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Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power


by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power | A Practical Wedding

I spent this weekend at Camp Mighty at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. It was a small public event (seriously, the Mighty Events sell out in two seconds with very good reason, but if you find yourself able to go to one, grab that opportunity) that was built around the idea of life lists and building the life you want. Or really, about building the life you need.

The weekend started with a private show by The Tontons. (Holy crap. You heard about them here first.) After which I had a twenty minute chat with the lead singer about going to art school in New York, figuring out what you want to do as an artist, and working your ass off to make that happen.

Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power | A Practical Wedding

Then the next morning, Brian Piotrowicz, one of the co-producers of Oprah and a producer at OWN, spoke about the way Oprah built her business around the idea of intention. And man, did he sort some things out for me. Because yes, “intention” sounds very woo-woo and hippy-dippy, but he talked about the concept in a very literal sense. When you produce content for a big audience, it’s very important that you think about what you’re putting out there in the world. What are you using your platform for? Are you making people think and reflect and grow, or are you getting off message, and letting ego and ratings get in the way? And while he did a lot of talking about the idea of intention in the work environment (no one is allowed to yell or treat other employees with disrespect at HARPO), he also talked about the idea in a personal sense. He talked about the power of waking up and checking in with yourself, asking what you want to bring to your day. He talked about how twenty minutes of meditation is built into the (sixteen hour plus) day at HARPO, so that everyone has a chance to come back to themselves. For me, his talk was centered on the idea that we can’t control the world, but we can control what we greet the world with, and that makes a whole ton of difference.

The final morning, Grammy winning artist Kenna came to talk about his project Summit on the Summit, where celebrities climbed Kilimanjaro, filmed by MTV, to raise money and awareness for the crisis of clean water in Africa. By this point in the weekend I was exhausted. I was a little emotionally raw. I sat down for the talk, not terrifically excited. “Mmmm… another charity project,” I thought to myself. And then what happened totally blew my world wide open. First up, Kenna, explained to us that good activism comes from a personal place. He’s Ethiopian-born and as an adult discovered that his father had spent most of his childhood ill from a water born illness and had lost a sibling to it. He had a realization that most of us wait to do good till we’ve built our careers, or till we’re in a place where we can do more good, and that’s not good enough. And that made me do some serious thinking. What we bring to the world matters, and the world only has our hands. Not having time is not a good enough excuse. Oh, and he called his mom and had us sing her “Happy Birthday.” She asked if he’d “been to church, taken his vitamins, and met a nice girl to get married to because [she] wasn’t getting any younger.” Moms, man. Talk about doing good in the world.

Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power | A Practical Wedding

But what really blew me away about the weekend was being around people who were serious about changing their lives. It’s easy to think that writing a Life List is a silly exercise, or wishful thinking, or just greed. It’s easy to write off people who have a life you want as being lucky or privileged and not make the effort for yourself. But what I was reminded of this weekend is the sheer force of will that’s involved in changing your life. Last year, at Mighty Summit, I committed to changing things for myself. It wasn’t magic that I was in a place to do that. I’d spent the previous year busting my ass, never sleeping, never having time off, while I built my business and wrote a book proposal. But I needed to be pushed into really taking the leap, and being with a bunch of women who forcefully believe in you, will do that to a person. So I quit my job. I started working for myself full time. I wrote a book. I hired a staff. You know, just a few little things.

But this year, I was in a slightly different position. I’d spent a year changing everything about my life, and I knew that my goals for the year were A) Keep the momentum going, B) Rest, and C) Give back. So this year, I got to spend some time playing cheerleader instead of playing bird-waiting-to-be-pushed-out-of-the-nest. Which apparently I’m overly good at.

Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power | A Practical Wedding

I made the trip down to the Summit with Dana of The Broke Ass Bride, Amber of The Amber Show (who took all these pictures), and Becca of Stumble and Leap (formerly of A Los Angeles Love). On the way down we stopped in my hometown for In-N-Out. The following conversation unfolded over our fries and shakes:

Becca: How did you get your photography business started, Amber?

Amber: (Looking up from her fries) Meg yelled at me.

Becca: What?

Amber: Meg yelled at me, made me get focused, gave me some advertising, and now I have a successful photography business.

Dana: That’s how I got my book proposal done! Meg yelled at me.

(Becca later told me that part of the reason she came to the weekend was so I would yell at her, too. Also, apparently at least three women in one of the groups stood up and said they were there because “Meg told me I had to come.”)

