HAPPY NEW YEAR!  OK, we are 6 days in so you might be thinking I'm a little late to the party!  But I like to think of the whole month of January as a time to reflect on what we learned the previous year and what we intend to do in the upcoming year.  I do the same thing for my birthday...one day isn't enough!  I celebrate a birthday month!  LOL

So I was thinking about 2017 and what I learned. It was a really rough start to my year.  My beloved father died in the hospital on January 17th.  2016 had been a roller coaster and I thought I had him in a good situation in independent living when he passed. 

In going through Dad's stuff, I came across his passport.  He had renewed his passport in 2016.  Where was he thinking about going?  Was he planning to take that trip to South America he'd shared with me?  He had always wanted to backpack across Chile but he never did it.  His newest passport - which ended up with no stamps - made me pause. And think. And realize - once again but this time with feeling - that LIFE IS SHORT and I should DO IT NOW.

I decided to do the things I was afraid to do before because I was afraid. Or I told myself, "I don't have the money to do that." Or I told myself, "That will be hard." What happened?  I listened not to those same old thoughts.  I listened to Dad and his blank passport.  I decided to take the Martha Beck life coach training I had wanted to take.  Was it expensive? You betcha.  I did it anyway.

I decided that what I really want to do is to write and help other people write.  What happened?  I decided to quit my job.  Did my job pay well?  You betcha. Was I scared?  You better believe it.  I did it anyway.

This year, I turned everything on its head.  I faced my fears.  I identified what I wanted.  And now, thinking back on how I got here, I realized:

I got here through the Power of Personal Connections.

I joined a networking group where I met my first client. She took a chance on me and we published her book together.

I continued to join networking groups where I can support other entrepreneurs and non-profits.  My business is mankind! (And womankind.) I am doing things and supporting groups I LOVE!

I took the life coaching course where I met an amazing group of fellow Wayfinders. I met a number of women (and a couple of men) who are just incredible and like-minded!  We are all practicing courage every day. They are AMAZING and they keep me inspired!

Through my personal connections through my networking groups and my life coach training, I have learned, grown, explored, delighted, discovered, and experienced things I never would have on my own. While I quit my corporate job and don't have co-workers, I feel even more supported and encouraged every day by these wonderful people who are part of my tribe. 

While I value social media, I now see it as a means to connect daily with the people with whom I have a personal connection.  I like to meet the people I network with in person (when possible - Zoom helps too.) Having these relationships is vital to my business, to their business, but more than that...it is vital to my growth as a person.  I have changed during 2017 because of the people I lost and the people who I've gained.  I hope I have given these wonderful peeps just as much.

My life is a rich tapestry of the family, friendships, biz associates, acquaintances, and mentors!  These personal connections are like travel in that they have broadened my horizons.  My passport of life gained many new "stamps" in 2017, and I look forward to more in 2018. I think Dad would be proud.