Make It Happen For Yourself!

Sometimes we sit back and wait for things to happen to or for us, even if we don’t realize that’s what we’re doing.  In past blog posts, I’ve encouraged readers to submit articles and/or designs to magazines or book proposals and enter quilts in shows.  There are times when someone will hear you speak or see your design and they seek you out for publication or an engagement.  But, for the most part, if we don’t sell ourselves and work to promote our own selves, we’re not going to get anywhere.

A friend who is also a designer and blogger had let me know that she and her family were moving to Wichita, KS, where I was scheduled to speak but she thought she was going to be arriving the day after my presentation.  She later found out that she would be arriving a few days before I was speaking and would be able to attend.  I noticed her before the second presentation and had planned to mention her name and that she had just moved to town but before I could . . she made her own grand entrance.  I was so surprised and happy to see her up on stage during “Show & Share”.  Not only had she flown in the night before, but she brought something for Show & Share and jumped right in to make herself a part of this new group.  During break, I was kinda looking for her and Cindy asked if I’d found her.  I said “No!  She’s probably back there signing up to be president of the guild!”  🙂

I do believe that too often we sit back and wait for someone to make us feel welcome in a new group, or for something good to happen to us.  Really . . if there’s something you’re wanting to happen in your life . . personal or professional . . take a lesson from my friend, Jen, and make it happen for yourself!



  1. 1


    I find that that only works if you have “that” kind of personality or have a history of good outcomes when you put yourself out there…

    I have to warm up & I have a personality that does not blend with everyone… (I’ve also been shot down or completely ignored in social situations – like I started a sentence & no one stopped long enough to realize so I retreated…)

    It is getting easier for me now that I am “Jacob’s mom”, becasue they really want to see (& pet) him.

    • 1.1


      I’m certainly no expert but I can say that in my earlier years I was somewhat shy. In the recent years, I realized that if I wanted to travel and teach quilting, I had to promote myself . . no one else was going to do it. If I wanted a quilt design to appear in a magazine, I was going to have to take the steps to make it happen . . no one else was going to do it. I suppose it all depends on how badly you want something to happen . . whether we decide to sit back and continue wishing it would happen or take those first steps to make it happen.

      As far as the outcome, again . . it’s how badly we want it to happen. I’ve heard of lots of famous and successful people who fell flat on their face many times before finally getting that great break.

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    Persistence does seem to pay off, from my experience in life. What fun that your friend, Jen, took you by surprise with her assertiveness in Wichita!

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    I think it also has to do with the guild…
    The first guild I joined I brought Show n Share the first couple of times and still couldn’t get anyone to converse with me and felt like an outsider the whole year I was a member, even though I joined lots of classes and groups…
    The second guild I joined was the perfect fit for me and am now vice-president…. The group made the difference and I am so glad I found them.

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    Diane says

    Thanks, Judy, your timing is perfect. I just joined a big quilt guild and this Monday coming up is the 1st meeting I will be able to attend. I keep going back and forth about it. I’m basically a shy person, but it’s really time to get out and meet new quilting people. Your words are confirmation that I’m moving in the right direction, even if it’s a little uncomfortable at first– New things usually are.

    • 4.1

      Cindy says

      Diane, try volunteering for something right off the bat, if you can. I joined a guild where I didn’t really know anybody and they needed an emergency newsletter editor. I volunteered and it wasn’t long before I knew everyone and they all knew me!

      And I’m shy and quiet, just like Judy.

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    Thanks Judy. I’m definitely a “jump in with both feet” kinda girl. It helps that this is my 4th or 5th time to be the new girl at a new guild. Wichita is our 7th city in 13 years. Hopefully, the roller coaster is slowing. Thanks again. Your lecture was wonderful.

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    This is true, but taking the initiative can also be very difficult for those of us with introverted personalities! I belong to a guild with 350+ members — I joined in 2007 — and I’ve just now started to become involved and make new friends. With so many people and lots of little cliques, it’s just a bit overwhelming to us folks who aren’t typically outgoing!

    But, just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean it’s not do-able. We just have to be a little more concerted in our efforts — but it’s well worth it!

    If you’re new to a guild, ask if they have a mentoring program! Our guild just started doing that, so that new members had someone to sit with and show them the ropes. And would you like to know who one of our new mentors is? That’s right, yours truly!

    Denise 🙂

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    Jane says

    I think for those of you who are shy or introverted, maybe being in the background is what you are comfortable with and that’s perfectly okay in my opinion. IF you want to get out there and involved it’s up to YOU and no one else, unfortunately. I agree with Judy…..we are the only ones who can make things happen for ourselves. If we are unhappy, then we are the only ones who can find our happiness….no one but you is responsible for your happiness, your weight loss or gain, your skill level at quilting, etc, etc.

    I couldn’t imagine being in a guild with hundreds of people….ours has about 30 but we never get that many show up at once! :o)

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    A dream will remain only a dream unless you take the steps to turn them into reality. The first step is usually the hardest, but the end is so worth it!!

    I was 46 when I went back to school. I worked full time during the day and took classes at night (still being a wife and mother to three teens). I was 48 when I became an LVN. I returned to school and graduated becoming an RN at 55 (still a wife, mom and working 40+ hrs week at my job).

    You are never too old to reach your goals. We just have to be a little more creative on reaching them!!

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    Trish says

    This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, Judy! I was just sitting here thinking, “I want to DO something” right before I read your article. The problem is not knowing where to start… I would LOVE to have an article and/or pattern published, but where do you find info on submitting things? How do you “break into” the world of quilting when there are so many super talented quilters out there to compete with?