All of this made me realize I better keep using my yelling powers for good, as apparently they are powerful. But it also reminded me of what one of my friends told me in high school. He’d made a chain letter where he had to say something nice about the person he was sending the letter to, and he said, basically, “Meg is amazing because she wants you to be your best self and is super forceful about making you work hard for it. Upside: It makes you feel like you’re capable of amazing things. Downside: It’s sometimes kind of annoying.” So at least I’m consistent, right? The same at 31 as at 16. (Sorry you guys. NOW GO BE YOUR BEST SELVES.)

So for me, Camp Mighty was a mediation on just how hard you have to work, and just how brave you have to be, to pursue a life that makes you happy, to live with intention, to not give up, to make time to bring the world what it needs. It was an honor to cheerlead women getting ready to make the plunge into new things. It was a good reminder to never settle, to keep pushing myself, and to keep forcefully pushing those around me to be brave, to keep going, and to give them the support they need.

Camp Mighty: Dusting Off Our Power | A Practical Wedding

That, and there was a pool, a hot tub, and amazing cocktails. If you’re going to do the hard emotional work, it only seems fair that you should get a boozy slushy, a super warm pool, and some sunshine, amiright?

So for all of you pondering your next step: lean into your best selves. And imagine I’m right behind you, lovingly yelling at you and only being slightly annoying.

Pictures: Amber Marlow Photography

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.

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  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.com Amanda

    Oh yes, the Meg yelling at you works wonders , and that is why I love this place. No, seriously. With all the feminist talk I have been wanting to write a post about how on bad days I stupidly feel like I am failing at being a woman because a)., I dont have the career and b). I am apparently unable to make the babies . and wanting to cry about it and punch things and break stuff because of it.
    But then I stop and think, and realize, thanks to Meg, and to other amazing girls that I got in contact with thanks to APW, that I am more than what my studies define me as and that there is a whole lot more to womanhood than having the kids (which has been a life long goal and dream for us, no one pressuring). that there is so much more to womanhood, and that it is ok to still be figuring it out. So thoughts of grad school, of starting a business, and other possibilities come to mind.
    So, thanks for being so inspiring. And keep on yelling at us, Meg.

    • meg

      You are a GREAT woman. Seriously. Think about how strong we have to be to figure these things out. And also: think how many APW-ers are grappling with one or both of these issues (probably all of us, if you add have grappled or will grapple). You’re in good company, and this shit is just HARD. Let the universe hold you up a bit, and remember you don’t have to do it all yourself.

  • http://www.otheramusements.com Someone married

    I like the idea of living with intention. This blog (http://makeundermylife.com/) talks about it a lot and also champions people working hard to make their hobby/sideline their full time job. She calls them ‘Midnight Hustlers’.

    • http://makeundermylife.com Jess LC

      Thanks so much for sharing MML here, I totally agree with all that was said in this post about Camp Mighty! And being that I’m in Chicago… I’m proud to share the idea of intention from a studio not that far from Harpo. :)

  • http://www.cassieboorn.com Cassie Boorn

    It was so great seeing you this weekend!

    Next time I see you I fully expect you to yell at me.

    • meg

      I’m so on it Cassie. Just tell me the topic :)

  • http://lezgethitched.blogspot.com Diana

    This is a super inspiring post, Meg. The idea of “living with intention” is giving me a lot to think about this morning. Thank you :)

  • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

    I do believe that is your superpower, Meg. In the last three years I have witnessed you inspire many women to go for it and pursue their dreams already. And in turn the APW community has nurtured and supported those dreams, allowing them to take flight.

    • meg

      Yelling is my super power. Actually, networking is my superpower, but yelling might be my backup power.

      • http://www.jehara.blogspot.com jehara

        Yes, I was referring to your yelling, haha. I think that is a great superpower to have. :)

  • http://amidlifeofprivilege.blogspot.com LPC

    I think I will go next year, and do the whole thing from this perspective: How to make a Life List that, at my age, has to include dying.

    • meg

      Yes, I’ve been thinking about that a lot, with family members. And you should. I didn’t iron a single shirt or skip a single rock. I laid by the pool with a very good drink or took a nap instead. I’m going to yell at you to make you go ;)

    • http://www.thenouveauromantics.com liz

      Lisa,

      We may finally meet. I think I’m slating this on my 2012 to-do. Cocktails!

      [Also: I met Jill from Studio Choo. 'Twas lovely!]

  • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

    I do believe (but can’t find the tweet to prove it since it was a few months ago) that it was Meg who said to me, “I’m normally more conservative about these things… but you NEED to quit your day job NOW.” – back in August. Mmmm hmmm. And then you know what I did? I quit.

    • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

      Yay!

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    GAH! I am finding that while trying not to whine about making changes I can only muster a panicky temper tantrum, not bravery. Is that the next step?

    • meg

      The next step is to push through. Which kind of always hurts. This stuff is really hard, it’s just really worth it in the end.

  • Maddie

    Yes to this. I can’t express what a powerful thing it is to have someone say, “I will give you an opportunity if you work your ass off to make something of it.” Meg, I don’t know if you realize how rare that is. Most people with access are not usually so willing to take a chance on people based off of their gumption, rather than their supposed experience.

    • Gigi

      This – “gumption, rather than their supposed experience”. We used to be a country where hard work was the main driver for success and it feels to me that we’ve changed to the point where the degree is all important. It is truly rare to find anyone now who is willing to give chances to anyone based mostly on their proven work ethic.

      Keep yelling, Meg…you’re inspiring all of us.

      • meg

        This is a pretty interesting cultural perspective, and you may be right. Every time I’ve managed people, I’ve figured out that two things are important A) smarts and B) hard work. And if you have A and not B, forget it. I mean, I’m not going to lie, one of the best people I ever managed was a Harvard grad, but she was also insanely hard working and dedicated to making it. Which is probably how she got into Harvard in the first place (she didn’t come from a privileged background). So yes, hard work is SO KEY, and it doesn’t always come with a degree. And it’s not just hard work, it’s someone who WANTS IT. That’s when you know.

    • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

      I was really lucky to be mentored by a woman early this year who saw that I had the smarts to do more than I was doing, and gave me some pretty great opportunities. She unfortunately moved back to the States before she could convince her boss to hire me, but the work I did for her has convinced my own boss to promote me from admin to engg tech. (Not a common jump.) It’s truly amazing what a mentor can do – what an opportunity it can be.

  • http://www.peoniesandpolaroids.com Cara

    I wish you were more in my life for shouting in person. I mean, I know you’re more than happy to shout at me online, but in person would be nice too. (although I would shout back in person, just so you know.)

    • meg

      I like when people shout back. Besides, then I could cuddle the babies while we were being forceful. And you could tell me to take more breaks <3

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    So for me, Camp Mighty was a mediation on just how hard you have to work, and just how brave you have to be, to pursue a life that makes you happy, to live with intention, to not give up, to make time to bring the world what it needs. It was an honor to cheerlead women getting ready to make the plunge into new things. It was a good reminder to never settle, to keep pushing myself, and to keep forcefully pushing those around me to be brave, to keep going, and to give them the support they need.

    I really needed to hear this today. This week. Really. Thank you.

    • meg

      You’re doing great. You know that, right?

    • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

      That part right there kind of ties in with my Ifs & Whens post, no? We’re coming at you from all sides this week E! ;-)

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    I love that you said you don’t have to wait till you’re successful to give back.

    I always thought it would be cool to have a college scholarship in my name. I love education and I thought that would be a great way to give back. But pretty much every named scholarship I’ve ever heard of was for some dead person or some person wealthy beyond belief. I figured I’d fall into the “dead person” category if it ever happened.

    Then last year I was given a very small scholarship of $500 (every little bit helps, I was more than grateful for it). Part of the scholarship was attending a reception with all of the donors. There were a dozen or so people who had each donated that much and the department matched it so 24 students got scholarships. I got to meet the people who made my scholarship possible and thank them.

    Most importantly, I got to see that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a difference in someone’s education. One of these days I’m going to be the donors at those receptions.

    • meg

      YES. David and I talked about doing something like this over the weekend. Plans forthcoming at some point this year.

      • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia Kyla (@kahlia)

        There’s a place in the Mission (on Valencia) that matches scholarship givers to recipients. I don’t know what their requirements are, but it may be worth looking into.

    • Sara C.

      I AGREE! I was blessed to receive a fairly large, need-based scholarship that allowed me to attend my school of my dreams (still taking on student debt, not feasible and oh-so-worth-it). Two years past graduation, and I’m already hoping/planning on when I will be able to give another person the same opportunity :-).

      And when I met my donors, I was pleasantly surprised – sure, they were successful, but decidedly not in the super-rich category. They had simply placed a commitment to supporting need-based college educations.

