Story Matters

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How Choosing a Word of the Year Changed Everything

Aug 15, 2018

Word of the year, overcoming obstacles

When I originally wrote this post in early January, I had NO idea what was coming around the corner that would rip my world apart.   I had no idea when I picked a word of the year for 2018 that it would become a life preserver I would hold on to like my life depended on it.  Because in many ways it did.  I had no idea I was about to enter a crash course on the power of intention in action. (I just couldn’t resist guys. Sometimes life demands you choose to laugh or you’d never stop crying.)

I thought 2017 was a white-knuckled roller coaster.  It was more like a nice gentle sight-seeing tram compared to 2018.

On January 27th my brain got rearranged by a head trauma in severe car accident that also severely injured my right wrist. The one I paint and letter with. Not to mention walk on. (I use crutches because I only have one leg for those who I haven’t met yet.) In a matter of weeks, I lost my entire business because I couldn’t think well enough to strategize or paint/letter with my broken wrist & torn ligaments.

Laying in the dark room I seemed stuck in because of the brain injury, I made a decision.  I could focus on what was lost (and I did a bit of that too) or I could focus on what I was given: a blank canvas.

This New Direction Was a Path Forged from Adversity

This time I decided if I was going to rebuild my dreams yet again, it was going to be doing exactly what was in my heart all along: empowering creatives and entrepreneurs to live wholeheartedly, thrive extravagantly and build brands that matter™ (brands that include intentional generosity and social entrepreneurship in the very core of their business model).

So here I am. Starting all over again. And YOU sweet friend are my focus.

But I might never have gotten here if I hadn’t already chosen to embrace 2018 with openness.  Openness to change and challenge, to the unknown and the opportune, to the unexpected and the relentlessly authentic.  That is the short version of where Designed to Thrive Creative came from.

Words to me are sacred things.  Time is the most valuable treasure we have and I am not willing to waste either– words or time.  If it doesn’t add genuine value and bring encouragement, I’m just not going to do it.

There are HEAPS of amazing blogs out there on entrepreneurship, on creativity, on creative entrepreneurship, on branding and marketing and there is so much information swirl it is easy to feel like you are caught in a conceptual rip tide of advice and insight. And I did not, I do not want to add to that current. But I am 1000% committed to serving you, offering encouragement + insight for creatives + entrepreneurs.

To creating a place to share this journey into wholehearted entrepreneurship with you in hope that it will inspire your own.  A place to be real and raw and lay it all out on the proverbial table.   A place to share what I am learning and insights that I pray will pour courage into your creative soul and put actionable tools in your hand to build your business.  A place to forge community rooted in authenticity.  A place to know you are not alone.  Not ever.

Now months after that night stole so much from me, I am more determined than before.  The journey to embrace our story and become who we really are might be the bravest journey of all.

You do know it is more than OK to try things and then change them and try again until you find what fits, right?  No one expects you to nail it the first time out of the gate.  You might.  But it is really OK if you don’t.  Just keep trying.

I chose COURAGEOUS as my word for 2017.  Every little step in the right direction, was a victory of courage and grace.  It has been a year that left stretch marks on my soul.  New things have a way of doing that.

In 2013, health issues and organizational changes forced me to walk away from 130 children I thought I would raise for the rest of my life.  It forced me to move out of the home I had built in the heart of a conflict zone in South Sudan.  I wound up back in the USA with every single dream I had poured my life into for 7+ years stripped away.  And let me tell you, when that happens friend, the hardest journey I have ever taken has been the one back to choosing to dream again.

Maybe you’ve had a dream taken away, something you’ve built pulled out from under you, a life direction change, a lost job or career, a betrayal of trust… something you can’t change and feel you could never return from.  But you can keep going.  We need you to keep going.

For 2018, my word has been OPENNESS.  What a word it is turning out to be.  I wanted this to be a year where I lived with my heart wide open to dream, to stepped out into the possibilities opening around me, lived out of deep authenticity with my soul on fire.  I wanted 2018 to be a year where I was no longer penned up by past loss or grief or pain.  It is a risky word to embrace.  But it is even more risky to live with a heart that is shut up in the name of safety.

What if your deepest setback was simply the setup for your greatest comeback?

Our setbacks can truly become the stage for our greatest comebacks. Our deepest sorrows the seeds of our most profound joy.

How might that perspective reframe and transform the struggles you have walked or are walking through?  That’s what I hope and pray for each of you friends this year. A joy that is rooted deep in your creative purpose, a joy that cannot be shaken  by circumstance.  I cannot wait to open this space and invite you in, that we all may flourish together.  You are wildly loved.

How about you friend: what is your word for 2018?  How has it framed your year thus far?

Pop down to the comments and let me know.  So glad to have you here.

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Guess what?  This is just the beginning.  I'm in the middle of writing & compiling & creating a whole resource library you can peruse for FREE.  My gift to you.  It is just getting started, but we are going to grow it together.  Your story matters because YOU matter friend.  So glad you are here.


Jama pants, fuzzy slippers, loud music & outside voices are totally acceptable

Running after what sets your soul on fire doesn't mean you have to run solo.

Brave Soul, You don't have to Do This alone.  i'm cheering you on.


Running after what sets your soul on fire doesn't have to be a lonely journey.

Brave Soul, You don't have to Do This alone.  i'm cheering you on.


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