Our world loves labels – I am a LinkedIn employee, an MBA student, a yoga teacher, a blogger  and a lot more. When things go well in one arena, I feel accomplished and the world around me celebrates my success. When I have had professional accomplishments, people have reached out and wanted to learn about my work. I sometimes get asked how I “do it all.” Not to mention, my ego (often) loves this feeling of doing well. Somewhere I am mislead that this defines me, sigh…


And then there are the not so pleasant moments with these labels. I have had my fair share of professional risks that haven’t turned out as well. I have made choices that may not have had the best outcomes and I am no longer the popular kid on the block. It can feel lonely, confusing, and insecure and my friend, “self doubt” loves to run the show at those moments. My ego tricks me again to believe that these dark moments define me. Sigh again…


Yet, when I pause, sit in silence before bed, go for that long hike in the tall redwoods, I realize that none of this defines who I am. These labels sure are a part of my identity but they don’t define me and there is a BIG difference between the two.


These labels are the leaves on the maple tree that change with the seasons and many eventually fall off so that new leaves may emerge. What defines the tree is its foundation, its core, its roots, and its trunk. What defines me, you and each one of us is our ability to love, express our true voices, dream, give unconditionally (which is hard), receive, take risks, experiment, and sometimes fail. It is our ability to love ourselves despite our imperfections and to eventually find meaning in things larger than ourselves.


As I step into the New Year, I hope to nourish my foundation and create conditions so that the leaves may thrive and reach their full potential. Yet, also remind myself that the leaves will fall and no matter how much I may like the fall colors or dislike the brown barren tree, nature often has its own plan and I need to create a space, witness the changes and embrace what emerges.

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