I consider myself lucky because my birthday falls pretty close to the middle of the year. I can use the time to not only celebrate the prior age, but to assess the first 6 months of the year. While I feel loved on my birthday, I have felt loved on many occasions throughout 2015 so far. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my experience by reviewing the progress on my 2015 New Year Goals.

1. Know Your Worth and Accept Nothing Less

I’m not sure if this sounds as loaded to you as it does to me, but this has been the hardest goal to hold myself to; not because I don’t know my worth, but because serious sacrifice had to be made to pull the trigger on necessary changes. As someone who wants to help others…ALL THE TIME, I had to force myself to take a serious step back and pull out the positives in change. I had to let go of who I was going to hurt, what was going to fail, and all the per-conceived notions I had that only created fear and an epic resistance to making change in my life. I almost pushed myself too far despite indication of personal harm from my emotional, physical and spiritual self. Sometimes you just have to say goodbye to a job, a boyfriend, a friend, or a commitment. I constantly tell myself that ‘I can’t help anyone else if I can’t help myself.’

 I learned that sometimes a new door can’t open until you forcibly slam another. It hurts and it created a state of inner turmoil I was unfamiliar with, but in the end making changes to better my life has already had a domino effect of positively impacting the lives of others which is contrary to my per-conceived notions and expectations. I believe that expectations are the root of all disappointment and until I took a deep dive into my psyche, I didn’t realize the seemingly hard wired expectations I had been carrying around. Change is good, so good.

2. Thank Those Who Need to Be Thanked

I started the year following suit with Mark Zuckerberg’s past year resolution of writing one thank you note every day for all 365 days. I realized after about a month that it was more powerful and more difficult for me to actually “use my words” as we’d say to a 4 year old. I still write many thank yous generally on receipts, napkins, or scratch paper but I took it upon myself to thank someone everyday genuinely with a focus on “using my words.” This goes well beyond the automatic and well mannered responses to strangers. It requires a genuine connection with the individual being thanked regardless of our relationship status.

Those who have reached this point in my blog know that I am a writer. I have always been much better at conveying my feelings in writing; however, the impact of sharing my feelings out loud is noticeable. Not only does it make me feel better, but helps others understand who I am better. I had failed for so long to share that many of the people around me on a regular basis in fact knew close to nothing about me. All and all my communication has greatly benefited from this process. I started to take note of all the times that I’m thinking ‘thank you’ and saying nothing. We as humans want to feel useful and appreciated. It is so integral to any type of success to be able to better communicate and articulate feelings, even when it is engrained in a simple thank you.

3. Let Your Year be Mabered

The Maber in MaberMe means working together with a passion in the primary language of Ethiopia Amharic. This goal had dual meanings for me. Last year I learned a lot of the value of effective collaboration and discovered my purpose. I discovered my talent in managing the many steps required to bring and keep individuals at the table to effectively communicate and collaborate. What starts with self-branding or one’s self discovery of their story and how they want to tell it, ends with facilitation of streamlined communication to strengthen collaboration. The in-between requires strong framing, strategic communication, identification of the current and mission pieces, and constant change.  In a systematic sense, I see myself as a connector. I have a knack for setting up systems and operations utilizing various resources to connect people to create change. While I truly believe much of this is part of my innate and strong female ability to multitask, work with others, and judge/feel emotions (Women are just designed to be CEOs) much of my life experience also led me to this point. I was absolutely put on this earth to help others and make change.

I have stepped out of all the roles I am not passionate about or excellent at. This doesn’t mean I have stopped learning new things, but it does mean I am focusing on what I do well; on my purpose. This leads to the second meaning of this goal which is focused on my focus in life. I believe in and am more passionate about my company’s mission than really anything else in life right now. Let me pause and say, I also have no issue admitting that, taking criticism for it, and losing relationships over it because this passion is what makes me complete.  While I have to admit achieving this part of the goal has been slower going than I would have liked, I am happy to report that this goal will be accomplished by the end of the year.

2015 Words of Wisdom: "You will realize some day that life is not a fight, it is a dance" –Phyllis

I wish I counted how many times I have said this in the past six months. I am known as a “fighter” and I have been fighting for most of my life, but fighting hurts, it causes injury, and can damage others. I would much rather learn to be an excellent dancer with exceptional style, grace, coordination, and companionship. In life we have many dance partners, those who are the awkward highschool dance partners and those who are our close knit salsa partners. I have learned that when you dance in life instead of fight, less damage is done. You may step on someone's foot from time to time or even occasionally knock someone over, but as a dance partner you can help lift them back up. Even the greatest of “enemies” have a story they are living everyday that you know nothing about. I have no desire in life to hurt or fight others. Much of the internal “fighter” in me has nothing to do with anyone else. When I really asked myself who I was really fighting, it came down to a battle with my past, ego, and expectations.  I know this will be a constant process, but my energy has definitely shifted dramatically in this arena.

Thank you for being a part of my life. It has been an honor to receive the gift of your time, energy, intelligence, education, and love. I cannot wait for age 29 and to share it with you all!