Big Hairy Audacious Goals and the Day I told Mary Marantz she was Tall. - Elizabeth Langford

I'm Liz and God designed me to be an encourager, a dreamer, a story teller and most importantly, a Kingdom builder.

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Big Hairy Audacious Goals and the Day I told Mary Marantz she was Tall.


We all have moments that we would like to get a second shot at, where we could hop in our Delorean and turn the clock back. Moments we’d like to tweak or completely wipe off the record if we could. Today, I had one of those moments. While at the Pursuit 31 Conference in Rome, Georgia I told Mary Marantz (of Justin and Mary Photography) that she was a lot taller in person than I thought she would be. Dumb. Da-dumb. Dumb. Dummmbbb. Yep, I told my photography crush that she was tall. Seriously?! I could have told her what an incredible photographer I think she is. How the images she and her husband capture move me in ways that inspire me to work harder and drive me to want to be better. Nope. I told her she was tall. Brilliant.

The first time I heard Mary speak was at WPPI last winter. She gave my favorite talk of the entire conference. She has this ability to so eloquently tell a story, express a thought and share an experience that I literally felt myself moving towards the edge of my seat in the last row in an auditorium that had at least 500 other photographers hanging on her every word.

Her personal story moved me and the fact that she had gone to law school intrigued me. I had planned to go to law school and changed my mind right before taking the LSATs. I was  fascinated that she had found her life and calling in photography, not in what everyone else thought she would (or should) be doing.

But the thing that got me the most excited was when she talked about Big HAGs. Yep, you-read-me-right, HAGs. Big. Hairy. Audacious. Goals. Say what?

I had never heard this term used, although being the geek that googles everything, I googled it and found that it comes from a book called “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. Mary challenged the audience to figure out what their big goals were. Not the little ones. Not the ones you know you can accomplish if you just stop procrastinating but actually get up off the couch and do. The ones that you hold in the silence of your heart. The ones that God knows about but you’re still too shy to even mention it to Him. No joke. Her words changed my life that day, because when you start thinking that big you either get scared and run away or you start to realize that the path for you, the life you are meant to embrace and fulfill is so much bigger than what you can control and what you know at this very moment.

One of my goals sitting in that auditorium at WPPI was to meet Mary. It wasn’t one of my big goals but it was one of my attainable, get-off-the-couch goals. At the time I didn’t know that in less than a year I would attain that goal. I met Mary yesterday for the first time, although she’ll unfortunately probably remember me (if she does at all) for being the short girl that commented on her height. What I wanted to tell her was that she inspires me. ¬†I wanted her to know that her words had stoked a fire in me and had reminded me that even though I’m not ten anymore and I’ll never fulfill that ten-year-old fantasy of being an astronaut (I went to Space Camp, twice) I can still dream. I can still reach for the moon and with hard work, the grace of God and a little bit of magic dust, land in the stars.

So my challenge to you is to start chasing your dreams. Whatever it is. You have been given a gift that is your unique and special talent. One that you can use for the good and service of others in a way that enriches and blesses not only your life but the lives of others. But please try to remember not to say something epically gooberish like “you’re so much taller than I thought you would be” when meeting your celebrity crush. It’s just weird.

A snapshot of the courtyard at Winshape Retreat Center. If you’d like to know more about Pursuit 31 visit the P31 websiteand blog.


Winshape Retreat Center, Rome Georgia

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