Oh, What a Year It Was!

I recently shared with our Best Life Design Community, an exercise by Dan Pearce of Single Dad Laughing (http://bit.ly/fGL6t0) shaking up the New Year’s resolutions process. 

Instead of listing everything he wanted to happen in the New Year, Dan created a future memory at the beginning of the year about how the year progressed.

We encouraged our Community to write their own 2011 in review, so it’s only right that I get the ball rolling and share mine. 

Here  it goes…

I remember my accountability partner, Deb, saying in our first call in January, “This is going to be the best year of our lives!” I had no idea how prophetic this would be. What a year!

What am I most proud? 

It was a year that I more strongly than ever prioritized family over work, and they felt this. Monte and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary and our kids are thriving at school and in life. They amaze me daily and harbor no doubts that they’re the greatest gifts ever given to us. We created lifetime memories this year, traveling around the world and snuggling in together at home.

Hitting 45 didn’t slow me down one bit. In fact, I’m feeling healthier and stronger than ever. I am exercising regularly, and especially enjoy going for walks through our orchard and at the state park that is practically in our front yard.  Hard to believe how I used to take that park for granted. Keeping a water bottle handy and staying hydrated has noticeably helped my energy level.

Monte and I agreed at the beginning of the year that we would be better about regularly getting together with our friends, and we were true to this. We’ve had some great times with these couples we’re so fortunate to call friends. And of course I leave each of my regular girlfriend meet-ups full of energy – belly laughs galore.  

I’ve also met some exceptional new people, both online and in person. My theme for this year was collaboration, and these relationships have brought such richness to my life. I’ve connected with gifted thought leaders and authors who are authentic and passionate about serving others. They’re genuinely good people. Working and playing with them this year has blessed my life tremendously.

Best Life Design has grown beyond my expectations. Seeing all of these passionate, positive leaders coming together to support each other in making more money in a way that fuels their life and allows them to do more of their great work in the world warms my heart beyond words. I’m happy to see there’s a renewed sense of hope, after the challenges many people experienced last year.

I’ve been much more regular in my mindfulness meditation practice, and can feel the difference. I’m more present and calm. Looking back, I’ve experienced some of my best ideas thanks to this practice. 

And it has been a year of taking action on these ideas and walking in integrity. If I made a promise, I kept it. I ended up doing fewer projects, but each one was fulfilling and rewarding, allowing me to make a bigger impact. Speaking of making an impact… our second annual Make an Impact LIVE! helped hundreds of people become stronger leaders and raised thousands of dollars for charity, including my work with underprivileged kids.

Spending the first week of the New Year setting up my calendar and daily routines to support my highest priorities got me off to a strong start. A key difference through the year was “closing the loop” as my friend Frank says. I prioritized, stayed focused, and eradicated that old 80-90% done thing that wasn’t serving anyone. Makes me smile to say that’s in my past :) 

It’s been a year of strong accountability and tremendous support from my family, friends, accountability partner, mastermind group, and colleagues. Each year moving forward, I know I will continue to grow in doing meaningful work that truly helps others and creates powerful momentum for my mission. It’s been a year of playing bigger and I’m just warming up, knowing God’s vision for my life is way bigger than what I can conceive.

As I thought it might, an important piece of helping me stay focused and see things through was the amount of clutter I eliminated in my life. From my symbolic huge closet clean up on New Year’s Day (that seems so long ago!) to the ongoing organizing I’ve done at home and at my office, it’s now clear how much energy this freed up for me to experience this most amazing year. Out with the old, in with the new!

Another practice I started on New Year’s Day has been life changing. That day I started a journal with a simple line down the middle of each page with the word Give on the left and Receive on the right. I started it with an intention of being a more conscious steward of all I’m given and a conduit of abundance for others. I started with identifying a minimum of 3 things I give and am gifted each day. My lists are much longer now – easily a dozen items. I see so clearly that none of what I have is mine – it’s all gift to share.

