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A few years ago, I started setting a theme for each year. I'm not exactly sure how I backed into this practice, but it has become a signficant - and fun - exercise to integrate into my personal visioning and planning.

As you prepare for a new year and, inevitably, think about what the year holds for you, I'd like to suggest that you adopt a theme that reflects what you want your year to represent.

Let me explain....

A theme is a recurring idea you'd like to invite. It might be thought of as a central idea, subject or issue. As you imagine a theme for yourself, allow it to become a reference or decision point for the year....

If hindsight is 2020 then this is the year for 2020 vision. What are the life lessons that past experiences have gifted to you? How will these propel you forward? What’s in the future for you? How do you envision the places and people you choose to spend time with? This is the year. Envision it. Make it happen. It's within your power. Expect a year of clarity and wisdom. ~Kathy~

To pass through a mountain, we have to go through a tunnel.

Recently, I was driving to and from Nashville, Tennessee and I had the joy of driving through the Cherokee National Forest.

It was gorgeous and there were tunnels - lots of them!

As I approached each tunnel, I got nervous for some reason. 

I had to come to terms with the fact that I don't like tunnels. I know they present an efficient route through a mountain but, for me, they are dark and scary - unlike the picture I've included above (it's how I like to envision tunnels now).

I realized that when we're in a tunnel, we don't exactly know how...

Negative thoughts de-energize us and hold us in “stuck.” Identify negative phrases. Replace them with more hopeful sentiments. Consistently choose positive energizing words - reach for incremental improvement. Write your positive statements down. Read them. Say them out loud. Repeat. There’s science to support it. A feeling of "stuck" can be changed to “sticky” - and within that small change there is room for a new beginning. ~Kathy~

You are never alone.

There are times when we feel separated from what we perceive to be “the majority.” We might be going through something or experiencing something that makes us feel different.

When this happens, remember that you are never alone. There is a pack for you.

There are others who are experiencing warrior spirit and encountering some unexpected life events – i.e., events that catapult us forward into growth.

Whatever you are experiencing that makes you feel alone is a moment-in-time poised to launch you to a new place – a better place – a wiser place.

One of Carolyn Myss’ books (Sacred Contracts) posed a questio...

Challenges are inevitable.

Optimism and positive leadership are optional and, if applied, can transform a journey from one of difficulty to one filled with opportunity and purpose. A leader chooses how to lead – each day – and with every word and action.

Three leadership principles are key:

Calm assurance – a leader must convey a confidence that all is well and that all will be well. The role of the leader is to offer calm assurance that the storm will pass, that thriving is inevitable and that the team is capable of weathering the storm - together. It is the leader who stands at the helm and points in the direct...

I was leading a recent nonprofit board retreat when one of the board members prompted me to chuckle with this Marine Corps saying: "We have done so much for so long with so little, we could probably do everything with nothing forever." It was offered within the context of a discussion about envisioning, inviting and planning for financial abundance at this particular nonprofit. So many of us function with this frame of reference - in our nonprofits and even in some areas of our lives. There is so much more for us if we can envision what we want, believe it is possible and plan for its inevitability. Wishing you...

I wonder....What would the world of work be like if we all communicated like it was the first week of work? Imagine new employees - imagine coworkers. We might listen more - talk less - smile more - try harder. I think the world of work could be a kinder place. I wish we were more careful with one another - like when relationships are new and fresh. It's possible to get back there. Let me know if I can help. ~Kathy~

Enjoy your summer vacation a little more. Bring these life preservers with you.

Life Preserver #1: Learn to say "I'm sorry." 

Learning to say these two words with sincerity can save a relationship. It's one of the hardest things to say and can also be the easiest. When a conversation takes a bad turn, insert this Dale Carnegie phrase (and mean it): "I may be wrong. I often am."

Life Preserver #2: Don't take the bait or dangle it. 

Bait is attached to a hook and hooks can be dangerous. If you've had a bad day, it's never a good day for an important conversation. Run it off. Breathe it out. Shake it off - literally. Delaying a...

What have been your moments of expansion (i.e., moments that have stretched you in ways that you could not have imagined). These moments may stretch you still or they may be distant and formative memories. These moments hold our life stories - they inspire our growth - and hold life's lessons. Intend to take in the positive lessons - they are here to propel you. ~Kathy~ (Let Eric Whitacre's "Sleep" inspire reflection, expansion and deep breaths - the text Robert Frost's poem, "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.")

"Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know....

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