      • meg

        As another major scholarship recipient, I love this. We actually talked about this during the charity talk this weekend. How it’s often people that really understand need that do important giving, not necessarily people that have (and have always had) a lot. We were talking about how to let the need that you understand really DRIVE you to give back.

        • http://www.bluscelebrations.com bec

          As someone researching scholarships for my son, I love this!! I love that people who just want to help have found a way; I never really thought about who is behind those smaller scholarships. And that you get to meet them, and thank them in person!?! This just truly warms my heart today!!

        • http://www.marriedwithkittens.blogspot.com MWK

          Just in the last month I was able to attend my first ever fundraising “evening” (that I wasn’t working at, that is) and give what was, to me, a significant amount of money to a nonprofit that I deeply respect and admire. (I volunteer there weekly, also. Unrelated note: the MC of the event was Portland most famous drag queen). Then last week I became the organizattions youngest and newest board member – not because I donated, that was just coincidence. I became a board member the same week that we put an offer on a house and I have to tell you: I was so, so much prouder of the board membership than the house. I feel terrified that they’ll have me, excited to help steer the organization, and fucking THRILLED that they accepted my proposal (yes, I asked them straight up to let me be a board member). I’m not sure how this is related to scholarship or being your best self, except that becoming a baord member was something that I have wanted (and needed) for so long, and finally taking the steps to make it happen pretty much kicked ass (and might help some people also, at some point. Hopefully).

    • http://highdivingboard.com Morgan

      There’s an organization in Calgary that helps people set up their own bursaries, scholarships and memorial funds. My friend used to work there, and it seemed like a pretty great idea. The amount you actually to have to set up a fund was surprisingly small. It’s nice because then the non-profit deals with the management of it, and you get to do the money and giving side. I’m sure there are similar organizations in other places…

  • Mollie

    xoxoxo

  • http://www.rorygordonphoto.com rorygordon

    I love that Amber was shooting in the hot tub. That is the tops.

    And holy crap, how many awesome women did you guys cram in to one weekend??

  • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

    This morning my fiance told me that he thinks I should leave my full time job to finish my undergrad faster, going from a PT 8 credits to a FT 21 credits a semester. This morning I went from having no choices and a sketchy loooong term plan to having a huge opportunity if I can figure out what to sacrifice to make it happen (we will have less $$ obviously but I’ll also have to cut back on some of my volunteer work that I love). This also ramps up discussions on baby planning, grad school applications and the volunteer/work experience I need for those apps which I thought I had time to suss out.

    Last week I felt powerless and locked into a plodding future course. For the last 4 hours I have felt like vomiting. But in a good way.

    I think.

    • meg

      YOU CAN DO IT! DO IT! DO IT! YES. (Hurrah fiance for pushing you).

    • Fawmo

      The scary, puke at any moment, pushing past boundaries feeling is scary as all get out but so. worth. it.

      That’s when you know you’re on the right track.

      Go get ‘em!

      • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

        The funny thing is that when I decided to go back to school, I thought I had *had* that moment. That the pushing was done. Now I realize that one decision opened the door to a whole new set of options and decisions.

        Oh the first world problems of too much choice!

        (And he really is great for laying in bed thinking about what I should do and waking me up this morning to tell me! That guy is FULL of surprises.)

        • meg

          The pushing is never done. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that’s a first world problem. That’s a human problem. This is spoken by someone who grew up around third world type poverty. People in that kind of poverty have the same choices we do, it’s just that much harder, and they need that much more support.

          • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

            While people who grow up in extreme poverty *techincally* have the same choices, in practice I don’t believe they do. That’s why this week is blowing my mind so much. I was raised to settle for safety and to get by. I never imagined I’d have someone tell me I should work less to finish college faster and achieve a dream.

            I *do* agree that people in those circumstances need even more support to make success possible and I am completely aware of how blessed I am.

  • http://www.armyamy.wordpress.com Army Amy*

    Lots of things to mull over! A theme I’m hearing is that we need to navigate our ships. Sometimes it feels like life just happens to me, but that’s so not the case. If there is something I want, I need to steer my ship and paddle like crazy to get it.*

    • Granola

      The (very old) painter that gave my college commencement speech talked cheerfully about how it’s up to all of us to figure out how to steer our own boats, through seas both stormy and calm.

      I’m paraphrasing a little as I think I zoned out, but bits and pieces keep coming back to me every now and then and I marvel at how inspiration and comfort just seems to come when you need it, even if that time isn’t when you first heard it. I think that I’m still in a patchwork slightly leaky rowboat, but at least I have oars and a handkerchief sail, and I’m about to invite in a first mate.

