Last week I ordered HBO for the sole purpose of watching the movie Get Out. I was not disappointed. I’m not a horror movie person but I took the risk because I knew I needed to see this movie.
Because, here’s how it looks on paper:
Comedy Central guy decides to write and direct a horror movie that's also an examination of contemporary race relations in America. Movie breaks records, grosses more than $250 million on a $4.5 million budget, wins all kinds of awards. Minds are blown.
This story is kind of amazing. And the most amazing part, for me, is the moment where Jordan Peele won the Academy Award (making history in the process). Here is the part of his speech that got me:
I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie. But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it.
I don’t know what it’s like to be one thousandth as talented as Jordan Peele. I don’t know what it’s like to write a movie. But I do know what it’s like to have something that you want to put into the world. Something that you keep giving up on and coming back to. Something that gives you faith in your purpose but also scares the crap out of you.
I hid from my something for years, until I finally learned that time is not infinite and hiding is a luxury not currently in my life budget. So I vowed to work on it every day for 30 minutes, even though I was busy starting a business and running a household.
I vowed to show up, because that’s really all it takes.
Can I tell you something? I have to talk myself into showing up every single time I sit down to work on it. Every. Single. Time. There is not a morning where I am looking forward to working on it. There is no excuse I have not tried on myself.
I didn’t sleep well last night.
I’m too busy.
I have too many emails to look at.
I’m not feeling creative today.
I’ll do it tomorrow.
But tomorrow is a lie. Tomorrow is a cop out. Tomorrow is a bill of goods. If I always count on tomorrow, my something will give up on me and go find someone else to inspire.
So I show up, and miracles happen. And when I say miracles, I am not talking about the quality of what I’m producing, AT ALL. I know damn well that I ain’t no Nabokov.
I’m talking about the miracle of an idea turning into something real. The miracle of having just enough faith to try something that scares me. The miracle of making something instead of just talking about making something.
For some people, making things is as natural as breathing – it’s just what they do. I have always lived in secret awe of those people. Me? I’m not one of those people. It took me 38 years to get the courage to show up for the one project that, as the kids say, “gives me life.”
So what took me so long?
I was waiting for permission - something I didn’t even realize I was doing until Elizabeth Gilbert told me. Yeah, I’m basically BFFs with the author of Eat, Pray, Love.
Okay, I may be exaggerating. I’ve actually never met her, but I did read her book Big Magic, and I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone with a beating heart.
Here’s the deal: I’m a good girl, a rule follower, a black or white, wrong or right person. So, like a good girl, I was sitting around waiting for someone to give me permission to do this thing that was in my heart.
Elizabeth Gilbert gave me permission in Big Magic, and, while I am not exactly a best-selling author, or an author at all (yet?!) I give you permission.
I, Grace Kennedy, give you, person with a beating heart, permission to turn your idea into something real.
You are surrounded by people who are rooting for you. We got you. We are rallying around you, and we would really love to see this idea of yours. Because we know that your beating heart is the only beating heart that can do this one thing. So we’re not just giving you permission - we’re counting on you to put your idea into the world.
And we can’t wait to hear your acceptance speech.
I wrote this little ditty for my friend Joanna, who is a talented business owner and proof that you can do what you love.
“I turned a compulsion into a career.” That’s how Joanna Clausen of NEST Organizing describes her path to small business ownership. NEST (short for Neaten, Energize, Simplify, Transform) came about when Joanna was transitioning from working full-time for the Charlotte Public Library to being a stay-at-home mom with her second son. “I realized I love being a mommy, but I also had a drive to work outside the home,” says Joanna.
She thought about how she could turn something she loved into a business, and it hit her: she was a natural when it came to organizing and de-cluttering her home, and she enjoyed helping her friends do the same.
The organizing service that started four years ago with a few client/friends has quickly grown into a thriving business that has allowed Joanna to find that elusive work-life balance.
Finding that balance is not easy. As NEST Organizing has grown, so has Joanna’s family. She welcomed her third son, Henry, in 2016.
“Being a mom, wife, daughter, and business owner is tough,” says Joanna. “By the time I get to a client’s house each day, I’ve been up for three hours and dropped off three children at three different places. But having my own business means I can set my schedule and I get to be home with my kids in the afternoon.”
Word of mouth has been the biggest factor in NEST’s growth, but Joanna does appreciate the value of having an online presence. “People want to check you out and get a feel for your business through your website and social media,” says Joanna. “But nothing beats friends and happy clients spreading the word!”
Four years of professional organizing have yielded some memorable experiences, including the time she found a pretzel in a box of Christmas ornaments. What seemed like garbage accidentally put in a bin turned out to be a memento from her client’s first Christmas as a newlywed, when they couldn’t afford ornaments and decorated their tree with pretzels.
“I will never forget the lesson that taught me,” recalls Joanna. “Never assume you know more about a person’s belongings than they do.”
By turning her organizing “compulsion” into a satisfying career, Joanna Clausen has found a way to gracefully juggle the moving parts of working motherhood. Her advice to any woman seeking small business ownership: “Find something you are passionate about and go for it! The fulfillment you get from doing what you love makes you better in all the other areas of your life.”
Visit nestorganizing.com to learn more about Joanna and her services. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram. Her before and after pics are kind of addictive!
Here is a list of actual, word-for-word questions my children have asked me. Read at your own risk...
Who invented life?
Is Cupid real? Do people be mysteriously waking up and getting in love?
How did God get so popular?
Does space ever end?
Can you repeat time?
What controls the sun?
How did God become God?
How old was I when I met my childhood?
Is the future real?
Can the future happen to you?
What's the opposite of New York City?
Is Mother Nature God's wife?
Do bad guys have to learn how to swim?
Do girls have armpits?
Is there such a thing as hedgehogs?
Special section for questions whose innocence broke my heart:
What's a bullet?
What's a spanking?
And, my all-time favorite question, and one that I honestly will never have an answer for:
What is the point of golf?
...was the name of my column in Phillips' Finest, my middle school newspaper. If it was good enough for seventh grade, it's good enough for "adulthood."