When I was a freshman in college, my parents bought me a 1970 something Chevette. There wasn’t much to the car other than it was bright yellow – my favorite color then and now AND it was a “4 on the floor” meaning it was a 4 speed stick shift in the floor. Not much more than a chunk of metal on wheels, but I was thankful for it as it got me from point A to point B most days. I remember the thrill I felt shifting between gears as the engine accelerated. I felt in control and I guess I was. Then one day the faithful Chevette did not get me beyond the stop sign in front of my dorm. Equipment failure of epic proportions had occurred. The gear shift literally came off in my hand causing me to be unable to ENGAGE any gear. This halted deliberate movement in any direction. I was truly in a “pickle” as my mom would say. Luckily the stop sign was on a decline and I was able to coast the car into a parking space. Somehow the manual transmission was lodged in neutral.
I have no idea why this event came to mind when I was working through the process of finding my #oneword for 2018 but there is was in vivid detail like it had happened yesterday. The memory about the importance of “engaging the gears” in order to intentionally move in any direction was a reminder of the role being engaged plays in every sector of my life. It also shed light on how this is an area where I need to devote some time. In some ways, I feel I have been “lodged in neutral” for a while.
By nature, I am an introvert…yes, you read that right. Most who know me socially would not think that, but I am uncomfortable in social situations whether face-to-face or otherwise. How I wound up as a lead learner at an elementary school is still quite a mystery, but I would not change my journey, because my journey has changed me. I believe in pushing myself outside of my “zone of comfort” because that is where hopes and dreams become reality. While I believe that, I don’t always practice what I preach. I feel I have been a passive participant in my family life and my professional life and it is time to change that mindset. Being disengaged is easy. You “go with the flow”, don’t create waves, find excuses and in essence “bury your head in the sand” so as to avoid push back. While these words seem harsh as I type them, I know there lies some truth within them. I will no longer be a passenger in my own journey.
Thanks to the memories (cue the song by Bob Hope here!), my #oneword for 2018 is ENGAGE. Now, as a self-proclaimed introvert, I fought against this word for several days, but I could not get it out of my mind. It is relevant for this season of my life. ENGAGE… participate or become involved…GREAT just what an introvert wants to do right? RIGHT! Again, it is about moving outside of my safe zone and growing as a leader and a learner.
As opportunities arise to ENGAGE, I know that the direction of movement will vary. Some situations will nudge me forward, while others will push me back. It is the ebb and flow of life and learning and I will grow with each experience.
As 2018 rolls in, I will work to ENGAGE my:
- ENGAGE my Heart by cultivating healthy relationships, loving unconditionally and committing to putting my family first.
- ENGAGE my Mind by collaborating more with my work family, interacting more with my PLN and actively participating in conversations that may be out of my “zone of comfort”.
- ENGAGE my Body by incorporating a healthy lifestyle that includes clean eating, exercising and meditating.
- ENGAGE my Soul by plunging deeper into the word of God and being diligent and obedient in my prayer life.
I will lean on my thought partners to hold me accountable. This journey will not be easy, but it WILL be worth it. Looking forward to making new memories and blazing new trails in 2018!
How will you ENGAGE in 2018?