This year, I made the word enrich my word of the year. And before I dive in deeper, I have to share this quick anecdote with you. The other night, I was at a friend's place. She was like, "Melissa, I'm playing this word game on my phone and can't figure out what these last two words are. Do you know?" She held her phone out to me, and I immediately saw it — ENRICH! And the second and final missing word? NICHE! No way did that happen by accident. I love those crystal-clear moments of divinity.
So .. enrich. What does this mean to me? It means that I opt in to people, places, and ideas that improve / add value to my personal growth towards my niche. AKA my dreams and specialities. Vice versa on this — I want to always make sure that I too am enriching those around me.
How do I decide who, where, or what to keep? Like this:
People — Who are the people you feel inspired and alive from? Who are you having conversations with that leave you feeling as energized as having a cup of coffee while on Prednisone? (That's me right now. I've been sick for two wks, am taking Prednisone for my sinuses, and I just had coffee. So basically I feel like I could run from Chicago to my parents' house in Wisconsin right now without stopping and then turn around and come back. Hehe.) These are your champions. Your cheerleaders. These are the people you want to immerse all of your time in because these are the people you build dreams with. My best friend, for example, encourages me to run when I don't feel like it, listens to all of my songs, is reading my novel, and turned my birthday around from me crying in a Starbucks to me laughing over margaritas at Pink Taco. She's a star.
On the flip side, there are people who you spill out your dreams to, only to have them scrunch their face and say, "Yeah, but that'll probably never happen." For example, I was recently out with another good friend and ended up in conversation with this guy about writing. When he found out I'm a writer, he said that he too is a writer but continued on to say, "But nothing will probably ever happen with my stuff, so .." Then he shrugged, complacent with succumbing to the mindset of likely never having success with his work. I told him that kind of doubt is a surefire way to exactly what he said — nothing ever happening. Have you ever heard the quote, "I'll believe it when I see it"? What about thinking the other way around — "When I believe it, I will see it"?
The guy ending up finding me on social media after our conversation, and he asked me out. He probably got a crush on me because I challenged his disbelief in himself. Be that person to challenge somebody else's self doubt! Can you imagine if I had just frowned along with him and said, "You're right. It probably won't." What kind of world would we live in? There wouldn't be Sophie Kinsella novels to enjoy or Hemingway's house to go gawk at. Or skyscrapers with every floor serving as a business dream somebody brought to life. We'd live in an uninspired world.
Stop surrounding yourself with people who subscribe to living in an uninspired world!!!
Places — Do you go to places that grow you? Or do you find yourself just going to all of the usual places because it's habitual and you have to? That was me in Nashville. I became used to the same fitness studios, the same grocery store, the same restaurants. Those places were great and all, but after years of tradition, they weren't adding anything new to my life. A week ago, I challenged myself to do something new every single day for forty days in a row, even if it's as simple as taking a new route home from the office. From doing so, I've discovered coffee shops and boutique stores I never knew existed before. I get it, we're human. And humans crave routine and naturally set boundaries. I challenge you to break yours a little! (Or a lot!)
Ideas — What does your dream life look like? What does your current life look like? What avenue(s) do you think you could take to get from one island to the other? Whatever you need to get across that water—a boat, a jet ski, a stronger front crawl, a dolphin—start doing it! Maybe you'll only go a few feet before coming back and regrouping. Maybe you'll make it half-way or three-quarters on your first couple of (or few hundred) tries. But keep trying new concepts to move yourself closer and closer to your paradise island, and you'll eventually be standing on it, while enjoying the spectacular views. You'll be able to see the island you started out on in a far away distance. You’ll recognize how far you’ve come. And you'll feel like you earned this moment to kick back and rest in a hammock. Then you’ll probably start eyeing up the next dream island you want to get to. Because that’s another human tendency—to want what we don’t yet have. It can be a good thing though. Go get it!
If I'm completely honest with you, every time I imagine my dream life, it has 90% to do with what success looks like for me as a writer. (And of course there's a strapping man standing next to me, having hustled with me the whole way. However, he looks different in every one of my visions because I still have no idea who he is. Lol.) When it comes to my career in writing, I have tested out many recipes to achieve the desired entrée. I have yet to find the winning recipe. But hey — on FRIENDS, Monica made 22 batches of cookies before she realized Nestlé Tollhouse was right in front of her face! When I find my Nestlé Tollhouse, I'll let you know. And I hope you let me know when you find yours. <3
(PS — click the pic to hear some music!)