Letting Go of Excuses

I had an idea.

It just came to me the way ideas do, starting small, with something a friend had done, and then growing every time I fed or watered it with time or energy, or exposed it to the light of day.

Each time I spoke it out loud, it got a little bigger.

But each time it would grow, I would get nervous. It was the same old tape in my head. What if it doesn’t work? What if you fail? What if you run into obstacles you don’t know how to overcome? This is not a good idea.

People are going to laugh.

Just like that, each time the idea would start to grow, I would push it back down to the ground, telling myself those things were true, that everyone would be better off if I would just forget about it.

But I’m sick of letting excuses get in the way of my ideas, good or bad.

Packing light is about letting go of excuses. There are no good excuses for not bringing to life the ideas born in our hearts. Whatever it is that’s getting in the way of us being exactly who we were made to be, of loving our families, of expressing our creativity, of sharing our resources, of growing up, of taking necessary chances, of being radically generous — whatever is keeping us from those things — that’s our baggage.

Are we willing to put it down?

So, no more excuses. I have an idea. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help.

This year I’m turning 30. In a few months, actually. On May 30th.

And I want to do something awesome for my 30th birthday, not necessarily awesome for me. After all, I’ve had a lot of awesome birthdays in my almost-30 years (my mom is the queen of party planning, so I’m not joking when I say I’ve had a lot of really incredible birthdays).

And I definitely don’t need anymore stuff. After all, I’m Packing Light, so I thought it would be really cool to raise $30,000 to give away for my 30th birthday on May 30th.

I talked with Bob Goff at Restore International, and he told me that if we raise $30,000 we can build a whole classroom for the Restore Institute in Uganda. And I know $30,000 is a lot of money, and there’s not a lot of time before May 30th, but I think we can do it.

I have a few ideas for how to raise this much money.

  • Charity dinner — I’m going to host a charity dinner in my community where I invite as many people as possible, charge per-plate, ask for additional donations, and give all the proceeds to the “Raising 30″ classroom project for Restore International. It would be so cool if you would host a similar dinner in your own community.
  • 5K Run — I haven’t picked a date yet, but I thought it would be fun if we all ran 5k on the same day at the same time in our own neighborhoods. We could ask people to sponsor us, and then all wear the same color while we run, to represent the “Raising 30″ Classroom Project for Restore International.
  • Packing Light — In honor of the book I’m releasing in September, Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage (Moody, 2013) let’s go through our garages, attics, and basements and closets and sell as much stuff as we can, and donate whatever we make to the “Raising 30″ classroom project.
  • Birthday Auction — on my actual birthday I’ll be hosting an auction at a local restaurant in Minneapolis, where I’ll auction off items that have been donated from small businesses. You can participate by donated goods or services to be auctioned at my birthday on May 30th. (thank you Matt Appling for this idea). All proceeds from the auction will add to the total for the “Raising 30″ Classroom Project.

I know $30,000 is a lot of money. It’s more than my husband and I made combined last year. But I’m also convinced that if we pool our resources, and invite the community to participate, we’ll come up with enough to make it happen.

There have to be other ideas for raising money, too. I’ll keep you updated as I think of them and would be ecstatic to hear your ideas as well. Either way, I’m done worrying that I won’t reach my goal, or that it’s a dumb idea, or that we’ll encounter obstacles we can’t overcome.

I’m letting go of all my excuses.

Will you join me?

To donate directly to my project, click HERE.

Do you have any other ideas for how we can raise $30,000 by May 30th? How would you like to participate?

About Allison Vesterfelt

I help people uncover their true self through the art of writing. Author of Packing Light. You can connect with me on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. DocSpotts says

    This is such a great idea, Ally. How about selling “Raising 30″ T-shirts? See if Ry will design one for you and ask B if he thinks Blank Apparel might donate or discount some shirts for you to use. Got have some T-shirts if you are going to have a 5K fun run, right?

  2. maria says

    I’d love to donate a lil’ sumpin’, too. It wouldn’t be very much, but hey, it’ll add to the cause!

    • says

      Maria — That would be so amazing! Thanks for offering! I’m still trying to work out details for how to do direct donations. Send me an e-mail (allison@vesterfelt.com) and I’ll be in touch.
      Every little bit helps :)

  3. Ashleigh Dean says

    Woohoo, this is awesome! I teach a Sunday school class for high school girls and we just started going through Love Does. I’ll talk to them on Sunday and see what ideas they have and how we can help!

  4. Stacey Olson says

    Sometimes the managers of restaurants will donate a portion of the evenings proceeds to a good cause. You should ask the manager of the restaurant where you have your birthday auction if he/she would be willing to do that :)

    • says

      Thanks Jordann!! I will keep it up. I’ll figure out a way to post a direct link for donation. Thank you so much for supporting and sharing!

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