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Perception Through Reflection

Jill and Sarah in front of Watermark Books with Never Finished book
Bringing in my book into Sarah Bagby at Watermark Books, Wichita, Kansas

People often ask me how I manage to do everything I do. The answer is with purpose! During the week between Christmas and New Year, when not much else is happening, I like to gain perspective by being retrospective to help envision my next trip around the sun. Here’s my secret introspective formula for launching a purposeful year.

1. What are the not-so-good things that happened last year?

Like every year, 2022 had its ups and downs – and they were doozies. The hardest thing that happened came at the end of May when my baby brother became one with the universe. Sadly, that loss won't stay behind when the year comes to an end.

I imagine anyone who has lost a sibling can tell me that I'll be mourning him for the rest of my life. I think about him every day and am sure I will continue until the end of my days. And that's okay. He is part of me, and I am part of him throughout eternity.

2. What are the good things that happened last year?

The most amazing thing that happened to me in 2022 was the release of my book, Never Finished: Practical advice for Modern Women to inspire your fierce, authentic self. This time last year, I wasn't even thinking about doing anything as crazy as putting out a book. That was for “someday.” But I got an inspirational flame in February, and by the end of October, I had become a published author!

3. What lessons did I learn?

My biggest surprise lesson of the year came from becoming an author. I had no idea how emotional it would be to lay out my soul and publish my innermost thoughts in a book for the world to see. It feels very vulnerable and risky. But I’m feeling braver, especially as I hear that sharing my tender spots has been meaningful to my readers.

A lesson I was reminded of is how wonderful it is to be part of a community. With the pandemic easing, we were finally able to get out and spend time together. I happily realized how much I missed people. Of course, the Badass Women of Wichita Alliance was a BIG part of that. The events and amazing connections got me out of the house and were a weekly bright spot at a time when I needed it.

4. What lessons will I take with me into next year, and what will I leave behind?

I’m excited to bring the lessons I learned last year to strengthen our Badass Alliance. Our Badass mission is to unite women of all ages for discussions and actions that build community, champion non-profits, and develop our badassery. I am happy to say we are accomplishing that mission and aren’t done yet!

In the survey we did at the end of the year, you told us that what you like best about Badass Women is connecting with authentic women to have fun and do meaningful work in a welcoming atmosphere. Uniting women in a healing community is what I live for, and I am excited to see what fun and good trouble we'll make together this year.

Often, the things I need to leave behind are preconceived notions, like trying to find a place where Badass Women can meet at the same place every week. Sometimes a dose of reality is needed to move forward, and in a way is a lesson unto itself. I have faith that everything will work out.

5. What were my accomplishments, and how will I celebrate them?

Taking time to celebrate what was accomplished over the past year is essential to reflection. Making a list of all your accomplishments throughout the year is inspiring when you start to think about it. Hell, some years, just making it out in one piece and not giving up are accomplishments worthy of celebration! I know I've had years like that. Hopefully, they are few and far between.

There are many ways to celebrate, but this year I plan to celebrate a new year of badassery at our Sing in the New Year Karaoke party at J's Lounge on January 30th. I'm practicing my Lizzo numbers now.

6. What is my word for the upcoming year?

I gave up resolutions and goals years ago and have started setting my intention for the year by picking one word as my focus. I love the elegant simplicity of this approach.

When I started thinking about my word this year, I was thinking of over-achiever ambitious words like "reach" and "expand" to market my book. But when I thought about it and consulted my inner wisdom to see if I was going in the right direction, she told me to slow my roll.

While I like to think I am indestructible, this past year took a lot more out of me than I like to admit. I've been feeling all the heaviness of loss and the mean blues of depression. I’m feeling a bit lost. So rather than making my focus all about work, I need to spend some time healing my heart.

At first, I thought my word would be "peace," but a trip to the thesaurus helped me find the word "heartsease," which is "freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions," a much better descriptor of what I need this year. How I love discovering a new word!

If you haven’t tried the one-word approach or you want some help, come to our What's Your Word for 2023 class on January 18th, or read more about how to pick your word here and in the January issue of Active Age on page 22.

7. What are my dreams for next year?

Now that I know my focus, I can start dreaming of things to come. That's the fun, creative part. Using my word as a guide, I use my imagination to visualize what I want to happen. I plan to take some time in the next week to consider specifically what my dreams look like and sketch, collage, or write them out so I can start working on their arrival. Putting these dreams on paper gives them power and gives me something to look forward to working on.

For 2023 I'm working on my dreams to lay the groundwork for how my book will help me spread my mission of helping people realize their potential and embrace their fierce authentic selves. To continue leading the Badass Women of Wichita Alliance and working with my team to develop new ideas for making mischief. But, what I'm most excited about next year is a community project that will ease my heart. We're working on launching this initiative in February, so you'll have to wait until then to see what I have planned!

As my new year's gift to you, I've created a Perception Through Reflection worksheet for you, using the steps in this post, that you download to use yourself.

What are your dreams for 2023?

Headmistress Jill

Perception Through Reflection Worksheet
Download PDF • 140KB

Did you know I've published a book? Learn more about it here!


Because We’re Never Finished

The Finishing School for Modern Women, located in Wichita, Kansas, offers classes to help women find their authentic selves, not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We bring together women of all ages to learn from experts and each other how to claim our power in business, finance, communication, and life.

To learn more about what we do: for our classes and free social membership.

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