|The highlight of my day. Meeting Lisa Leonard and being inspired by her.|
I find that I follow so many people on social media. Real life people, celebrities, bloggers, bloggers that feel like celebrities. A person can really get lost in all the appearances. People look good in social media. Their lives look perfect. Their families are flawless portraits of well behaved children and loving devoted husbands. Not that I post anything remotely like that, but you know what I mean. Sometimes I wonder if some of the people I follow on social media are as genuine and amazing as they appear. In the case of Lisa Leonard, she is exactly who you see on Instagram.
Lisa is a truth speaker, which says a lot because the truth isn’t always beautiful. She is the walking definition of kindness and grace. Her smile not only lights up a room but is contagious. And then, she speaks, and you can hear the kindness and the love in her voice. It’s inspiring. If you follow her at all then you know that her life is far from perfect. She has two beautiful sons, one David, with special needs. You know that she is an entrepreneur and a small business owner. A business which she owns and runs with her husband. You also know that she is a driving force in the blogging community and the creative community. So with all of these things that she is, you might be surprised to find that she, despite her twenty five thousand followers on Instagram, is very much like you and me. A mother, a wife, a blogger, a woman. But it’s her approach to building a community that sets her apart.
At Elevate Lisa presented the 5 “B”s of building a community. Whether that community is with your blog, or if that community is the one you choose to live in, there are five things that can take your community to a higher level. In addition they are also five things to take your life to a higher and happier level.
The 5 “B”s to Build the Community You Want! - Lisa Leonard
This sounds so simple. But to be loving is really hard. Lisa shared that she wakes each morning with the intent to “meet and greet” with love. Even when she receives discouraging comments and emails to her blog and shop. Even when the world is presenting itself in a hard way. She said that to be loving is to free yourself. Because when people are mean or say harsh words against us, it is not about us, our children, our families, or our businesses/blogs, it’s about the person speaking the harshness. That person, with hate or hatred in their heart, needs loving the most, and if you can find love for that person, then you are free from the harshness. You free yourself from the hurt. Do you realize how incredibly powerful that is? I cried when she spoke about being loving in a world and blog world that can be anything but. To be loving is an incredible power that we have inside all of us. Yet it is one of the hardest things we can task ourselves to do. I can tell you from hearing Lisa speak and meeting her in person, she is very loving, and let’s this guide her in her freedom to live.
“When you love yourself, you can love”. So true in it’s simplicity. Lisa talked about always being dissatisfied with things in her life. The extra ten pounds, hard created ideas stolen, the way she felt about herself. She said she has felt disappointments and dissatisfaction at times in her life. She shared times when she was so overwhelmed and scared at what she faced in her life. How could she love, when she didn't love the person looking at her in the mirror? But once she found that she could let go of all her worries and skepticism she had for herself and really love herself and her fears, she could love with her whole heart. She realized that if she could love herself flawed, she could love anyone. Her message to us was to be our flawed selves. And to love ourselves anyway. Embrace who we are and allow ourselves the love we deserve. In turn we will be able to be loving. I’ve built this blog on being myself, and embracing my flaws and fears. Once I could admit that motherhood wasn’t my strong point, it became my strong point. I strive to be myself everyday, and love that person that I am, even on my worst days.
Lisa posed this question to us, “What if the goal is bravery?”. Could the real goal in life be bravery? Are we on this journey for love and life, and all the while those are not the goals, but the end results of being brave? Pretty powerful questions don’t you think? Lisa talked about big acts of bravery versus small acts of bravery. She shared that she knows someone who battles chronic depression every day, and every day they get up. They get up and face the day. In her mind, that is a daily act of bravery, and to some it may be so slight, but to a person battling depression it’s the world. It made me think about bravery in my daily life. Am I taking chances? Am I putting myself out there? Or am I too afraid to be brave. It gave me a lot to think about when it comes to my writing and to my blogging.
Lisa encouraged us to be careful with our opportunities. Every opportunity may not be for you. It may sound good and it may have real attractions like money or earned success, but is it really for you? She shared that she had the opportunity to host a segment for a television station in another state. She loved the people she would be working with, and she loved the opportunity to show her creative/DIY side, and it was going to be wonderful PR for her business. In the end, she had to commit to being away for almost a week every month. She knew that was not the best fit for her family, and in turn would not be a good fit for her. So she walked away from that opportunity, because it didn’t feel right. Being careful in the face of opportunity is important in the blogging world. Especially if the opportunity isn’t you, isn’t your voice. She encouraged us to say “no” to posts that don’t carry our voice, posts that we don’t identify with, no matter how wonderful the opportunity. Being careful allows us to be true to ourselves.
“If you are determined and you do not give up, you will succeed”. Again, so simple in theory, and so hard in practice. Being determined takes hard work and patience. Two things that I am inconsistent at best. Determination is more than not giving up, it’s believing that you can, it’s waking up every day with the same goal in mind, it’s evolving and moving forward, no matter the obstacles. Lisa encouraged us to ask for opportunity again and again, don’t wait for opportunity to find us. Be persistent in how you operate your blog or your business, continue to evolve to the next thing, but don’t change so quickly. Being persistent while being yourself means that you have to grow into your blog and into your business at a pace your readers will respect. According to Lisa be persistent and success will seek you.
At the end of the day, before I left, I made sure to thank Lisa for her words of wisdom, but I also wanted to tell her something. I wanted to tell her that even though I’m sure she gets comments and emails daily about how wonderful and kind she is, how beautiful she is inside and out, that she is the most genuine person I have ever met. She practices what she preaches and is a good human. She is kind and loving, but also just as flawed as everyone else. When I asked her during her session, how she finds balance in her life she said, “I don’t, and I probably never will, but I try, and I’ll always try”. She is that kind of woman, and that kind of inspiration. It was an amazing opportunity to meet her, shake her hand, and hug her. But what amazed me more is that this kind of human exists. That there are people in this world so beautiful you want to surround yourself with their light. Lisa has the light.
Whether you use the five “B”s to build a community or inspire your life, use them. Remind yourself of them, and in the end live them in your daily life. Maybe I won’t ever live all five “B”s at once, but I will try, I will always try.