Lara Casey might be best known as the creator of the PowerSheets, a goal setting planner that has helped so many women get intentional in their lives. She is also the founder of Southern Weddings and CEO of Cultivate What Matters. This week was the summer product launch for Cultivate What Matters so it seemed a good time to look at Lara’s books.
Make It Happen
Lara is the author of Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take The Leap, Live On Purpose and Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life.
Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose is Lara’s first book. It’s Lara’s story of how she “surrendered [her] fear, took the leap and got a life.” The “it” in Make It Happen is defined as “a greater purpose than mine.”
Each chapter has multiple questions and prompts designed to help you think about your life and where you need to make changes. At the end of each chapter are “Take Action” sections with ideas that you can put into practice right away.
The book has four parts:
Part One is called Surrender Your Fear—give up the idea of perfection and get comfortable with mistakes.
Part Two is called Take The Leap—take action and trust that there is a plan for you.
Part Three is Live On Purpose—create a life that has room for what matters.
Part Four—an action guide to putting “Make It Happen” into place. There’s a five-step you will process follow.
- Evaluate your life.
- Clear the clutter.
- Set purposeful goals.
- Take action.
- Encourage others.
Lara walks you through each of the five steps, giving you instructions and encouragement for making the changes.
There are many stories from Lara’s life in Make It Happen. She opens up and shares her mistakes and missteps and says, “Here’s how I made it through. Here’s what I learned. I hope it can help you.” The story of her marriage with Ari, in particular, is full of hope and grace and is a beautiful testament to the possibilities of change.
Cultivate is Lara’s second book. The idea behind Cultivate is to tend to specific areas of your life that you may have been neglecting. Like you cultivate a garden, you need to cultivate your life. (The book is heavy on the gardening analogies.) And you need to start now. Not when the timing is better, not when you are more in control, but right now. In the middle of your weaknesses, your fears, your messy, imperfect life.
Throughout the book, there are sections called “Cultivate It.” Each section has reflection questions or exercises to help you get more out of the book. While answering the questions will help you, I love that Lara says you can skip the “questions and prompts…pick a few that stand out to you, or do them all as you go through these pages. They are suggestions, like seeds…to try planting.” It helps my perfectionist tendencies when the author gives me permission to leave blank spaces.
There are ten chapters in Cultivate. Each chapter is based on a lie we tell ourselves, such as, “I have to do it all” or “I will be content when I have it all.” Lara answers each lie with a truth. For example, Chapter One is based on the lie, “I have to do it all.” That lie is countered with the truth, “I can’t do it all and do it well.” Then she proceeds to tell stories, share encouragement, and use the Cultivate It sections to get you to think about the areas of your life you want to nuture and how to say no to everything else.
At the end of the book is a ten-week discussion guide with questions if you are interested in doing the book as part of a small group study.
The message behind both books is very similar. Focus on what matters most. Get comfortable with imperfection. Trust in God. If you are only going to read one, my personal preference is for Make It Happen.
Whichever book you read, keep in mind that both books have a Christian worldview. There is a strong focus on God and scripture—which is not a bad thing if you are a Christian. But I don’t think it would be possible to read either book through a secular lens. (The PowerSheets are free of any religious reference.)
Have you read either book? Do you use the Powersheets? Let me know in the comments.