Two years ago, I nervously packed my bags and traveled alone to North Carolina for an intensive called Making Things Happen. I remembering being unsure of what the trip would bring + quite frankly – lost in my own business, lost in my own life. I had left the safety of my well-paying corporate job, started my own photography business without any experience and now what? I was floating, just stumbling along, unsure of what my purpose was.
Let me stress that now, looking back, that I cannot properly put into words the immense effect this weekend had on my life. It was life. changing.
So after three days of soul searching, goal setting, late night talks with strangers who felt like family, heartache and tears and prayers and empowerment and the most incredible group of women I have ever been surrounded by – I left feeling Brand New. Refreshed. Ready to run. I left re-affirming my place in this world, my purpose of helping others and creating change. I felt it in my bones, in my very being. This was my calling – but I had no idea what it looked like or how it would unfold.
So I took this momentum, these incredible experiences, and I flew home to Minnesota – convinced I was going home this brand new person.
And then nothing happened. There were no lighting bolts. No big ‘ah ha’ moments. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
A few weeks passed, then months. I would have an idea that I would dive into for hours, frantically trying to create something BIG. And then I wouldn’t like it, It wouldn’t feel “right” and it would get scrapped – a ball of paper thrown away. Looking back, some of them are funny and weird and plain ol’ insane. But, unknown to me, each failed idea was pushing me to keep going, to keep dreaming and thinking and creating.
As this past Fall rolled around, I felt a great weight. A darkness. It crept into my every day life, then my work and my business. I felt lost again. I felt so unmotivated to create art or really, do anything. More than ever I questioned what I was doing – why I had left a good job? A comfortable salary? My degree? What was my purpose? Social media only left me more disheartened as I allowed others’ lives to make me feel less than and unworthy. I was ready to give up my dream, walk away. Close shop.
And then, in the middle of a season of doubt and worry – It kind of just fell into my lap. In the process of working hard to be transparent in my own business and social media presence, sharing the ugly and the hard, I started to realize that so many others felt the same way I did: unworthy. So here we all were, floating aimlessly around each other, each feeling completely alone. We were literally Together feeling Alone (WHAT?!) The irony smacked me right in the face. How was this happening?
How were so many incredible, talented individuals feeling so inadequate? Whether a business owner or mom of friend or wife or student or husband or complete stranger – my social media filled with people reaching out to me to say YES. I’M IN THE SAME BOAT. And as much as a relief it was to know I was, in fact, never alone to begin with – it brought a much bigger question to mind: How could I create change? How could I do GOOD in my own community?
Lucky for Duluth, the groundwork of an amazing support system has already been laid. Our small business community is booming, and in the process is creating a network of encouragement for each other. Groups like Duluth Loves Local + our Duluth Rising Tide Society chapter (run by Bailey Aro) provide spaces and resources for collaboration + endless empowerment.
So using the building blocks of community over competition as a base, I am thrilled to announce the launch of a very special adventure: The Making Waves Project.
A project that was formed from a deep love of snail mail and the want to pass encouragement, love, support, high fives and endless positive vibes to all. The goal is to cultivate a community of empowered + confident individuals who value their own worth and are continuously raising each other up.
So what is The Making Waves Project? Simply put – cards with a purpose.
I designed each unique card, using an image of Lake Superior to start with. The cards have different messages on each one – some have quotes, some have phrases or words – but each has been designed to inspire and cheer on someone in your life. It could be a quick Hello, a simple note of thanks, a “Hang in There” message or the pat on the back they might just need. Simple words on a card could Be The Change. They could make all the difference.
With each purchase, 10% of that sale goes directly back into our community – a different local non-profit being the recipient of that donation each month.
And as this project gets started (and has it’s growing pains and inevitable kinks) I ask for patience + grace as I welcome feedback, always looking at ways to improve reach and growth – as well as seeking out local organizations you feel would be a good fit for a monthly donation. If you have one in mind, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org / As I move forward with the Making Waves Project, I will also introduce new cards – always keeping the images local, grounded in this hillside city we call home.
I am so thankful for my friends and peers and even complete strangers that offered love + support + encouragement on days they didn’t know I needed it the most – they saved me from crumbling and giving up. They saved my dream. From those small acts of kindness, those moments taken from their busy lives to raise me up – comes the Making Waves Project. Proof that small ripple actions, they can create BIG WAVES. // Ready to order? Click HERE!