Over the past year, I’ve been knee deep in one self-development book or another. The whole year. I’ve read about writing, the Enneagram, becoming courageous…there’s been Brene Brown, embracing my messy life, starting my day, a few different diet books, throw in a few books related to my faith and there you have it. A whole lot of learning. My desire to read ramped back up this year after a several year siesta, and I was delighted to be along for the ride.
Yet…my brain is tired. I think nearly every single book I read taught me something, stretched me, afforded me an opportunity to look at what was in front of me from a different angle. All good, honestly. But over the last week, I haven’t wanted to crack open the ones I have in progress. Instead, reading Becoming, Michelle Obama’s autobiography. A lovely diversion.
What I’ve realized is that I’ve been in preparation mode. Learning, shifting, stretching my thought process, expanding. All of which are important, and helpful for personal growth. It’s part of the change cycle. Upward growth followed by a leveling out. That’s where I am, leveled out, ready to put it into action (which of course will lead to additional growth). I’ve been making micro-shifts along the way, but now I feel a stirring inside me to do more.
The growth, the leveling factors into the word I’ve chosen for the new year. Interestingly, I didn’t work at finding this word, I feel like it found me. As I rolled into the later part of the year, I felt it bubbling up. A whisper in my mind. The thought that I have important ideas to share, contributions to make and I’ve spent a great deal of time avoiding using my voice, but now it’s time.
BOLD. It’s the word that will be a compass for me in the coming year. Challenging me. Pushing to find opportunities to use my voice without fear. I believe the time is now because I’ve done the work to figure out what my voice is. What is true to me. Over this last year, I’ve been exposed to situations where others are using their voice in different ways. At times, for productive conversations, and in other moments, speaking from a place that felt like anger. I’ve found that when others speak of causes or situations from a place of outrage, I connect less than when the conversation is approached from the perspective of finding a path forward. Yet, I know that some people might connect differently.
My BOLD represents my authentic self. The brave me who stays true to who I am. Who does not compromise myself in order to fit in. Who writes and speaks BOLDLY for the purpose of growth, and learning, and understanding. I don’t have the map of what that will look like, a little, ok, a lot, scary. I’m up for it. I don’t need all the answers to get going. That’s part of being BOLD.
Now it’s your turn. What word has been rolling around in your mind, in your heart? What will be your guidepost for the coming year? Play with it, let it live within you, and when it’s ready, the word will become clear, because it’s been there the entire time.