A Year's Worth

I'm in DC for a meeting and fly home tonight. It's my birthday, and I wouldn't be lying if I said I'm a little sad to be away from my peeps.  I am missing my family and friends and will spend the day working away from them. I'm choosing to be positive, and earlier I escaped the meeting I’m attending for a solo working lunch. My waiter and waitress both complemented my shoes, which led to a conversation of my love of pretty things, which led to somehow it being my birthday.

 

I know, I know. For those of you that know me, random conversations and laughs with strangers should come as no surprise.

 

What did come as a surprise is that in a busy DC restaurant, my two new friends brought me a glass of wine and a slice of cake, and then gathered some other people to sing to me, in the middle of a very busy restaurant noon hour. They insisted they take a picture of me to document my special day. The kindness of strangers is a blessing we never should take for granted!

 

This morning I reflected. I always become a deep thinker on my birthday, it's like New Years for me. I think about the last year of my life and what’s in store for the next one. I think about what I've done well and what I've failed to do; I think about the many blessings in my life and those same old struggles that are difficult to kick.

 

This year has been a big one for me, a shift in my step. I've changed directions after being #braveenough to do so. I'm speaking and blogging and writing and living my calling. I'm living with more focus and purpose than ever before. I'm protecting my time and my family more than I ever have, at the same time making each working moment count. And I'm investing in people, many of whom are women, to change my little area of the world. These changes have meant I've lost some friends along the way who don't understand my new direction. I've given up some things that have brought me success in the past, to pursue new things. I've taken a lot of criticism, some hard to hear. I've had to move away from people who don't get me, and move closer to those who do. I've been stretched; I'm learning things about myself, both my weaknesses and strengths. I’m seeing how I'm perceived; and how my words can both hurt and help.

 

I am forever grateful to all of you who have reached out and encouraged me as I grow. For those of you who have listened to my fears, who have boosted me up, reposted my blog, tweeted in support, and given virtual high fives to say – keep going! This year I have been able to make some incredible, deep, life-long friends that I wouldn't trade for a life-long supply of Jimmy Choos and Louis Vuitton (and for those of you that know me, that is saying a lot.)

 

I am human, and this next year I expect to fail. I also expect to shine brighter than the last. I won't stop speaking and being a voice and encourager of women and leaders. I won't stop listening, hearing and learning. And I won't stop being who I am: a leader, a mother, a doctor, and a lover of all things pretty.

 

There is no greater gift than being the person God created you to be. Unequivocally, unapologetically, wrapped in His grace. If I have one prayer for you this year, it is to be that. Be just that. 

 

Special thanks today to Betsy, who stood in for makeup and hair duty for my sweet daughter Sophia Leah who danced in a competition today. Betsy filled in the gap as dance mom for me while I was away. It takes a village! Thank you Betsy!