      • Granola

        I was wrong. It was Herman Leonard, the jazz photographer. I feel slightly better about forgetting him as he told us he couldn’t remember his own commencement speaker.

  • melissa

    okay, I’ve been compelled to make a life list. also, at the risk of being internet creepy, you are some hot stuff in your cute bathing suit.

  • http://www.thefamiliarwilderness.com Erin

    First: The Tontons. Noted.
    Second: “What we bring to the world matters, and the world only has our hands. Not having time is not a good enough excuse.”
    and
    “a meditation on just how hard you have to work, and just how brave you have to be, to pursue a life that makes you happy, to live with intention, to not give up, to make time to bring the world what it needs.”

    I don’t naturally seek out inspiration, but I regularly find that what you say here fills in little potholes in my road that I didn’t notice before, making it easier for me to push on the next few miles. I didn’t know that I needed to reframe my aspirations as bringing something to the world, and that that would infuse just enough energy into my intentions to plug through today. Thanks :)

  • Claire

    Wow. Your timing is amazing! I literally just yesterday wrote about planning an intentional life and how this year worked out amazingly, but totally differently than I ever expected.

  • http://twitter.com/emilyrose423 emily rose

    Meg! Come on back down to LA and give me a good yell, alright? But then maybe a hug, and maybe a margarita? It’s sunny here. I don’t have a swimming pool, but I do have a hammock.

  • http://livinglnf.blogspot.com Jo

    Love it. Love that you share it. As usual. :)

  • http://budgetfairytale.blogspot.com Mindy

    I have been so super unhappy in my job for the last few years but not sure how to turn it around. Planning my wedding has made me immensely happy and I want to somehow make that into a career. Reading all of these recaps from Camp Mighty have really been a kick in the butt for me. I WILL set goals and I WILL be a stronger person and I WILL be my best self. Thanks to all who participated and shared their experiences from this amazing weekend.

    • http://txtingmrdarcy.wordpress.com Txtingmrdarcy

      I’m with you Mindy!! I’m sitting in my cubicle WANTING with all my heart to get out. And do more. And be more.

      • HH

        Right?! Hitting the exactly button wasn’t enough.

        EXACTLY THIS! GAH I hate that I’m not doing and being the MORE that I want.

        Also, my job blows.

        yay inspiration!

  • mimi

    I feel like I just attended a (or another) session of Meg’s Life Class. Thanks for sharing and cheerleading! I’m starting to work on my life list and figuring out what I should be pushing myself towards.

    Also, it’s definitely never too early to give back. I’ve done Team in Training twice, lots of volunteering, serve on 2 boards, and coach lacrosse (in addition to my day job as a lawyer). Give back however you can, whether it’s money or service or skills or whatever you have.

    • http://warrenpimp.blogspot.com/ Contessa

      I always think my volunteer work isn’t impactful enough, but we can’t ever truly gauge our own impact. All we can do is to give our best.

  • April

    Awesome! I SO SO SO badly wanted to attend this… I found the link and was too late and it was already full. I realllllly hope there is another one of these sessions. I would pretty much give an arm, a leg and a kidney to attend.

  • Hannah C

    This is the kind of stuff I need to be reading every morning- thanks for the awesome post! I am in the process of starting my own business and FINALLY making something for my self drawing from my artistic abilities and man, is it scary some days. Your posts on how you did it yourself and keep pushing yourself further are truly inspiring and leave me with the feeling that I CAN make it happen and I am not (completely) delusional. Thanks for forging ahead for the rest of us. Your blog has guided me to have a practical wedding and a practical life/marriage afterwards.
    Many, many thanks.

  • http://lillight.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

    Ah, the yelling is a fantastic super power. I mean — the yelling is what gets all the ladies to get together in one place (as shown in this article about Camp Mighty and the APW book clubs).

    My husband did the same thing for me, yelled at me and finally got me to quit my job that was sucking the life out of me. But now that we’re married and moved, I have no clue what I want to do. Or how to get there. Too bad there isn’t a super power for figuring that out.

    • meg

      No superpower. Just hard work and not giving up. We all have to do it. It sucks. (But it’s worth it).

    • Sarah

      Yep, I know just what you mean! I’m just married, and just moved to a new country for my husband’s job which means I had to leave the job (and maybe career?) which wore me down. But now what? I know I want to live the f*ck out of my (rapidly approaching) thirties like Meg says, but first I have to figure out what that means for me. I really need to set aside some time to try to start working it out, and I think I’m going to give a life list a shot as a way to do it.

