So, I said I was going to take more risks in 2018 in my newsletter. Then, I realized I didn't know what exactly I meant, like what I was actually going to do. Then I realized this, If I fail to plan, I plan to fail (Benjamin Franklin), so I made a Risk List on the back of my vision board this year. Not even a pretty one. A super simple list of the risks that have been lingering in the back of my head that I have basically been petrified to do and want to do this year. Boom! The goal this year is to stop my personal cycle of of not doing these "risky" things and then bitching about not doing them and not getting a better or new result because I didn't do them. Lordy - obviously I coulda been a rocket scientist! 

One of the downfalls of being a sensitive person, is that I'm sensitive person which can be debilitating over the tiniest little "risks." But my sensitivity is my super power too. like, namely, it helps me write and write songs which I seriously enjoy. As as I am looking at my risk list, it's not really that risky. So what has been holding me back?

Me. Those voices in my head that say, "You're a divorced single mom. Stay home. Only the married people or the never-been-married, who of course are more deserved than you, get to do fun things, have friends and homes and love in their lives. Not you. You had your chance to be grateful for what you had, and you blew it." I woke up today and realized, no one else has ever said this to me. Those that know me know I love my family and was heartbroken, drowning in stress, postpartum depression and surrounded by too many negative, selfish voices feeding my negative, selfish self, "You deserve to be happy, get out of this toxic relationship and focus on YOU." Those people, by the way, were gone in a hot minute once the divorce was complete (losers). I have repented. I have suffered severe consequences. But the shame and guilt are no longer serving, it's kinda getting annoying. And to conquer these little, lingering smudges of shame, I'm gonna take some new risks this year in all areas of my life. And to be honest, my divorce brought my son and his father closer to God and to faith, and for this, I am forever grateful and I learned to use my voice - beauty for ashes. But moving forward, crisis can't be the only catalyst for change, risk-taking can be.  

Speaking of divorce and related this week, an old friend reached out to me, in a flirty way, texting me his marriage was in trouble. Did I have any advice, he asked? Yes, I said. Don't text other women, especially not ME (cause I get fired UP about divorces and family). And fix your marriage by being humble and kind. Risky? For him yes, but not a good risk. Let's keep to positive risks that improve our lives, not ruin them.

Actually, this is the second person this year who's reached out to me, kinda wondering if the grass is greener on the other side of divorce. I wrote these words in "I Want to Go Home," the grass may seem greener, where life ain't never tread...But there's something I shoulda told you when I left, that I Want to Go Home." That was my experience. 

Back to the voices in my head, I'm outnumbered by the grace of others who are welcoming and kind, so time to be kinder to myself. Being kinder to myself and forgiving myself is kinda a risk as well, maybe the biggest one this year or EVER. I wouldn't treat a friend the way I, most often, treat myself. Boo - truth bomb. 

My risks aren't really that complicated, and especially clear to me after writing them down, but still seem Goliath to me. I honestly wrote on my board, ask another mom from school to coffee, so I can make new friends. This is TURNING my stomach to be so vulnerable, but really, what is the risk? In an interview with Marie Forleo, Tim Ferriss defined risk (loosely) the likelihood of an irreversible outcome. Well, pretty sure an hour over coffee won't irreversibly damage me or her in any way and is a great step towards making new friends which is a goal this year. Also, I started a blog which was on the list, so I'm already killing it and it's not killing me, except that I'm shaking while writing this. Overcoming the fear isn't totally fun yet, probably because I haven't gotten any positive feedback yet (feel free to cheer), but that will come. I have to be, ugh, patient. 

Singing in front of people at our favorite venues has been the biggest risk I have been willing to take for some time. But again, time to step it up. Seriously, it's still risky. It's still scary to use my voice and tell my personal stories even in front of friends and family. I still self-sabotage in the littlest ways like, not planning my stage outfits then worry about how I look, wondering why no one is crying to the sad songs about my feelings, not telling jokes because I'm convinced Troy is the only person who laughs but he kinda has to laugh because he's in the band and feels bad for me, freaking because I can't sing covers exactly like the my favorite starts because I'M NOT THEM. Duh. But, time to take some risks on stage as well, while everyone is watching. We'll see how this goes and if you're reading this, please laugh at my lame jokes. 

So, back to the risks. What are you going to do? To make your life bigger, more joyful, make more of an impact in your circle, create a life that feels fulfilling? What's on your Risk List? Make one. And, I'm on a roll so let's start a Facebook group for risk taking, voice-using, encouragement, accountability and kindness. Join here