I am in awe of the abundance that surrounds us and savor the paradox that the path to more is through giving. My new level of stewardship far surpasses my generous financial tithe, and includes my time, energy, and full self. I’m more committed than ever to helping others design and live their best life based on the principle that to whom more is given, more is expected.

I had an inkling when I finished Walking with Justice: A True Story about the Power of Respect in January that its message would resonate around the world.  Perhaps this began in the moment I sat down to write and thought, “This is so big, where do I start?” and heard the judge say, “Just sit, Mollie, I’ll write.” I cherish the time I spent bringing my mentor back to life, and sharing his goodness and wisdom with others. A silent promise also came to life with this labor of love. When he passed, I thought, “I’m such a better person for having known you. I promise you that I will help others better themselves, through my having known you.” I didn’t yet have a vision for this book, but a promise was made that day. And my heart sings that I made good on it. Your legacy lives on, Judge.

Looking back, it’s been a year of tremendous growth. I’ve stretched mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. I’m showing up as a different person, and it is closer to all that I knew was possible at the beginning of the year.

I’ve especially grown in not assuming where others are coming from. Being aware of assumptions, asking more questions, and listening more has made a big difference in my life. I think I’ve finally unlearned a good chunk of what I ‘learned’ through 25 years of formal education, and I’ve never been happier :) This year has incorporated into my being that compassion, kindness, and forgiveness are better than being ‘right’ any day.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t drawn some boundaries this year. This also started in January, when I spent time identifying not only what I wanted, but what I didn’t want in my life. High on my list of things to let go was any negativity. I freed up energy by cutting back on certain news sources, removing complainers from my social media streams, and refusing to play along when others tried to pull me into any sort of drama.

Throughout the year, I’ve allowed myself a mulligan as needed, with liberal doses of self-kindness. Humans trip and fall short at times – always have, always will. It’s been a great year of getting back up, learning lessons, giving meaning to my experiences, and moving forward.

Looking back to the hope and anticipation of possibility that I felt as the New Year dawned, it amazes me that in reality this year surpassed the biggest dreams I could dream at the beginning of the year. Each day of this year has been a gift, and I’m pleased with how I spent these days. I hope they’re captured as smiles in the hearts of others as they are in mine.

I write this with profound gratitude for a curious and engaged mind; a healthy and fit body; strong, loving relationships; an open, loving heart; abundance far beyond my needs; and a true delight in sharing all I have with others. 

Wow. I can’t wait to see how 2012 unfolds…

Author's Bio: 

Mollie Marti is a psychologist, lawyer, and adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Iowa. She brings years of experience in coaching a prestigious list of clients, including Olympians and business elites, to her mission of helping leaders thrive and serve.

Dr. Mollie speaks around the globe on servant leadership and mentorship, resiliency, life design, and business ethics. In addition to numerous academic articles, her business success books have been published in several languages. Her most recent book, Walking with Justice: Uncommon Lessons from One of Life’s Greatest Mentors, is being welcomed as “a timeless handbook for being human.”

She is host of the popular Make an Impact! event, bringing together internationally renowned thought leaders to raise philanthropic funds while empowering innovative attendees to make a bigger impact in a way that fuels their health, relationships, and life priorities.

A passionate advocate for youth and communities, Dr. Mollie directs the non-profit Community Resiliency Project to help communities support their youth and grow their capacity to thrive.

With her unique ability to combine the science of success with the art of exceptional living, she is a frequent media resource (http://www.walkingwithjustice.com/media) and was recognized by The Entrepreneur Blog as one of the Top 25 Business Coaches on twitter (@DrMollieMarti).

Having graduated first in her class in both undergraduate and graduate school, Dr. Mollie continues to learn – and unlearn – on a daily basis. She walks out these lessons from an apple orchard in scenic northeast Iowa where she lives with her husband, their three children, and a large family of pets. Join her for weekly musings on this grand experiment at www.DrMollie.com.