DISCLAIMER: this post is written by our founder, unfiltered, hardly edited, and written with just the excitement of dreams, read on friends!
“At the beginning of December, I received a voicemail from a coworker (at my other job) asking to give her a call back for a “time-sensitive” conversation. Anyone else, when they hear a combination of those words, feel some anxiety? I did.
Well this is how the conversation went (following some rapport over the struggles of contacts vs. glasses):
“So hey, for some context, what do you know about IF:?”
I gave some semblance of a response, but was mostly completely confused because this is not where I thought the conversation would go. For your context, IF: is an organization that is all about women and discipleship (aka mentorship). Their mission is to “equip women with gospel-centered resources, events, and community so that they may learn about who God is and disciple other women right where they are.” IF: started with a gathering in Dallas and has grown over the last six years to become a global community of women, their annual gatherings being on average the size of 4,000.
“Well, I was on your website looking at a planner for my daughter when I noticed that your mission and values about intentionality, simplicity, and ‘be’ fall right in line with the upcoming theme of IF:Gathering 2020. So I reached out to the founder [context: they’re friends] and asked about the possibility of Kindred & Co being a vendor at the upcoming gathering.”
My jaw was probably somewhere on the floor at this point.
Fast forward a couple of days and I’m heading into a meeting with the Sponsorship Manager of IF:Gathering where she said “Just to be super clear, we have an open vendor spot this year (super rare given the gathering is in February) and it’s 100% yours if you want it, at no cost. Do you need time to think about it?”
Absolutely not, the answer was YES. Let the excitement and the shock of what all this means sink in: conference of 3,000 women in attendance at Dallas, with local gatherings live-streaming around the nation, and small business newly started Kindred & Co gets to be one of the few vendors. EEK.
I waited to tell anyone about this until the final contract and agreement had arrived to sign. It was incredibly surreal to sign an agreement for Kindred & Co as “CEO / Founder,” with the reality being that I got to pick those titles, rather than have one assigned to me. These were titles I would never have imagined for myself, but ones my husben encouraged me to use because they were 100% true of what this next stage held.
Sending the signed agreement and contract back, the fears, worries, and lies started to talk loudly in my head: I’m not good enough for this. I’m too small of a business for this. Hello, imposter syndrome. Who do I think I am to say yes to such an opportunity? There’s too much going on for this to be possible. There’s too much to do before the event, how am I ever going to get it all done? What do I even need to get done? Where do I even start? This is going to be a total disaster. I’m not ready for this. This is too much, too soon.
Maybe some of those worries and fears had some truth to it – there was going to be a lot to do, I do have little time (with being gone for 3 weeks leading up to it), I don’t really know where to start, and it was a lot in a short amount of time.
But a lot of those other things weren’t true and the beauty of a kindred community is that they are there to call out the lies, speak the truth, celebrate with us, and encourage us forward with helping hands. Which is exactly what mine did. I probably would have told very few people if not for my husben who shared about it whenever we saw friends. I probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to say yes if it weren’t for kindred friends saying “I’m so proud of you,” or “Praying for the courage to say yes.” I probably wouldn’t have believed IF:Gathering wanted me if the Sponsorship Manager hadn’t said, “we were holding this spot for something special and I believe God kept it for this [Kindred & Co]…we are excited to be a part of your small business’ story, journey and to see how God uses this conference to reach a greater community for your business.”
And maybe the two greatest things two kindred friends said to me were “You belong there” and “Thanking God for dreams that are larger than what we can even imagine for ourselves.” The first comment significant because it addressed the deep lie I was believing that I was not worthy. Both significant because they spoke of the truths that 1) I didn’t get this opportunity out of anything I had done, but was a grace gift from God and 2) His plans and gifts tend to be wilder and far bigger than we imagine for ourselves and all it takes is a “yes” from us.
I can’t let the fear I have, the worries and anxieties, be the dictators of my life when such great opportunity and a grace filled gift is before me. Like the Princess Diaries says “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.”
UPDATE to POST: For all the information and thoughts and feelings Post IF:Gathering 2020, click here.
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