January 17, 2012

Of Open Books & Opening Doors

We sent this post out yesterday in our January newsletter, and mostly we plan on keeping the content of the newsletter just for well….the newsletter! :) But afterwards we got quite a few notes and emails from people saying that this post had really helped. And that it was something they really needed to read right now. So we thought just this once, we’d post it here too. In case it could help anyone else.


We sat in the Starbucks parking lot and I whispered I don’t want to go in.

He looked at me with about the exact amount of shock and bewilderment you might expect from him hearing me say that statement. In that particular parking lot. He blinked emphatically. Twice. And then switched off the key. We were there to do our goal writing for the year; to write out a list of every tightrope we were going to walk and every world we were going to set on fire. But as he reached for the door, I sank lower in my seat in an attempt to meld myself directly into the leather. While keeping my eyes fixed on the notebook in my lap below.

It was flipped open to the very first page with the words “2011 Goals” written at the top. I had scanned the list as we were driving over, and I was realizing very quickly just how few of them we had actually met. Install the new kitchen, get new business cards printed, put on a workshop in the UK, get featured in this or that magazine. And I guess I just didn’t see any point in writing a brand new list, when we hadn’t even been able to accomplish the one we already had.

He looked at me squarely and said, Don’t do that. Don’t start a new year thinking you don’t get to dream bigger dreams just because everything you set out to do last year didn’t happen. We’ll get there, we always do. But before that can happen, you’re going to have to open that door.

As we start this new year, I hope you’ll leave behind every trace of regret. Every should’ve. Every could’ve. Every would’ve. Every time you got lost, every time you got turned around, every time you found yourself chasing someone else’s dream. Let this be the year that you allow yourself to dream the most impossible things. And trust that the ones that are meant to stick, will. A new year is not just about getting a do-over on the things that are still left to be done; it’s about going out and doing the things you never even thought possible in the first place.

But before that can happen, you’re going to have to open that door.

  1. Alicia White

    I love this post :-) Its all about dreaming, doing, and no regrets! cheers to positive growth and new lessons in 2012

  2. Kristi Chappell

    I just posted about about my 2011 dreams and goals yesterday! I know what you mean….let’s get to work!

  3. Nancy Mitchell

    That is so TRUE Miss Mary! Thanks for sharing this with the internet world. I read it yesterday in the newsletter and thought the same as those that emailed you! So here is to opening NEW DOORS in 2012! Go get ’em!

  4. Gabby / En Route Photography

    Oh I know I know!!! Here is to dream big and making it happen… eventually! ;)

  5. Joe Don Richardson

    I am so glad you’ll put this one the web. It is so true.

    I know that I often don’t want to get up and set goals because I am not where I set out to be. But if we don’t set out to be somewhere we could end up anywhere.

  6. Christy

    This is the truth! And I love it. So many things happen you didn’t even have on your list in the first place that take you by surprise (in a good way)! Here’s to another year of chasing dreams!! :) (Also – I want your headband. Super cute.)

  7. Stephanie Stewart

    I agree! Your newsletter came at such a perfect time for me. I’ve been giving myself a hard time when looking back at my 2011 goals, not everything had been checked off the list. Your words reaffirmed that it’s more important to look toward the future, rather than dwell on the past. Here’s to leaving behind all of my should’ve, could’ve, would’ve’s! Thank you!

  8. Beth

    Somehow I knew you would have just what I needed to read on your blog today! I have been in tears all morning with such an utter feeling of defeat. We have 6 kids, homeschool, and do our photography full time and with so many balls in the air, I am always dropping some. Thank you for encouraging me to look forward and not back! Just the kick in the pants I needed at this moment!

  9. rachaelmarie

    i am in a very similar place this year… very few of my 2011 goals came true and at first i was upset about it all. but then i realized that there was a ton that wasn’t on my list that needed to be one first. most of it internal…some of it in regards to my business. but i am finally in a place where i feel ready to dream big again + so excited about possibilities. here’s to 2012 + dreaming even bigger!

  10. Tiffany Bolk

    thank you! And you are so adorable in this photo!

  11. Abbey

    Oh Mary!!! It always seems that when those two cousins (fear and doubt) start creeping in you come up with one of these posts!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!

  12. sharon elizabeth

    When I saw your picture – I stopped reading and had to comment on how CUTE that headband is!!!! Back to read the post! =)

  13. Jennifer Medeiros

    Thank you thank you thank you!!

  14. Lauren

    Loved this in the newsletter and love this now. I think I accomplished about 10% of my goals last year (one of which was going to WTAW!) and it’s easy to only focus on what you didn’t do. Oh…and love the notebook. It’s so 6th grade…just my style.

  15. ashley barnett

    Loved it in the newsletter, loved it on the blog :) Cute notebook! So many Coopers!

  16. Katie S

    you guys ROCK, i could read this over and over again, nice notebook. :)

  17. Josh

    Very cute :)

  18. Abby Grace

    a) I love your headband. 2) I think I had a notebook like that in elementary school! III) If you have a workshop in the UK I’m TOTALLY going.

  19. Katelyn James

    LOVE this! :)

  20. Nicole Benitez

    Love you guys!!!!! You inspire us to dream bigger even when we don’t do all that WE had planned! God always has a much grander one.

  21. Shefali Lindsey

    Thank you for inspiring me to dream even bigger than I am capable of! LOVE this entire post!

  22. Ashley

    i have that headband! yay, mary! we really are kindred spirits! :) i always knew it.

  23. Danielle Acken

    Thank you! I needed that!

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