Lessons of 2017






Amazing fundraisers.

Record setting policy wins.

Quality time with family and friends.

The Upside of Adversity

Or should it be reversed and its context honored?

Quality time: I was able to visit my home state no less than once a month to have quality time with my family and friends.

Record setting year: At work, I led a team of lobbyists that passed a lot of cool, life saving laws.

Amazing fundraisers: I chaired two philanthropic events that raised more money than they had in the history of the organization. Shout out to everyone who helped to make this happen because I didn’t do it alone.

Awards: I got two really cool community servant and leadership awards from groups I hold in high esteem.

Rejection: I got rejected from a program I felt I had to do but really didn’t need to do or have the time to do (this goes in the plus category).

Disappointment: I was disappointed by co-workers who I thought were looking to the bigger picture with me.

Surgery: I had my first surgery ever, and before it I experienced a lot of pain with a side of emotional baggage.

Death: I lost a parent.

Setting A Narrative

I had a tough year. There’s no doubt about that part of my story. But how do I choose to see it and how will I tell it to others? Heck, how have I been telling it to others? And what type of table is this narrative setting for myself?

I have to give credit where credit is due. Thank you, 2017, for helping me to understand that the journey of life is worth living in the conscious space. That I deserve the very best, I should be present when with others, I should give myself the necessary space to be a bad ass, and I should be fearless. And most importantly, thank you, 2017, for the gift of emotion and feelings. These are the things that matter most, and I’m placing them in my 2018 toolbox.

If you think this is about me, me healing or complaining about 2017, you’re missing the point. It’s really about perception and honoring what’s in your universe. A really good friend of mine always says, “The universe is mental.” I believe it is, and I believe if you don’t learn your lesson the first time it will repeat itself over and over and over. I’m currently in a cycle where I already know how a story will end, but I haven’t learned the lesson (insert visual of hitting head on a brick wall). I’ll get it together one of these days.

Back to the point: how honest you are with yourself in seeing where you are and owning it is the hard part of the work. If you wrap that thought with a shiny bow, now you know just how important perception is in doing that work.

So, my list started in the worst way, and I noticed that people all around me were apologizing… ALL the time. That’s not the energy I wanted in the universe. I wanted the most positive energy to set me into the new year. That’s why I flipped it. By stating out loud what was the most obvious to me and ranking it differently, I started to get different responses from others. And they were the give-you-goosebumps-make-your-hair-stand-on-the-back-of-your-neck-and-do-a-belly-dance type of good responses.

Why does this matter?

Change Maker That Builds Movements

I’m a change maker that builds movements and asks people to come along for the ride. Sometimes they’re legislative movements, sometimes they’re fundraising movements, and other times they’re do gooder movements. To lead in those spaces, a leader must show up in his or her most authentic, inspiring way during the moment he or she steps up and chooses to lead.

By changing the order of things and my perception, I unknowingly hit a reset button. That reset allowed me to finish the year from a place of strength.

Each year I pick a phrase or a word that is the flair I want to put on everything I do for the next 365 days. #BeEpic was it for 2017 and drumroll…2018 will be the year that is #Monumental. If it’s not monumental, it will be parking lot material and will not deserve my attention. I will also use the word monumental every single day. Don’t be surprised if you’re in my ecosystem if you start saying it, too.

Framing Your Own Story

Do you need to shift your perception on something BIG in your life? Are you working on an advocacy campaign and you’re stuck? If so, have you shifted your perception of your allies, opponents, targets, or how you’re framing your story? What is your word of 2018? These are all things I can’t wait to hear. Send me a note on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook and let’s talk! I want to cheer you on as we begin to have a fantastic and monumental year!

Before you move on to another article, let me tell you about this picture. This was taken two weeks after major surgery, the night I received an award, and many of my closest friends were there to cheer me on. Proof that 2017 was an epic year of many proportions.

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