  • Alicia

    I love this write up, it’s both feisty and thoughtful just like you. Even though Kenna was talking about doing something big and splashy I felt that wasn’t really his message to us. What I took away from his talk was that it’s better to start small immediately than to wait until you think you can do something big. If your small project suddenly gets Justin Timberlake on board then so much the better, but don’t wait until you’re comfortable or it’ll never get off the ground.

  • http://www.bluscelebrations.com bec

    “For me, his talk was centered on the idea that we can’t control the world, but we can control what we greet the world with, and that makes a whole ton of difference.” This is a lesson I try and teach my kids every day. You can’t control other people, but you CAN control how you react to them. Staying positive is an amazingly hard, but amazingly important tool in life.

    I loved this whole post. I am going to save it. Maybe frame it. And when I need to hear the yelling, when I need to be pushed and reminded that I AM awesome, that I CAN do this (which, to be honest, is more than I care to admit), I will read it and read it and read it. Thanks Meg!!

  • http://mightygirl.com Maggie Mason

    Man, that guy had your number in _high school_. I’d say you’re a firecracker, but you’re more like an A-bomb. Of awesome.

  • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

    I can also say that I am where I am today because Meg yelled at me. Thanks lady! <3

    • meg

      Sniffle. My parents wanted me to count how many business started with some help from my yelling. I said “five?” they were like, no, more. And then I started counting AND THEY WERE RIGHT.

      • Maddie

        And don’t forget about the butterfly/domino/whatever-it’s-called effect! You might have helped start X number of business, but then those businesses go on to help others get started and it just expands outward. It’s a HUGE number, I’m sure.

  • http://www.shinyprettybits.com kc

    Meg, you write the things I need to hear. I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out what it means to live my life with intention and I think I’m in a better place for it, but nowhere near where I need to be. I sometimes read these posts and feel a pang of envy, what I wouldn’t give to know what my purpose is but mostly I feel hopeful. I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though we’ve never met, you’ve been my cheerleader of sorts too. So, thank you. Camp Mighty has gone on my list of things to do next year.

    • meg

      You know, I spent forever ever (not very long ago) having no idea what I wanted to do. It sucked. But it also sucked so HARD that I refused to give up till I found something, because I didn’t want to stay that way. So I tried a bunch of things, lots of them were wrong, I didn’t give up and I found something. You’re going to too. I know it.

      • Jessica

        Meg – I would *love* it if you would write more re: how to figure out what you want to do. I am struggling with this big time. It’s hard because you feel privileged/obnoxious complaining about having a job you hate when so many people are desperately looking for a job. But at the same time, not knowing what you want is so frustrating and painful. You’re stuck wanting to work your ass off to get somewhere but lacking an end-goal.

    • http://www.theorringtons.wordpress.com andee

      Yes!! KC I am here now. I am 26 years old and I don’t know what I’m passionate about? How did this happen? What do I want to do with my life? I assume it is hard work to figure it out but I don’t even know where to start.

      • http://magpietrousseau.wordpress.com Magpie

        I’m with ya, Andee. I thought I knew, I worked hard to make it happen, and now I’m here, looking around, going, “ya know? This really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and I don’t think I really like it here.”

        Definitely time for a change…but to what? That’s a tough one for me when I’ve spent the last decade chasing the first dream – I didn’t have a lot of time or space to chase anything else. So now what? Anybody got any great advice on homing in on the passion? Because I’d like to do that, like, yesterday.

      • meg

        Lady,
        I don’t think i knew a single person who knew what they wanted when they were 26. Or if they did, were right about it. I mean, at 26, I was just starting to figure out that I’d gotten what I wanted and HATED it. This is normal. Movies make it seem that you have it figured out by 26. This is almost never factual. *Maybe* by 30. Maybe. If you’re lucky. You just have to keep on cracking… try things, discard them when they don’t work. Try stuff in your down time. Read stuff. Get hobbies. Ponder what you love. Keep going. Etc. And THAT is my advice.

        And Magpie: fact. If you’re in your 20’s, you have a crap ton of time. I’m in my 30s and I have a crap ton of time. Life is also way longer than the movies tell us.

        • http://www.theorringtons.wordpress.com andee

          Mission accepted!

