As 2009 comes to a close, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the things I’ve done and the people I’ve connected with that have given me that “warm ‘n fuzzy” feeling over the course of the year.  These are more than accomplishments – they are the things and people that I’ve deliberately engaged in and with that have energized me and made my corner of the universe that much nicer.  Here, in no particular order, are ten things that lit my fire in 2009.

  1. Dance – Taking my ballet class this year put me in a zone that I haven’t been in for years.  It was one of those things that I tossed around in my mind for the longest time, and then one day decided to just do it.  Less talk and more action.  The physical benefits are great, but the biggest return has been in the soulful boost from doing something that was a courageous move in my eyes.

  3. Authoring My Case Study – I’m always on the lookout for great causes to align myself with.  When I came across the Hot Mommas Project this year, it took only a nanosecond to figure out that I had to be a part of this great initiative.  Being a role model to women and girls by sharing my story of personal/professional challenges and “a-ha moments” gave me a real sense of purpose and fulfillment.  It was a therapeutic process as well for me because I spent a great deal of time getting to know myself all over again.  Learning from other case authors in the Project was the icing on the cake.

  5. Starting an Interview Series – I’ve met so many wonderful, dynamic women when I decided to launch the RedSphere Network Interview Series in the latter part of the year.  Though I’ve only met them virtually, it made me feel really great to both connect with them and learn about the amazing things they are doing, and then share that information with others.  Hearing about the things that they’re passionate about and how they are making a dent in the business world has really inspired me.

  7. Summer with the Kids – I’m a parent and business owner.  For me, being able to spend the entire summer with my children has been truly wonderful.  Now don’t get me wrong – it was, at the same time, incredibly draining on many occasions – but we came up with a great daily schedule that included going to the park, outings, playdates, colouring and crafts and a lots of reading.  I have had to become very creative during the summer months about how I operate my business during this particular time, but I am happy to say that it’s working out well.  I make a conscious effort to engage with and enjoy my kids because I know that I’ll never be able to recoup this time. It has meant so much to me, so I’m trying to capitalize on it and make it happen as much as I possibly can. 

  9. The Big Purge – I admit…this is still a work-in-progress.  But I can pat myself on the shoulder when I say that I embarked on a weekend purge and chucked some old files and documents, clothes I never wear, and toys that my kids don’t remember even existed.  It was a good start.  I’ve even lessened my interaction with people that have depleted me.  Yes, spending less time with people that drain my reserves has done me good.  Though you may not be able to avoid these energy vampires altogether, reducing time spent in this regard can do a person a world of good. 

  11. Twitter – Though there’s still much for me to learn about using this social media platform effectively, I have to say that through Twitter there are many, many people all over the world that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with- both online and offline.  This global experience has made a big impression on me this year on both professional and personal levels.  Ten Twitterers that made the biggest impact on me this year include Jeanne Male, Kathy Korman Frey, Karen Karnis, Maureen McCann, Daisy Wright, Wayne Pagani, William Arruda, Paul Copcutt, Chrysula Winegar and Althea Francis.  They are brilliant folks with big hearts to boot! 

  13. Workshop Facilitation – I taught in adult education for about five years in a former life and when I moved on to other things, I realized that I truly missed being in front of a class.  I don’t see myself doing the everyday teaching-thing anymore, but when I launched my Beautiful Brand™ workshop this year, I knew I was back on to something good.  The face-to-face interaction and group exchange brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction, and I love hearing from participants of how positive the experience was for them too.

  15. Helping People– This one sounds like such a cliche in a “gag me with a spoon” kind of way, but it’s quite honestly the truth.  Whether it was sharing a resource with someone who was stuck, giving my insights to colleagues and business associates, lending my husband to my neighbour to shovel their driveway (lol!), doing some pro bono work, helping a friend with applying for a new job opportunity or simply acting as a sounding board when someone needed to vent, I wouldn’t be me or feel a full sense of purpose if I couldn’t be a support system to someone else.

  17. Writing – I started blogging a little bit more this year and I’m looking forward to picking up the pace with this in the new year.  But I’ve also written so many other things that have never seen the light of day.  And some never will.  Writing has proven to be very therapeutic for me and it’s pushed me that much more to expand my knowledge-base through researching.  If I’m typing away at the computer or sitting down with pen and paper (my personal favourite!), it is one of those activities that put me in a state of flow

  19. Saying “Thank You” – I have been blessed to be surrounded by people who have been tremendously supportive of my professional and personal endeavours.  These individuals have watched my kids while my husband and enjoyed a date night or while a ran out to a meeting, helped me out with business-related projects, gave me sound advice, made me laugh when I was down, driven my husband to and from work and/or supported his family commitments, or simply took the time to listen to me ramble.  I cherish these people like gold.  It makes me feel good to let people know, directly, how appreciated they are for their good will.  The power of gratitude is a remarkable thing, and it warms my heart when I know that they know they have made a difference. 

So what are my plans for 2010?  Quite possibly more of the same along with finding other ways to create a work-life strategy that makes my heart sing.  I have made a promise to myself to identify those things that light my fire and then make more deliberate, intentional choices based on that knowledge.  I realize there will be more ups and downs in the year ahead, but manouvering through it all is all part of the fun.

So, what lit your fire in 2009?