Every year I do a three-part review and planning process. I call it Review, Reflect, Forward. Today’s post is Reflect. It builds on yesterday’s Review post as I’ll be explaining what’s behind the numbers.
This has been a very rewarding year for me, and in surprising ways I might add.
On a personal level, so much has happened! Matt and I got engaged in February, and then we got married in May. Since we worked with a short timeline for wedding planning, my mental space in the Spring was really taken up by the wedding. I assumed that once the wedding was over, I would have a lot more time. I was wrong about that!
The summer months were taken up by planning and teaching The Storytelling Non-Profit Master Class. It was the first time I taught the class. My goal was to have 15 students in the class, and we ended up have 39 amazing students in the class. It was so exciting to have such an enthusiastic and engaged group of students.
I came out of the experience realizing that teaching and empowering people is what I truly value. This has deeply influenced my vision for my work next year and beyond. Finally making the connection that empowerment is one of my core values has allowed me to start making values-based decisions, which feels so fulfilling!
This fall, I gave several talks at conferences about vulnerability, authenticity, and storytelling. I was a little nervous to talk about storytelling in this way. In our sector it is far more popular to talk about how storytelling is a great fundraising tool. But what I realized that there’s a layer to storytelling that we’re missing in this conversation. That layer is that what’s truly valuable about storytelling is the humanity that we get to experience. And being able to capture someone’s humanity in a story is a very different approach to storytelling and I think it yields much more interesting results.
As I continued doing this work over the last few months, it’s led me to explore my own personal narrative and also helping other people with their personal stories. This has been incredible valuable and transformative work for me. I have been able to connect more with my valuable as well as realizing the core reason why I do this work. That reason is this – to help other people be in their power, and to feel seen and heard.
In my own life, feeling seen and heard has been a life-long work in progress. What I realized is that in order to show up in the world the way I want to show requires me to be a little more vulnerable than I’m usually willing to be, but taking this risk is well worth the reward.
Since mid-November, I started changing the format of my weekly newsletter to really practice this type of storytelling. While it hasn’t been a change that’s jived with everyone, it is far more in alignment with how I want to and I’m really proud of it. These emails have inspired hundreds of responses from people who have written to me with their own stories. The immense sense of connection that has transpired from this has been incredible and reminded me of that story is the foundation of community building.
I am so grateful for all of the people (you!) who read my blog and my weekly emails. It is such a joy to share my stories as well as my learnings with you.
I believe 2016 has big things in store for all of it. May it bring you lots of joy and many stories to tell!