy food – There was a time in my life when I was fit. And now I’m not. So… time to do something about that! I like feeling strong and healthy. I have more energy when I exercise and eat good food. I am great at jumping in to serious changes. I am terrible at sticking with them. So I’m trying a different approach–one small change at a time. This month: I’m aiming for yoga 5 days a week and I’m using my menu planner to plan healthy meals and keep the fridge stocked with produce.
5. Explore photography as a hobby – I don’t have a hobby! And I want one. I’m choosing photography because it’s something that’s always been really interesting to me and something I would never want to do professionally! (I admire and respect photographers and am so envious of their talent!) Since I have some other huge business needs that are taking priority in my budget right now, I’m putting off my goal of buying a new camera until December or January. So for November I’m going to play with and practice using my current (point and shoot) camera and my iphone. I’m also going to start researching cameras so I can pick one when I have the money!
6. Be a good friend – I love my friends! Friendships are something I need in my life to feel fulfilled. So this month I’m going to start writing letters (snail mail letters with postage stamps! Good thing I know where to get stationery.) I’m also reinstating a Christmas celebration I used to do with my high school friends! Should be super fun.
7. Organize my home and life – This is always on my list. I am not an organized person by nature, even though I love planners and organizers and clear boxes with colored lids and label makers and and and… I think I just love that stuff because I want to be organized. I dream of an organized life. I actually live a clothes on the floor, papers all over my desk, where’s Olivia’s left shoe? kind of life. Home organization is a source of major overwhelm for me, so I’m really trying to just take this step by step. I’m only focusing on the kitchen this month–and if I manage to get the kitchen organized before the end of the month I’ll start on the bedroom. Even if all I manage to get a handle on is the daily dishes, though, I’ll be giving myself 17 gold stars.
8. Streamline my business – along with not being organized… this doesn’t stop at my laundry habits. I desperately need to organize my business. Physically, I need to organize my office so things are easier to find and I can work freely without being buried by a pile of paper scraps. I also need to start writing down and streamlining my processes. Someday I would like to grow this business beyond my in-home studio. And if I’m ever going to bring anyone else into this business, it’s going to need to be easy to explain how things work. My first step is just writing down my current processes as they currently are. I’m thinking I’ll make a binder–a “Fresh Paper Manual” of sorts. Should be interesting! I’ll keep you updated.
9. Inspire other women–especially other moms–to pursue their dreams and make them happen – this is something that’s important to me at my very core. 5 years ago I could have never imagined that I’d be doing anything other than teaching. It was a job I loved and was good at and made me feel fulfilled. Then I wanted a baby. And my priorities changed. It was scary to leave my job–my secure job with a steady paycheck and health insurance and sick days and summer vacation and a retirement plan–but I haven’t regretted it for a second! I meet a lot of moms with great ideas and they’re scared to put themselves out there. I really feel called to share my story and what has worked and what hasn’t and help other moms figure out what they want to do and then make it happen! So for this month, my goal is to blog about it. At least one post this month will be geared toward other mom-preneurs. I’d like to make that a weekly thing eventually and then branch out from there!
10. Nurture myself and my soul – This is always something I put very last. And what happens? I run myself ragged and I get overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m becoming more and more aware that the thinner I spread myself and the more frazzled I become, the less effective I am as a human being. I can’t do my best as a mom, a wife, or a designer if I’m stressed out and panicked and tired all the time. So I’m scheduling massages, picking out a book to read for fun, and giving myself 15 minutes of “me time” everyday! Everyone says it, but it’s hard to really put it into practice. Well I’m trying to do it for reals. Nurture myself so I can nurture others.
I’m excited about November. Fall always means change–sometimes I think it’s even better to work on goals in November than January! (Although I’ll be the first to admit that I’m addicted to New Year’s resolutions!) We’re already a week in–can’t wait to start checking things off my list!
What about you? What are your goals this month? I can’t wait to hear what’s in store for you!