      • k

        Also note, the things you are passionate about may, probably will, change over time. In my 20s I was a NYC arts music literature type. Then I discovered rock climbing when I was 33 and immediately rearranged my whole life around it. Did it make me any money? Absolutely not. Did it result in a whole lot of travel and expansion of my horizons and tons of new friends and enrich my life immensely? Why yes it did. Which IMO beats money any day.

        A few years ago I was lazing by a river one afternoon watching a couple practice kayak rolls in the shallows. The man would flip the kayak over and the woman in it would try to right it. Mostly she didn’t and just slithered out, but at the end she did it a couple of times. As they returned to their car and were putting the kayak on top of it I hear her tell him, “Well, I wasn’t ever afraid, and I think I’m getting it. Next time I’ll do better.” They had to be at least in their mid-70s if not older. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. I sure hope I’m still discovering new passions right up until the very end of my days.

        • Danielle

          I. LOVE. THIS. STORY.

  • andrea

    Sometimes in the midst of all the hard work, you forget why it is you’re doing all the hard work for in the first place. This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve been stuck in the purgatory of thesis writing for the last 6 months, and though the light at the end of the tunnel is clearly visible, sometimes the daily details can really shadow it out. Thank you for this post, it has forced me to remind myself that I chose this path, and of the intention behind the choice, and that makes dealing with the present hardness a little easier! I’m going to print out this post and hang it up near my computer desk, so I can be yelled at by Meg daily and hopefully rediscover my intention daily :)

    • meg

      YELL!

  • Annie

    In a way the whole Camp Mighty weekend felt very Wizard of Oz to me. Everything was so bright and shiny, there were so many people to meet and stories to absorb that the whole thing was exhilarating and a bit overwhelming.

    I thought Brian’s talk about intention was really powerful, because it drove home the point that as an individual person you have a great deal of control. It’s easy sometimes to feel like everything else is so much bigger, so much more forceful than you and that there is a torrent of outside forces determining the big and important things in life that as an individual it’s easy to get beaten down and act defensively. I enjoyed the way that Brian, via Oprah, flipped that notion on its head, by bringing it back and asking “What is my intention?” in every situation.

    In the end, much like Dorothy, I was left with the deep impression that the power to change things lies with me. And if I find I need a little yelling to propel myself forward, it’s good to know that you are an expert in the field. It was a pleasure meeting you at Camp Mighty Meg and I look forward to seeing you when your book tour brings you to D.C.

  • Anne Phillips

    During the life list breakout sessions, we (Team 4) were going around saying how we ended up at Camp Mighty. When more than three people simply said, “Meg made me come” I had to ask, “Who is this Meg? I must meet her.” Thanks for the awesome post.

    • meg

      This whole thing is hilarious. I didn’t find out about it till way later, and I still can’t believe it was more than three (but the story is consistent)!

  • Lauren K.

    This post is inspiring. Not sure what I’m inspired to do. Maybe just to work harder daily.

  • Sarah P

    I’ve been putting off doing something I really, really wanted to do for ages because I’m a wussy baby. But no more! Today I took the first steps in getting it done. Thanks for yelling at me.

  • Lesley

    I have been a silent follower of APW for over a year now, but I just cannot contain myself any longer! In response to Kenna’s message about not waiting to bring good into the world, Meg I hope you realize how much your for-profit business is doing just that. APW is making a wonderful impact on people, myself included. As much as our society struggles with the idea that a feminist can be a stay-at-home ‘homeworker,’ I think we also collectively have a hard time getting our minds around businesses being able to do good. But, they can. We usually point only toward non-profits as the good doers. You (and others, APW vendors included) have proven that there are a lot of for-profit good doers out there. Combining one’s career with ‘doing good’ must be the coolest thing ever. So, Meg, you rock.

    • meg

      Sniffle. I’m a little emotional today.

      PS I quit non-profits, after the ones I was working at were doing no good whatsoever, and mistreating all their employees. So there you are.

  • charmcityvixen

    I love that you are a yeller. I have been called the “pusher” by far too many people to count. Everyone says that I push people to try new things — of course, the hardest person to “push” is myself :)

  • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

    It was so evident when I met you nearly a year ago that you had IT. IT backed up by a TON of gumption. I love that you are giving people a nudge or a shove (whatever it takes) to go for it too.

    • meg

      I love how your comments have moved from morning to night time, thanks to Zoe.

      And <3, also.

  • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com Robin HitchDied

    I came here to comment how inspiring this post is, and then I read the COMMENTS! Meg, you’re a force of nature.

