A walk through the adventures and lessons of 2015 with a visual Top 10 list….
When my daughters were young, we started a New Year’s tradition of creating vision boards. Our exchange daughter joined us this year and said she’ll bring this tradition back to Germany. From unexpected trips that brought to life elephant love (in Thailand) and “Beauty by the Sea” (Mediterranean and Galilee) to dozens of inspirations and a-ha’s, this year’s vision board provided deep roots and strong wings.
Note to Self: Take time to intentionally envision what you want more of in your life and surround yourself with reminders of what this feels like.
It was a BIG year of celebrations with family members hitting the milestone ages of 16, 18, 21, and 50. We took in some beautiful country across 20 States with visits to see our son at college and at his internship, a southern tour of prospective colleges for oldest daughter, and summer trips south to Texas and north to the Boundary Waters. We also spent time exploring local sites when we hosted my husband’s former exchange brother and family for an extended visit. Near or far… so much to explore!
Note to Self: Put on fresh eyes and drive down the road…always made better when sitting next to the ones you love.
Talking on the phone with a friend in March, I walked by my vision board and the elephants caught my eye. “The elephants are dancing,” I said. “There’s something with us and elephants.” She laughed, “Keep me posted.” A couple weeks later, on a magical Saturday that brought bursts of clarity and support, an impromptu adventure to Thailand presented itself…and we said YES! From exploring serene islands to frolicking with the majestic elephants, this trip Expanded my Capacity for play, adventure, and unfettered joy in ways that continue to shape me.
Note to Self: Even if it makes little logical sense, trust your internal call to joy and stay open to the paths that unfold.
While in Thailand, I felt nudged to host a women’s retreat to share the call to soul adventuring. The day after my return, I came across the teachings of Clarissa Pinkola Estes, further shaping the Wild Women Retreat held on the banks of the Mississippi River. Attended by master coach Leah Campbell Badertscher, this gathering planted seeds for us to co-host the impactful Wild Soul, Wise Women Retreat in Colorado in August… which unleashed additional adventures ahead!
Note to Self: When you boldly follow your soul’s calling, you not only receive grace for life changing adventures, you also become a catalyst for others to follow their own inner wisdom.
Speaking is a growing part of my business as it allows me to share my message and tools with bigger impact while I dedicate a high level of energy to my nonprofit work. I am grateful for this year’s speaking opportunities that introduced me to extraordinary women leaders, servant leadership groups, HR professionals, business and franchise owners, government employees, law school conferences, and graduate students. Thanks to Michael Port for helping me grow mastery (as I seek to help save the world one speech at a time!) and encouraging me to film a new speaker highlight video.
Note to Self: Ready to go to a new level? It’s possible when you get clear on what you what, commit to the work, and put resources in place to help you grow.
In 2011, when I decided to take a year away from my speaking and consulting to focus on helping my Iowa community stop a teen suicide contagion and stabilize itself after being rocked to the core, I never would have predicted the course that has unfolded. As we helped more and more communities, the work organically grew from a project to an institute with research-based models and strong academic and practitioner collaborations. Five years later, I’m still volunteering as director of the National Resilience Institute (NRI) and am in awe of the astounding group of passionate and knowledgeable experts who contract with us as we help change the conversation around what psychosocial resilience looks like, why it matters, and how to cultivate it. From the beginning this work has had a life of its own and I’m deeply grateful for the privilege of steering this ship. If you’re interested, check out NRI’s 2015 highlights.
Note to Self: As a friend of mine says, if God hands you the basketball, you better dunk it. Make your plans but always, always keep yourself open to even more than you can imagine.
This year has been full of networking with outstanding professionals and organizations, exploring synergies and opportunities to support each other. One highlight: NRI researched global leaders on planning for and responding to trauma and we unanimously selected the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) as the organization most aligned with our mission. When we proposed bringing ITC trainers to the U.S., our wise Board of Directors had a better idea: Why don’t you go to Israel and learn in the field? In June, a team of three of us underwent an extraordinary immersion training, followed by a few days of “walking where Jesus walked” (forever changing me). The ITC and NRI currently have a proposal in the works that will powerfully impact the international landscape of trauma preparation and response.
Note to Self: Actively exploring ways to help others who are dedicated to improving our world brings a richness to life and increases collective impact.
Beyond my speaking and retreats, I am grateful to work through our NRI platform to support professionals in the trenches passionately serving our kids and communities. One highlight: When we asked Robert May, Director and Producer of the gut wrenching Kids for Cash documentary, to speak at our annual conference, he not only graciously accepted, but also filmed a TV show and fully participated in the event’s networking events. This led to explorations for NRI to join a pending Scholastic Kids for Cash educational partnership that would support juvenile justice system reform and bring our youth building curriculum to more than 2.5 million educators and students across the country. (Here we are at Scholastic’s NYC headquarters — with Clifford, of course).
Note to Self: When you show up fully and authentically, you prepare fertile ground for awesomeness to grow.
In addition to time with my five sisters who I adore, this year blessed me with a growing circle of sacred sisters supporting each other’s work for our world. One highlight: Tererai Trent of Zimbabwe and I developed an immediate “I see you” sisterhood when she was a guest on my TV show. I subsequently edited one of her (brilliant!) forthcoming books and she returned in the Fall to speak at our NRI conference and spend time with my family. Recently, Tererai planted the seeds of a Hope Keepers mission in my heart… with an opportunity in 2016 for a small group of sisters to make a true difference for the women and children of her home village. Stay tuned for details!
Note to Self: Cherish, protect, and nurture those relationships that allow you to give and receive being seen and fully supported toward your boldest dreams for our world. They are sacred.
On one summer day where the goodness of living in our time fully settled in, I woke up on the east coast after a heartwarming speaking event… and returned home to take in a drive-in movie with my family. From high tech speaking and a jet airplane bringing me home to enjoy a movie (Iowa style) snuggled under the stars in the bed of a pickup truck… all in the same day…it hit me full force: what a time to live! Given the fullness of 2015, I chose to tuck in at home sweet home with no travel while wrapping up the old year and seeing in the new one. Making memories with family and friends (including extra time with our son who is now studying abroad) deeply replenished my energy for a new year of living, learning, and leading.
Note to Self: Roots and wings. Tend to them both.