As women, we tend to get lost juggling life with family, friends, work, and about one hundred other responsibilities.
But we can discover our true selves. Lizzie and Carla became unleashed versions of themselves—powerful, creative women— by following four steps.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nim
1. Surround Yourself with Support
Lizzie wrote her first song when she was eleven years old and carefully tucked it into an old empty shoebox, not to have it seen or heard by anyone. For over ten years, she continued writing songs—all in private, all hidden in the same shoebox.
It wasn’t until she was 23 years old, over a decade after writing that first song, that she finally got up the courage to share any of her music with other people—better said, when she finally got up the courage to blossom.
Lizzie explained, “My desire, to be my true self, grew as I simply began to share my music.” When we are struggling to be our true selves, one of the most logical things we can do is surround ourselves with others who are true to themselves.
This is a starting point to foster our full bloom. That way, in the moment we finally have the courage to be who we truly are, we may be supported in our efforts and build further confidence to open up more.”
Toward the end of her decade as an “artist in hiding”, Lizzie ran into an old friend whom she hadn’t seen in a few years. They were both working toward being more public with music, so they began to meet regularly to share their work with each other. They eventually wrote a song together, and Lizzie eventually performed that song in front of a small number of people at a backyard party.
From there, she sought out a producer, recorded one of her own songs, released it as a single, and it now sells online. Her friendship with this supportive and like-minded friend eventually helped her gain the confidence, little by little, until it was time to blossom.
2. Start Where You Stand
As Lizzie contemplated opening herself and her music to the public, one major roadblock was this thought: ‘”Why release any music now when my music could be better later on down the road? That would be embarrassing, and I’m not willing to do it. I’ll wait until I am a better songwriter.”
The reality is you have to start somewhere. Let that ‘somewhere’ be right where we are standing right now. We are enough. It is no surprise that starting where we stand is a risk, but if we don’t take a chance, we may never know where we could have landed at the end of our journey.
Since taking the vulnerable leap of opening her songs to the public, Lizzie experienced a fulfillment and happiness that she didn’t know before. Exciting opportunities came her way that she could have never foreseen, and that could not have found her had she not been open and in full bloom.
Lizzie shared this final thought about blossoming: “I truly believe that the time to blossom is now—this day. Not tomorrow, not sometime, but now. If we approach every day with that attitude, we will, in our own time, bloom, or come into our own.” If you are patient with yourself and strive to blossom in small ways every day, you will find that one day you are comfortable with who you are, and you will live with confidence and purpose.
3. Find Your Passion
Although Carla felt she was fulfilling the duties most important to her as a wife, mother, active member of the church, and business owner, she remembers turning 40 and realizing her life was mostly made up of other peoples’ agendas.
The “real Carla” had disappeared, and she now consisted of pieces of her friends, five children, and husband. She didn’t have hobbies and felt like she didn’t have time to pursue them, even if she had any. Then that fateful day came when her husband asked, “What DO you like to do?” She had a hard time answering such a seemingly simple question. Her life was the epitome of “tight in a bud”.
As her family life became less demanding, Carla realized she could now more fully live the life and mission she had come to the earth to fulfill; it was time to blossom. She started going to the library every week to walk up and down the aisles to see what was interesting. That year alone, she read or listened to 175 non-fiction books.
Not only had she become a voracious student, but she had found her hobbies and, most importantly, what she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
Carla explained, “It hit me that my passion was to be a life coach and help others find their passion and become their best selves.” She immediately signed up to become a certified coach to help other women blossom, just as she had.
4. Challenge Yourself
This was the beginning of Carla’s new life path that was paved with endless possibilities. No longer would she wait for things to happen or think “someday”.
As soon as she had an idea of something new to try, she immediately got on the phone to sign up. “I had always wanted to take ballroom dance lessons with my husband so I decided to sign up.
“Then I joined Toastmasters and registered for Spanish and computer classes,” Carla said. All those things, and more, were on her “someday” list. She had to challenge herself to blossom and shed all the fears that accompany a tight bud. “Each one of these was extremely scary to do, especially alone, but the confidence and exhilaration I felt after was like winning a race.”
As her excitement and growth were taking off, she was compelled to pursue her dreams. Carla wanted to help other women find the fire and excitement for life that she had found, so she began facilitating women’s retreats and seminars.
She no longer listened to that voice in her head that always questioned her actions: “What will people think?” or “Who do you think you are?” It didn’t matter anymore what others thought about her, because she was following her heart.
Carla proclaimed, “I believe we are here for a reason. Trying new things may be scary, but we need to follow our hearts, dare to dream and do the things that are burning within us – fearless of all consequences.”
Carla’s new passion to help other women blossom eventually led her to help young women too. With much love, help, and support from her husband and children, Carla, along with her friend, Debbie Forrest Dayton, created Time to Blossom Young Women’s Conference to empower 11 to 16-year-old girls with inner strength, courage, and confidence to reach their potential and find lasting happiness.
The conference has been held every summer for the past six years in Mesa, Arizona. More recently, Carla expanded Time to Blossom to include a new sister program called My Time to Blossom, a blog and social network that provides uplifting and positive content for girls 16-24 years old. Lizzie is the music contributor for My Time to Blossom.
Portions of this article adapted from “The Benefits of Blossoming”, by Lizzie Langston.