Today we are happy (and yes, a little sad too) to bring you the final episode from our What's Next journey. In this episode you'll see some of our final stops including DC, Indy & Nashville, as well as bus delirium, life in between, a day off in Nashville, and stopping everything in the middle to go shoot our first wedding of the year. It's been a crazy ride. The chance of a lifetime. And I am SO thankful to the incredible Jeremy Mitchell for giving us these memories to hold on to forever. Enjoy!
Something really big happens when you are brave enough to say out loud & maybe for the very first time: this is what I want for my life.
Iím not sure of the exact mechanics of it. Maybe it has something to do with physics or the earthís rotational force. Maybe it has to do with solar interference or the underlying movement of tectonic plates. I suppose it could even have something to do with these strange weather patterns weíve been having and a butterfly flapping its wings in Indonesia. Ashton Kutcher movies taught me that.
But the point is, something shifts when you are willing to acknowledge a dream. Your dream. It changes things. And if Iím being really honest, I should go ahead and tell you that I donít really believe that shift has anything to do with tectonic plates. I believe that shift is in you.
Because when you are brave enough to speak a dream out loud to even just one other person, suddenly itís out there. In the world. And thereís no turning back. Because now whether you go for that dream or donít go for it, the one thing you can never do again is pretend like it never existed. That this thing wasnít something you had once hoped for your life. No longer will you be able to say things like ďMe? Oh no, me Iím fine. Thereís nothing else I want.Ē Because once itís out there, when you make the choice not to do anything about it.... now youíre making the choice to turn your back on your dream.
And that changes everything.
**HUGE thanks to Liz & Ryan for putting this together from the What's Next Tour: Ten People, Ten Dreams spoken out loud. Can't wait to see what each and every one of you do with it! To read more about the project, head on over to Liz & Ryan's blog HERE
I know it can be really hard to wrap your head around the idea that just saying something out loud can make any kind of difference. But do me this favor: be willing to take a chance. Be wiling to put it out there. I dare you to prove me wrong. Tell me: What is that you want for your life? Be brave. Put it in the comments. And then we can all hold each other accountable.
Over the past three weeks, I stood on stage in 10 different cities all across the US and spoke the same words:
We wait on a permission that never comes. We put these dreams of ours on hold because we tell ourselves "who am *I* to want this." Who am I to ask for more? And yet, I can promise you this. No one is ever going to come knock on your door, pick up the phone and call you, or send you an email saying now, NOW, you get to go chase your dreams. You have to find a way to be that permission for yourself.
I spoke these words. Wrote these words. Know them well.
Ohhhh what is it with "and yet."
And yet, at night when we would sit on the bus saying out loud what all of our own What's Nexts are, I would become my own card-carrying member of what I have been calling the "But I...Generation". But I... have always run a photography blog. But I...might have to get a separate site and a separate brand. But I....don't know if I have time to write that much. But I....don't know if anyone would even read it. I would lay on the floor of the bus with my head propped up on Cooper's belly, dreaming big dreams and waiting for someone else to tell me that it was time. And then I would stare up into the faces of some of my best friends on the planet, people who all love me enough to remind me to take my own advice: Mary, you have to be that permission for yourself.
So here it is.
My What's Next is to take what I started on the tour and continue it here on this blog. To write like I talk. To do the work that matters daily, not just for three weeks out on a bus. To write about fear and excuses and getting things done. To write about what's holding us back. To write about leaving something behind. And just how short this one wild & precious life really is.
My whole life I have wanted to be a writer who writes words that matter. And guess what....the rest of my whole life? It's made up of todays.
So today I want to challenge you. If one too many times lately you've been finding yourself sitting by the proverbial phone waiting for permission to ring, today I want to challenge you to make the call yourself. Be willing to get up off the floor, stop looking to everyone around you for the answers, and go knock on (or knock down) the doors that really need to be opened. And send the messages that most need to be heard.
Today, I want you to be willing to give yourself permission. Because at the end of the day, you're the only one who can.
Go get it,
A question & a contest!! What would you most love to do if the But I's weren't getting in the way? Tell us your answer in the comments below & one lucky big dreamer is going to win $25 to Starbucks... I know that's the stuff my dreams are made of! :P
We walked down Broadway through the bright lights of Nashville, and every door we passed by held the threshold to somebody elseís dream. In this doorway it was Hank Williams, in this one The Dance....but with every chord that was struck, every chain in the melody, I felt the beat drum out in my own head what it is to be hungry.
We made our way into the Whiskey Bent Saloon and sat down at a table. It was the kind of place where there was dirt on the floor and signed head shots of people who had made it out of there on the wall. See ya later Whiskey Bent. Iím not ever coming back. It was only early evening, and yet everywhere around us the shots had already started to pour. It was the kind of place that was smokey without anybody smoking, salty without anyone shedding a tear.
And although the lights were not quite bright enough and the crowd was not yet rowdy enough to really be into it, a young, blonde singer from Kentucky sat on stage with her guitar and stared out into this version of her spotlight. When she opened her mouth, a voice poured out that would have put Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood and that girl from Lady Antebellum all combined to head hanging shame. We were floored. She belonged in arenas. She should have been playing for the big crowds. And yet here she was on a dirty, salty stage where the lights werenít quite bright enough, playing for tips in a peanut jar.
We stayed for a few more songs, and I bought a cd from her on the way out. She gave me my change, and I thanked her, put a hand on her arm, and said Never, never, never give up. You were born to do this. And then life, as it has a way of doing, moved on. And paths as they are so often known for, uncrossed. But as we made our way down Broadway, with my hands shoved deep into my pockets to keep them safe from the cold world outside, I thought about what it is to really be hungry. And what it is to pay your dues for a dream.
We expect singers and actresses and athletes to be hungry for their dream. We expect them to be waitresses and busboys, and play on dimly lit stages while a fist fight breaks out in the back, dreaming of the day when a record producer comes in and changes everything. We expect them to be willing to move towns. And knock on doors. And be told ďno.Ē We expect them to struggle, to sacrifice, to time and time again not get picked. We expect all this because we believe that hunger will show us just how bad they really want it. And through that struggle, they will come out stronger on the other side.
But let me ask you this.
When is the last time you were really hungry for your dream? When is the last time you were willing to knock on the doors, to pound the pavement, to step out into the dimly lit spotlight? If push came to shove, would you be willing to leave that safe place that you know and head out hands clenched into the cold world outside? Would you be willing to play your heart out in front of a crowd that might not be into it yet? Would you be willing to stay on the small stage for now, even though you know in your heart you belong in the arenas? We talk a lot about having these dreams, you & I. But here's the thing...to dream is a verb. It requires action. Effort. Work.
So today I want you to get hungry. Get mad. Get better.
These dreams are ours for the taking.
This is it. Fight like hell.
(*photo credit: Jeremy Mitchell)
**to learn more about this incredible singer, Kinsey Rose, that I'm talking about above definitely head over & check out her site HERE. You can also find her on iTunes!
Last night as we pulled out from an absolutely incredible stop in Nashville to make the overnight drive to our last stop today in Kansas City, bus delirium once again started to take over. We found ourselves laughing hysterically, having deep meaningful conversations, and watching things like THIS on You Tube to pass the time. We hope it brings a little belly laugh of delirium to your Friday too!