Friends to Fan the Flames

5 02 2015

In January, I selected and announced that my “One Word” for 2015 is ignite. The great thing about choosing one word for the year is that it is aspirational, keeps what you want/hope for in front of you over time, and often inspires you to take a chance when you might otherwise take a pass.

Checking in after the first month, my one word remains aspirational. At least, that’s how it appears and, if I’m being completely truthful, how it mostly feels. It is winter, after all, the time of year during which the earth prepares for new growth. When I look out my window I see (finally) a blanket of snow. I don’t know about anyone else, but snow and winter browns and grays don’t immediately speak to me of growth. But while I’m recalibrating my own goals and working to strike the spark that will ignite my year, I’m taking inspiration from a variety of sources.

My friends Victoria and Kate are challenging themselves to find adventure in both big and small ways in their lives this year. They have been using the catchphrase “> than zero” as a reminder that action and activity trump inertia. I love this concept and have borrowed it to remind myself that grand acts aren’t always necessary – I don’t need to psych myself out coming up with Big Results. Getting up and challenging myself to get moving and reach even a bit further is definitely greater than zero.

I’m also inspired by Mike’s very different approach: he has set himself an audacious goal and a very specific time frame in which to achieve it. Success in his endeavor will require hard work, determination and focus. More important, it requires that he think carefully about his choices each day so that he makes the ones that support what he wants in the long run, rather than simply what he wants in the moment. It is inspiring to watch someone work this hard for what they want.

Over on Facebook, I always check out what my friends Melissa (a.k.a. Monkey) and Jessica have to say – their attention to growing into their best selves, and their generosity in sharing their positive energy and insights with the rest of us, always bring me joy and a feeling of renewal – they remind me that I want to do that for others, too.

My writing group encourages me to experiment and to push myself toward greater creative expression. In fact, this list could go on. In big ways and small, many of the people in my life are taking steps to spark positive change in their own lives or communities – and inspiring others along the way.

As I think of all of these people, my greatest sources of inspiration and support for actualizing my own goals and dreams, I’m reminded just how important it is to surround oneself with people who call forth the best in you. Positive energy begets positive energy – much like a spark starts a fire. The spark may be banked among coals throughout the dark of night (or the cold of winter), but when exposed to enough oxygen, flames will grow. Choose your friends, influencers,  and social media contacts carefully – they will either help you create an environment for growth or they can suck up all the oxygen with their negative energy, making it very difficult to get flames to ignite.

So, my “One Word” status report report one month in? I’m not “the girl on fire”. Yet.  And that’s ok. There’s a spark glowing in my heart, and my friends are helping to keep it alive until it’s ready to burst into flame.

 

 

 

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