[Editor's note: this is a re-post from January 2012. Part 4 of a series of year-end posts I write each year. When we migrated to the new site design, all the old posts were archived. Here are posts 1, 2 and 3]
Every year, I pick a word to frame my development. I also pick a "theme song" to underscore my morning mindset work. I get to dig in and rock on each morning with a tune that pretty much sets me up for the day I want to have, the life and business I want to create.
Last year, my word was "ENTHUSIASM" (yes, I decided on all caps about half way through the year) - the idea being to infuse more spirit into everything I was doing. My theme song was Matthew West's "The Motions". I would lip sync and sing and conjure my own "rock videos" in my living room - like I was going to be on American Idol or something. It was funny, but it was also a very honest reflection of the kind of enthusiasm I really wanted to imbue in every action, every effort, every everything in 2011.
This year, after a daunting 2011 (hey, I asked for it!), I figured I needed to power up a bit, and picked "brave" as my word o' the year. I also selected Nichole Nordeman's song by the same name (some of the lyrics are in the boxes below).
"The gate is wide, the road is paved in moderation.
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in."
There were a lot of obstacles in 2011 - many of which I created for myself when I stopped trusting my gut and started listening to the cacophonous noise around me. I learned a lot about what not to do - the hard way, I might add. By the middle of the year, I was poised to dissolve a division of my business. Originally, I had big hopes for it. But it got more unwieldy, and difficult to navigate. Frankly, it hurt, and created anxiety every time I thought about it.
"Welcome to the middle ground. It's safe and sound.
And until now, it's where I've been. "
I trusted people that I thought knew better than me.
I invested a lot of time, energy and money into creating what someone else told me I should do (this happened repeatedly - silly me). Instead of focusing on where my heart was leading, I was busy building a company (and a life) that couldn't stand on it's own. And then it started to crumble.
"'Cause it's been fear that's tied me down to everything.
But it's been love - your love - that cuts the strings."
One night in early June, I remember laying awake, crying - that hard, fearful, body shuddering sobbing that should keep any decent husband awake. I was gripped in complete and total fear about something in my business that was going horribly awry. And no amount of asking for help was going to fix it. All my husband could think to do was pat me on my shoulder in an effort to comfort me.
And in that moment, I saw the tortuous choice in before me: let the business crash and burn completely, or cut off the dead parts and rehabilitate what was left according to my own inner wisdom.
"So long, Status Quo! I think I'll just let go. You make me wanna be Brave.
The way it always was is no longer good enough. You make me wanna be Brave."
Calm washed over me and the husband went back to snoring. A good sign. I realized that things may not be the way I wanted them to be, but that was actually going to be the best thing possible for me. By "starting over" I had a clean slate, and the ability to clear the decks and do things right - the way my heart was calling me to do it.
I realized that, for me, doing things the way they've always been done doesn't always make sense. That's not my mold, not my paradigm. It cost me tens of thousands of dollars, and precious lost time to figure that out. In the end, I regained my personal sense of invincibility - or at least I started to.
It's like the old painting in the attic. It's still a masterpiece, but it needs to be cleaned up again.
"I am small, and I speak when I'm spoken to. Yet I am willing to risk it all."
And I spent the second half of the year, cleaning up the masterpiece. In the process, I rediscovered what matters most to me: connecting with brilliantly gifted people, sharing stories, entertaining, informing, and inspiring others to do big things in the world.
It was arduous, and at times, I wasn't sure I was doing things "right". Then, almost magically, things started happening. People came from out of nowhere, and wheels were set in motion for this new adventure. Crazy new ideas, scary and thrilling all at the same time, are taking shape now, where once I thought there was nothing to salvage.
"I'm ready to jump - even ready to fall.
Why did I take this vow of compromise? Why did I try to keep it all inside?"
My vision for 2012 is about being brave - and that means being brave enough to know and accept boundaries. Brave doesn't mean stupid. It means speaking up when the Emperor is unclothed. It means doing what's right for me, even if other people are shaking their heads. It means putting up a pay wall so I can work more closely with the people that love me (and who I love right back!). It means less grasping for straws, or throwing spaghetti, and more honing my craft and enjoying my life.
It means more focus on Spirit, and a holistic approach to building my business and my life - and inspiring you to do the same, if you're willing. Bridging that connection - between the spiritual and the practical of life and business - is where I've felt drawn for years, but I couldn't confidently form the words to say what I believe needs to be said. Now, having come through the last year with all my parts and pieces intact, I'm ready to "jump - even ready to fall" into this "spiritreneurial" space (hat tip to Laurie Beth Jones for the word).
Will you join me?