September 13, 2013

Open Your Hand

You know the thing about holding on too tight? Gripping a dream with both hands, nails digging in to the palm of your hand, arms shaking, choking the life out of what made that dream beautiful in the first place, and trying through your own sheer force of will to bring it into creation?

It’s exhausting.

And…it doesn’t work.

So often, we get caught up in this idea that So&So (a subsidiary of If I Could Only Be Like Them, Inc) did it this way. Step by step, this was their path to success….and if I’ll just place my feet carefully in their footsteps never once overstepping the outer edges of their size 8 marks on the word, then I too can get to wherever it is that they’ve gotten. Because it’s good to get to gotten.

And the faster, the better.

But here’s the thing about following someone else’s footsteps: it means you’re never once blazing your own trail. And here’s the thing about holding on so tightly to someone else’s version of success: you have no idea just how much you might shortchanging what it is you’re actually capable of. And day after day you go on, trading in your “go out and leave this world a better place” for their “hey, it looks pretty on the internet.”

Lately, I’ve been in a season of my life where I just keep getting the same message over and over and (since I tend to not get the message the first few times) OVER again. It’s an image in my head that’s as clear as any picture I’ve ever seen. It’s of a balled up fist, nails digging in. Broken. World-wearied. Exhausted from holding on far too tight for far too long. And the relief that comes when you Just. Let. Go.

Open your hand.

I saw it written somewhere that it’s a lot easier to give a gift to an open hand than a closed up fist. And so for the past few months, every time I’ve caught myself anxiously striving, trying to force it, trying to make things happen exactly the way that *I* think they should happen and in the order I see fit….I take a second to take a deep breath and look down at my open hand. And in that moment over and over again, I make the choice to- figuratively, physically and actually- just let go.

I open up my hand, I open up my heart.

And I make the choice to just go forward, out into my day, out into the world, with no clue what might happen next. But excited to see what it’s going to be. Because I’m betting that it’s way better than anything I could have planned myself.

And in just these past few months of doing that- of opening up my hand- we have seen more growth in our business, in our goals, in making giant leaps forward toward our dreams, in opportunities coming our way, in doors opening up, in finding our own path, and just in general in cool things happening that I could have never brought into creation through my own force of will. Because I know there is a far better plan at play.

And the truth is, all of the best things that have happened in my life are the things I couldn’t possibly have predicted or made happen on my own.

Now let me be clear, I’m not saying that we don’t have to work for it. I still believe that it’s the work that makes it worth it. But what I am saying is that we have to do our part, put in the honest work, do the right things, act with integrity, put it out there and then let it go. And trust that we’ve done all we can do and the right things will find us.

So today if you find yourself holding on too tightly, striving for someone else’s dreams, and hanging on by a thread.

Take a deep breath and open your hand.

You have no idea what might be waiting to fall into it.

Rock it out friends!

  1. Amber Lowe

    So needed this. I’m working towards growing my business and building relationships with clients. I also work full time. You’re right, it’s exhausting. But it’s so worth it when I look back and see the trail behind me and I’m at peace with that fact that I did it. It may have not looked like others journey. But I did it.

  2. Joni

    REALLY really REALLY good. You have no idea how much I needed to hear this today! SO excited to see you next month in Georgia!!!

  3. Tiffany Farley

    Yes yes and yes. YES.

    The end.

  4. Emily Lockard-Furry

    I needed this today, and everyday…thanks, M!

  5. Emily

    Oh my gosh. This is exactly what I needed. In only seventeen but I feel like a failure because I have no clear vision of where I’m going and what I’m doing. I wanted to be a wedding photographer SO badly, but I was squeezing the life out of that dream and it’s barely hanging on. So thank you. You are the best!! :)

  6. Emily

    Oh my gosh. This is exactly what I needed. In only seventeen but I feel like a failure because I have no clear vision of where I’m going and what I’m doing. I wanted to be a wedding photographer SO badly, but I was squeezing the life out of that dream and it’s barely hanging on. So thank you. You are the best!! :)

  7. Caili

    I love you guys, and the way you spread positivity and kindness in each blogpost. If only there was some way to thank you! xoxo

  8. Christy Tyler

    Oh don’t I know this all too well! I wrote a post with a similar sentiment back in May and find myself keep going back to re-read it. And now here this post comes, like another sign- banging me over the head with the motto I’ve been repeating all year… "Let go and Let God" xoxo

  9. Laura

    Love it, Mary. As always.

  10. Alli McWhinney

    Oh man, this so hit home with me. Thanks for sharing, perfect timing! :-)

  11. Rici

    Dearest Mary! I so very highly appreciate your personal posts. You inspiring me. Brining me down from running like crazy. To Take a deep breath. Right now I’m travelling in Italia again, but I specifically wanted to Check on your Blog today. To catch up, get grounded. I loooove your writing! I Redeverbot when I wanzend to give up two Times this year… Things started happening. Suddenldy, projects found me. Even if my eyes were closed, May hands were open. Thank you from the bottom of May heart for inspiring me back then & today!!!
    ~ Extra Special hugs from Bellagio, Lago di Como!!!!!

  12. Dan Ward Photography

    Simply beautiful! :)

  13. Stephanie Stewart

    Amen to this. I totally get it. I totally agree. Amen! Thank you!

  14. Alison

    It has been far too long since I visited your blog, but this post was exactly what I needed right now, in my life much more than my business. I am trying to learn to open my head, open my heart and move forward, waiting for what is next for me. The bumps in that road make it difficult some days, but I know I have to open my hand, turn it over, live as true to my heart as I can and just keep going. Much love to you guys!

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