This time last year everything changed. I remember freaking out at the request of a new employer to buy a kindle. I didn't know where I'd get the money, but it worked out in the end.
It seems a lot of things have managed to work themselves out.
In the past year I've:
Joined The Domino Project and helped sell almost a quarter million dollars in sponsorships for books, something never done before. And I was scared shitless.
I wrote my first piece for Fast Company and was featured in best selling book End Malaria alongside authors like Seth Godin, Pam Slim and other amazing hearts and minds. I also raised over $100k in donations which all went to charity. That felt good.
Put together a stellar team and created Entrepreneur's Creed although it has yet to completely launch.
Wrote 2 books: one was our family history and another was The Builders, a fictitious story about our dreams and being true to who we are.
Traveled to the Dominican Republic, Buffalo (many times), New Jersey and San Francisco.
Wrote over 100 blog posts.
Dealt with death. I miss you Aunt Nella but you still make me laugh daily.
Bought and welcomed into my family the best dog ever, Luna.
Began my dance and voice training and was accepted into a phenomenal dance mentorship program. yay!
And a lot more.
But somehow I don't think it's about the resume or the list of things we accomplish even though it feels good to state them aloud. And while I'm tempted to set loftier goals still for 2012, what I really hope for and want is increased bravery and laughter.
I want to be as human as possible and through that reach astounding heights of unimagined love, confidence and forgiveness.
I want to be me, 100%, no compromise and I want my life to focus around honest conversations in all areas (business, teaching, dance, etc).
This past year has shown me that life doesn't always go as planned. Patience in fact has been a constant theme.
So has letting go of fear.
I lost a great aunt who was like a grandmother to me.
I watched myself freak out over "who I was to become" as The Domino Project came to a close.
And I've struggled with increasing success and expectations.
But what I've come to learn is that we are where we're supposed to be at any given moment. It's this place that's important. This conversation, this smile and this moment of eye contact.
Even in times of sincere doubt where I felt myself just utterly failing and not knowing how to be better. When I felt I was letting everyone down, it still worked out.
So I suppose my lessons from this fierce year are as follows:
1- Money is nice but it won't fix a broken being. To do right with money you must first do right with yourself and that is free.
2- Fame and prestige are appealing but equally act as burdens if you aren't connected to your work, if you secretly want to escape. Seems like it's applies to #1 as well in that it won't fix you; it only magnifies who you already are.
3- Being content with where you are leads to greater ambition. It is a misconception that constant discontentment- which may sound like lack of gratitude- is in alignment with ambition. In fact it hinders the magic of it.
4- There's no destination. You could die tomorrow and that's real. It's about now.
5- You can't fix people; they're on their own path. I have run myself into the ground trying to help people who didn't want to be helped. It only tired me in the end.
6- Sometimes you do want to waste time and money. And that's ok! Spend money on the sweater you love and take the NYC train from the airport instead of a taxi just because; there's no need to rush and it isn't a waste...
7- Climbing the latter of fame and importance: I see a lot of people in NYC trying to be somebody or reach some place. I find it in myself at times. But I try to ignore it not because fame is bad but because the love of fame is futile. And I cant help but remember that family, genuine friendships and a dash of humility and laughter is ever so important. Fame and authenticity aren't mutually exclusive but I just think it becomes increasingly easier to love the former and lose sight of the latter.
8- The way others talk to the world is exactly how they talk and view themselves. Gossipy? Angry? Unforgiving? Scared? Mean? Yep- if they talk to you like that they are talking to themselves like that too.
9- Trust your rhythm- I know I naturally work in sprints. I typically work intensely with huge output for a certain amount of time and then naturally retreat to read and internally build. I felt bad for a long time about this because I thought I had to be 'on' 24/7. I feared that my body wanting to shift directions meant I wouldn't find ambition again and I'd try to force it. But the ambition, fire and passion come back in full force. In fact they never leave, they simply change their look a bit.
10- Just laugh. If you do anything, seek joyous, whole hearted laughter. We take ourselves way too seriously.