Monday, January 5, 2015

Review of "Make it Happen" by Lara Casey

A little bit about me... I've wanted to write children's books for a few years now, and apart from The Way to Obey, I haven't been able to make the dozens of other ideas in my brain and in my journals happen. So when I saw "Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live on Purpose," by Lara Casey, I thought it might be just the thing to help my failure to launch.

Casey writes this book, which is equal parts motivational coach, reflective workbook and memoir, in warm, colloquial language. The most addictive part of the book for me was reading Casey's account of how she battled an eating disorder in college, threw herself into a variety of careers post graduation, launched multiple businesses, struggled through two marriages and rediscovered her Christian faith, which she wrote about with honesty and vulnerability. The story also has a happy ending/new beginning: She now uses her businesses and consulting movement to help others employ their God-given talents in meaningful ways.

I think many readers might gravitate toward this book because they, like me, feel too timid to pursue their dreams, but Casey's story seems to have an opposite trajectory. "Make it Happen" seems to have been Casey's modus operandi. The sheer number of things she "made happen" was mind-boggling to me. She majored in acting, but jumped ship and became a top physical trainer before jumping ship again to get married and help her parents rebuild their Hurricane-Ivan ravaged home. On her honeymoon, she bought a domain name and her wedding consulting company was born. The story continues at this break-neck pace, which made reading it a bit of an edge-of-my-seat experience. (I'm not a big risk taker, if you couldn't tell.) Yet, Casey's low points, many of which were a result of her hasty choices and dogged pursuit of perfection, have tempered her Type A personality and redefined her concept of success. She now advocates setting boundaries on social media and work hours. She pulled back from her skyrocketing success and got off what she calls the "bumpy-scary-extreme-carriage ride" of work life to focus on her crumbling second marriage as well as her faith.

So, Casey's story is what really turned pages for me. But I believe the fourth section of the book, "Your Guide to Make it Happen" is what will be most useful to me this year, as I plan to make concrete steps toward publishing. In a nutshell, the final portion of the book guides readers with practical exercises for evaluating their lives, clearing the clutter, setting purposeful goals and taking action. Many of the questions and writing prompts sprinkled throughout the first three parts of the book reappear here at the end, probably because Casey knew many readers wouldn't stop to do them while they were busy reading her life story.

In conclusion, Casey's story and personality couldn't be more different than my own, but her concluding message rings true. I recommend this book to Christian women who often find themselves far from God in their many pursuits, but who long to trade life as a chronic overachiever and perfection-seeker for a grounded life with priorities in place and a focus on meaningful use of their gifts.

*Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for generously providing a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

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