|Each item on my list hit me just like this photo, mostly for good|
As we close 2013, I am compelled to look back at that the past year and sift through everything for the all the lessons I need to take forward with me. So much has happened since Jan 1, I am truly hard pressed to pick the most important or significant happenings but I'm forcing myself to do so. Here goes - the top 5 discoveries about myself and/or my business from 2013:
1. I am not a pet person and I am not evil because of it.
At some point over the second full year we have owned our lovable dachshund, Chica, I realized that I am not a pet person. My temperament and natural instincts do not jive with animals in a long term relationship. The bigger discovery in this, I am not evil because of it. American culture makes non-animal lovers out to be evil, sinister or unkind people. That fact was half the battle with my coming to terms with my condition as non-pet person. I wanted to be a pet person. I'd chastised myself for not warming up to it, even as we adopted and bonded with an adorable dog. Now, I love our dog and care for her deeply and I'm doing my best to cherish the time I have with her but I'm doing it in freedom of accepting my status as a non-pet person.
2. My company is going to change the country's discussion on Inclusion and Diversity.
One year ago now, I'd imagined that my business would crack into more corporate opportunities. I did not know how or when or what those opportunities would look like but I knew we'd somehow make an impact and move into the corporate arena. I'm super grateful for a call back in the late spring from a former colleague of mine at The Home Depot that set this new influence into motion. Between my work on a contract for Accenture and The Home Depot project, Relationships Matter Now is a new and distinctive voice in Inclusion and Diversity. We are being sought for conferences and across industries for consultation on how to best move forward inclusion and diversity strategies. For us it is simple, taking RMN's brand promise of engage, collaborate and lead, we will change the way companies view and implement inclusion as a strategy to move their businesses forward in the 21st century.
3. I am not an angry person.
This is a very recent and fresh discovery. See my post from last week for more elaboration here. I love this one because society feeds that false narrative to strong, forward thinking black women any opportunity it can. I could name many examples recent and in the past that confirm that the world would like us to buy the narrative that black women who speak their minds and push forward their causes are angry. Hell, I'd even given myself an excuse for my "anger". It worked. Until it didn't. You see, I have much evidence that I am a lot of things, passionate, powerful, emotive, assertive, outspoken but not angry. This discovery is tied with the next one for my favorites of the year.
4. My intentionality for connections propels my life and business.
One of the most important needs I have is the need for connectedness. I believe I need to be connected much more than others due to my mom's departure early in life. As I've aged, I have perfected the art of extending the branch for connection to everyone I meet. It is fascinating to watch me in action. I could tell you story-after-story of how this impacted me this year but only one story matters... the story of meeting Ernestine Beck-Fulghum. This woman was "randomly" seated in an audience of over 100 people who came to hear me speak about strategic planning at a conference for elected officials in Illinois last Oct. As I closed the successful talk - about 80% of the attendees rushed forward, I did what I always do in this case - looked for connection points with each person who took the time to come and meet me. My connection to Ms. Beck-Fulghum was my mom's hometown of Robbins, IL. That one fact and my ability to quickly articulate it connected me with someone who knew my mom, my hero, and I am forever grateful for that encounter. I have no idea where it will lead but it changed my whole year.
5. Building gratefulness into my life physically.
Picking up the idea from my Twitter BFF, I started an awesome jar to record all the good and great things that happened to me, my family and my business this year. The idea, is to record on paper every time something awesome happens and collect it in a visible place. At the end of the year, you are to open it up and acknowledge and be grateful for all the good that has happened. It is full as I look at it now and I can't wait to go through the papers tomorrow night. What I love the most about the concept is the intentional act of stopping and recording the good. Of course, we remember good things but most often we remember and carry the hurts, the slights, the disappointments. I feel them in my body as I type this. It is a full 360 degree exercise to intentionally think about and record good. I also feel the good things I put in the jar as I write about them. I want to fill my jar with double the good things in 2014.
As I move into the new year and start to lay out my objectives, I am grateful for these discoveries that have impacted my life and business greatly. What are the discoveries of 2013 that propel you into the new year?