This past week I spoke at a local college in the DFW Metroplex. My task? To inspire and educate the local leaders of tomorrow.
Did anyone tell them how I much I talked in class? And not to the teacher.
Extra conversation aside notwithstanding, I put together an attempt at inspirational motivation by sharing seven things that I wish I would have learned before I started a business.
Thought-provoking things like not forgetting the forest for the trees and never apologizing for where you are on the journey and remembering to buckle your seatbelt and to avoid comparison because it is the thief of joy and to seek satisfaction instead of success.
And my personal favorite? No matter how much you accomplish, no matter how many mountains you climb, no matter how many goals you achieve…
…never take yourself too seriously.
Don’t get the big head as my children would say.
And so it is on this rainy Friday morning with my coffee and a hair don’t and a few giggles, I share this story with you once again along with some Thanksgiving table centerpiece inspiration.
A story about a girl who thought she was all that.
A little life happened.
Several years ago, I spoke at a women’s conference in North Carolina called Becoming and brought the twins along to help.
It was held in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited called Lake Junaluska, North Carolina. I taught a DIY class on how to make signs out of old wood and how to make a burlap banner and then spoke at two different sessions about 25 unique and creative projects to make for your home.
The class went well and the first session was fine and then it was time to teach the very last class of the conference.
I was worried.
It was the last session on the last day. You know. The one that no one ever goes to because they are packing up their things and leaving and telling their friends they’ll see them next year. On the elevator ride up I told the twins not to expect much and explained sessions at conferences and that we probably wouldn’t have that many people and they could probably start packing up during the class.
And then we opened the door.
It was standing room only.
What? Standing room only?
I couldn’t believe it. I had to blink twice just to make sure. I danced around the room and told the audience they were amazing and I was so happy and that I couldn’t wait to talk about 25 creative projects for their home.
And somewhere along the line all that standing room and all that applause went to my head.
Katie bar the door.
I told story after story and twirled around and chased rabbits and held up projects and danced with some of them and laughed with the audience….
….and talked and talked and talked and the words flowed out of me like they never had before.
Everything I said was hilarious.
Every word I spoke was a pearl of wisdom.
Every project I shared got ooohs and ahhhs like it belonged in the Smithsonian.
It was one of the most amazing moments of my life.
The class sped by in a blur and suddenly the session was finished and I was shaking hands at the door.
The conference was over.
I floated out of the classroom on cloud nine and told the twins I was going to get the car and pull around to the back so we could load everything up to start driving back to Kentucky.
Now the building where the conference was held was at the top of a very high hill and my car was parked at the bottom. If you wanted to reach the parking lot below—there were two ways down.
You had your choice of:
1. a paved driveway or
2. a steep grassy hill.
Normally I took the driveway, but today?
Today I was floating.
Today I was incredible.
Today I was amazing.
So I went all Robert Frost and chose the path not taken.
Confidently, I took a deep breath of clean Lake Junaluska air and started walking down the steep hill.
Acres of green grass stretched out before me.
The sky above was blue and full of fluffy white clouds.
The day was so full of promise. Smiling, I waved to the conference attendees standing on the porch for the closing reception as I continued my trek down the wet, grassy side of the hill.
Emboldened, I went faster until I was almost skipping, my confidence singing with each step.
Until my feet slid out from underneath me on the wet grass and without warning I landed on my rear and slid the rest of the way down the hill leaving a trail of mud behind me.
Finally, I came to a stop next to the parking lot. I sat still for just a moment—attempting in vain to look like it was purposeful.
Like I meant to do it.
Like maybe I thought sliding was faster.
Slowly I stood up and looked around. Maybe no one noticed. Maybe they would think I thought it was a faster way to the car. Maybe I could quietly climb into the driver’s door without anyone seeing the giant mud spot on the back of my dress.
I heard the applause from the balcony.
The entire conference was gathered there for a final meet and greet with a front-row seat to my not-so-graceful mudslide down the hill.
One day my children’s children’s children will tell stories about me and they’ll talk about that long-ago day when two paths diverged and I took the one less traveled.
And it made a whole lot of muddy difference. 🙂