  • angela

    Yes, this post is inspirational…but i´m right now in a previous step, one in which i need to figure out what´s on earth i will be good at, and also, IF i will be, even eventually, making some money from it….
    I need a consultor/yeller/pusher that comes to see my life and told me what i am doing wrong, o better, what i am marvelous at…..
    I am triying to be ok with this time in which i need to figure out what i want…even when the feeling is so slow and time-consuming….

    Also, WHY all of us wonder sometime in our life around the home vs job-outside life? Why we have to be so rude to ourselves? We, as women, need to know that stopping judging is better for ourselves and for our lifes, so the lifes of those who lives with us…so why we keep on going with all the judging?
    Be yourselves, respect the others choices….and don´t judge…

  • http://meditatingontherain.wordpress.com Aine

    My husband teases me a little for still reading APW now that we’re married, but now I can just show him this quote:
    “Meg is amazing because she wants you to be your best self and is super forceful about making you work hard for it. Upside: It makes you feel like you’re capable of amazing things”

    Because that is why I keep reading- seeing what you’ve done, seeing the work you’ve put into it (and can I thank you for talking about the work and the sleepless nights and stress, because nobody talks about that. They start at “and then I got really lucky”. And that’s sweet, but not really helpful.) and reading this makes me feel brave, makes me feel like I can accomplish things. I’m still working out what my goals are, but I trust that when I know what I want, I can achieve it.

    Thanks for being awesome, Meg.

  • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

    Dearest Meg,

    It’s 3:37 a.m. and I’m still thinking about your post.
    I think your superpower is not yelling but inspiring and challenging.
    Via yelling, perhaps. ;)
    And I’m one of the many who has been affected by your superpower. So please add me to the list you and the ‘rents are creating. Better get lotsa paper and many pens.

  • http://www.linseykitchens.com Linsey

    OH MY GOSH–and the book banner is up!!!

    RED shoes!! SQUEE!!!! So, SO pretty!!

  • RachelC

    Thank you for this inspiring, inspiring post.
    I know you don’t even know me personally (but maybe some day!) but even all the way out here in CT you not only inspired me to have a WAY better wedding than I knew how to before I found APW, but you’ve also inspired me to go fighting after my goals/dreams/ideas tooth and nail and now I might FINALLY end up in France this summer and really, you’re at least 50% to blame for that. :-D Seriously.

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  • Puffin

    I have been reading APW since May 2010 and never commented. But this, this I had to comment on because I read it right before I went in to resign from my current easy, safe, achievable, interesting job to take a really hard, challenging, fascinating job. And I needed to hear that this was a good idea particularly since it means putting off having having babies for another couple of years and everyone (except my husband) secretly thinks I might be insane. So thank you for yelling me into going for it. And, incidentally, thank you for yelling me into negotiating for the kind of wedding I wanted and the strength and courage to address the issues surrounding the creation of my new tiny family with my wonderful but all -embracing birth family outright instead of just getting privately upset by it, and for giving me something interesting, engaging (and pretty) to read every day over my lunch!

  • http://magdalenamadrid.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing so much about chasing your dreams. These are some of my favorite posts on your site and I hope you keep sharing and “yelling” through the computer at your readers to follow our dreams.

    Last year I quit my job and moved to Spain, which was a lifelong dream of mine – to live for more than a few months in a foreign country, travel, and continue learning Spanish. I’m so happy I made this move, but now I’m in that place of trying to figure out what my dreams for my career are and what’s next for me after this experience. Once I figure that out, I’ll continue to look back and read your posts about dream chasing because they are so inspiring and action-inducing.

  • http://newcomfortfood.tumblr.com/ JenMac

    Meg, Thank you for sharing this post. When I read your previous post about going to Camp Mighty, I linked to it, immediately wanted to go, was sad that it was two days away, sold out and not an option, went to mightygirl.com, started reading everything I could, and then started my own life list. Like so many things on AWP (and I’m still in the “pre-engaged” state, so I haven’t even gotten into the half of it), it was incredibly inspiring to read, and it really made me think. I’m in a year of transitions (leaving a bad job, moving towards engagement, refocusing my career), and your writings on AWP have helped me so much to understand what it truly means to pursue the kind of life and work I really want, with intention.

    It’s something I have not truly understood, that I needed to learn and that I am still in the process of grasping and implementing. But AWP and your example have helped so much. Thank you for being a source of information, resources and inspiration. Like so many other people here, I appreciate it hugely. And man, I am so going to Camp Mighty next year, and in the meantime, I am going to do everything I can to already be further along my path by then.

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