If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. - the cheshire cat
Setting a focus for the New Year is one of my favorite traditions. It's a time to look back on where you've been and decide where you want to go.
Each year I pick a word to be my theme for the year (mainly because they are easier than resolutions). 2016 was a year of love, 2017 was a year of trust, and 2018 is a year of SISU: an internal spirit that enables you to transform barriers into frontiers.
Looking Back: trust the magic of new beginnings
The last few years have been about finding and owning my voice. Each year has been a new set of lessons about learning to embrace and accept another part of who I am.
This past year I worked on trusting that all the things I've learned about myself are enough and letting things unfold.
I got to see that reflected in what started as a me inviting 5 of my favorite badass women to a photoshoot in the woods turned into Women On A Mission (and I couldn't be happier).
All that trusting that things will unfold the way they should required a lot of patience (and patience is not typically one of my virtues).
But people much wiser that I have taught me time and time again that in the end everything works out exactly as it should, so I took the leap of faith and decided to trust that life was giving me exactly what I needed practice in.
There were a lot of endings and new beginnings but here are some of the highlights:
Less planning and more presence with long dog walks, days spent with no cell service on the lake, painting with 2 year olds
Reconnected with old friends and made lots of new ones
Prioritized the people and things that are most important to me
Gave a keynote for the second year in a row to empower middle school girls
As I began to say goodbye to the familiar and take on new roles, new cities, and new relationships I've had to fully accept the beginners mind. To be okay being uncomfortable with the unknown (again not typically my strong suite).
Starting over on so many levels meant the pace of progress was often much slower that I would like. It meant having to ask for a lot of help and being okay not having all the answers.
While my inner people pleasing perfectionist control freak may not be completely put to rest, she is definitely learning how to go with the flow.
As I get ready for the year ahead, the theme that resonates with where I want to go is SISU.
It also happens to be the name of my Remote Year program and once I learned what it meant I was obsessed with it - so it only seems fitting for it to be my theme for the year.
wait, what is sisu?
Sisu is a Finnish word that doesn't have a direct translation. It roughly means extraordinary courage, endurance, will power, determination, and resolve. An internal spirit that enables you to transform barriers into frontiers.
However it isn't force, it is faith. It is't stubborn, it is inner strength.
Sisu is the knowing that helps you overcome adversity and drives you on a journey - one that often defies logic. So obviously I was curious and needed to learn more about this word.
Looking Forward: A year of sisu
There is a strength within us that is greater than the adversities we endure - but often times we just don't see it.
As I approach the new year, I want to cultivate a new kind of mental toughness. One that is equal parts passion and perseverance. To find and embrace the inner knowing, determination, and resolve that enables you to transform obstacles into opportunities.
In order to see beyond your present limitations you have to challenge the status quo. To reimagine and question what you know to be true, even if just for a moment.
What if what you thought was an obstacle was an opportunity?
What if there was no right answer?
What would you do if you got to make up the rules?
One of my favorite quotes is "when everything is uncertain, anything is possible." What I loved about 2016 was learning to truly love and accept myself and last year learning to trust the process and timing of what is to come.
What I love about SISU is finding the strength to overcome anything in your path, not out of sheer force or willpower but because of an unwavering inner knowing and faith in yourself.
So what are some of the ways I want to apply SISU to 2018?
Grow the reach of Women On A Mission
Enter a Salsa Dancing competition (I'm currently taking a salsa dancing class in each country I visit)
Volunteer with an environmental nonprofit associated with oceans
Have a more regular meditation practice (and by more regular I mean any meditation practice)
Touch all 7 continents
Live The Questions
People usually call me because they are looking for an answer to a question or problem, but I have come to believe it isn't about finding the right answer, it's about asking the right question.
The "right" part of the equation just depends on your perspective.
Years ago my dear friend James Leath challenged me to "Ask better questions." It has been something that has stuck with me throughout the years because it was the first time that I realized if you could change your perspective, you could probably solve your problem.
When you aren't finding the answer you are looking for, change the question and you never know what you might uncover.
In a world that asks us to fit in, be brave enough to stand out.
After all, you can not change the world by trying to be like it. While I may not be sure exactly where this year will lead, I am choosing to focus on (SISU): the potential that exists within.
Okay 2018, let do this!