woman-fire

It’s the last day of 2016. For most of us, the last day of any year is always a reflective one.

We reflect on what went well, and what didn’t.

What we achieved, and what didn’t get done.

What we need to do more of next year (yet rarely do we reflect on what we need to do less of).

For me 31st of December each year holds extra meaning. Two years ago today I had my last radiotherapy treatment – the end of 7 months of cancer treatment.

I was determined that I was finishing the treatment in 2014, so I could start 2015 fresh. As a result my radio-oncologist had doubled up treatments so I had them all done by 31st December.

2015 turned out to be tougher than I thought – although the physical treatment was done, emotionally I was spent.

The year brought more surgery, endings and new beginnings. It wasn’t till I moved back to Sydney in October that year that I felt the play button on my life being pressed again.

I’ve been reading and listening to Brene Brown again the last few weeks. Her books, ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ and ‘Daring Greatly’ are the perfect guides for teaching us that to truly, absolutely engage with the world we must do so wholeheartedly.

And to live wholeheartedly we must come from a place of worthiness.

Brene says wholeheartedness is about cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough’.

It’s going to bed at night thinking:

‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.’

Brene believes the beauty is in the mess – and our lives ARE messy.

2016 for me has been very messy! A year of extreme highs, and many lows.

– I got my health back on track.

– I had my best year in business ever.

– I started a new business, SmartWomen Connect.

– I met a gorgeous man and have fallen in love.

And yet:

– I’ve fallen off the wagon health wise several times, beating myself up each time.

– My business has often exhausted me, leaving me feeling like I’m always running to catch up.

– I’ve had countless sleepless nights over SmartWomen, wondering if it was going to fly, or fail.

– I’ve travelled more than I wanted, to spend time with my new man, and had to be vulnerable to love and all it’s ups and downs again.

And tonight, on NYE, I’ve got a choice of 3 ways to see out the old year and bring in the new. Each one challenges me to embrace vulnerability: go to a party with couples, on my own; go to a party with lots of kids, without my kid; stay home on my own, well, on my own.

What I choose tonight really doesn’t matter. It’s simply a metaphor for being brave, authentic and knowing that I’m worthy – that one night certainly doesn’t define me or what will happen in 2017.

Brene says that ‘choosing authenticity and worthiness is an act of defiance’. In a world that tells you to act in certain ways, choosing a different path will challenge yourself, and others.

I have physical scars that remind me of my past every day I look in the mirror.

But the mental scars – these are the ones that leave me truly vulnerable, and that challenge my sense of worthiness.

In 2017 my pledge is to continue on my path to living a wholehearted life – with courage, compassion and connection. It will bring both pain, and pleasure. It will involve not always trying to tidy the mess up, but often persuading myself it’s ok to live in it for a while.

Brene tells me that by doing this I’ll feel so brave, and so afraid, at the same time. But I’ll also feel very, very alive.
I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds like a good way to spend a year, and a life.

Happy 31st of December, from this imperfect body and mind, to yours.

FIONA

 

 

I help people and organisations Build Brilliance. I love advising on building personal brand and strong networks. I have a passion for helping people and businesses be Brilliant Business Developers.

I founded SmartWomen Connect to help professional women employed by or working with corporate or professional services build a strong, resilient network to support them in their career.

You might also want to follow me on Linkedin.