SHINE: To be animated and bright; to radiate; to glisten; to sparkle; to give forth or cast light; to appear brightly; to cause to shine.


 “Find that phosphorescence, that light within.” Emily Dickinson

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. I have spent much of my life being a behind-the-scenes gal. It’s the nature of who I am, of what I do. As an event planner, this is one of the key job aspects: to orchestrate amazing things from the background in order for the mission of the event, and the key players, to be the stars. As a helper, I love to play a supporting role to help the people in my life to succeed and excel. And as a recovering perfectionist, I often believe that unless what I have to offer is perfect, then it doesn’t deserve a starring role.

Much to my own surprise, I’ve spent time over the last year starting to move into the light. The limelight is not a place in which I normally exist comfortably, so it has been a process of humility, courage, and grace. Why the change, you might ask? I ask myself this often. It boils down to this – I have a message, a passion, that I want to share with the world. And it’s hard to share a message in a meaningful, transformational way when you’re not willing to be seen. Alas, it’s time to let myself step into the light.

I am an eternal optimist, and I believe with every ounce of my being that everyone else should be as well. It’s a message I feel strongly about sharing with the world. As such, I’ve just sent my book, The Optimist’s Manifesto, to the editor and it will be printed later this year. I’ve been speaking at conferences, events, at corporate meetings to share the impact of optimism in our communities, our individual lives, our workplaces, and our relationships. I’d like to do a Tedx talk, to further share this message with the world.

As I’ve learned that it’s hard to share a message when you’re not willing to be seen, so I have realized that I need to set aside my comfortable space behind the scenes, and allow myself to show up fully, authentically, imperfectly, and in the light in order to share this message with others. And let me tell you, I am terrified! But instead of being scared in ways I have been in the past, where I have been paralyzed by my fear and run to the corner to hide, I am scared in the best, childlike ways… the butterflies in the stomach, nervous excitement of knowing that where you are going is an adventure with so much to be learned and explored, and certain to be life changing.

Harmony was last year’s word of the year. While this theme presented its own challenges in my life, in many ways it was a safe word – an easy word – to embrace fully and move towards. Taking action to harmonize my life every day usually resulted in a lot of warm fuzzy feelings, contentment, peace.

When I first started to reflect on my word for this year, I wanted something akin to harmony. A nice comfortable word about how I live my life. Sometimes the universe has other plans for us. In my first journal entry, preparing my thoughts for this new year, I wrote about being a light – allowing the light that is within me to be seen, being a light for others, and sharing light with the world. In the 48 hours that followed, I subsequently saw what would become my word over a dozen times – in cards friend’s gave me, in the display case of a local bookstore, in my own notes from a year ago. And since choosing that word, I continue to see it everywhere – on almost a daily basis – chapters in books I read are dedicated to it, new lines of jewelry share the message, and even a new website is all about it.

This year my word is SHINE. It is in no way a safe or easy word, but it is the word I feel clearly is what I need to focus on for 2018. This word is going to require risks and courage, humility and grace, authenticity and imperfection, stretching and growing and reaching for the stars.

Click to Tweet: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Making an effort to shine every day will be the one thing that scares me each and every day this year. It will be the thing that forces me beyond my comfort zone, that pushes me to be more of the person I want to be, the person I believe I was born to be. It will look different from day to day. Today, for instance, allowing myself to shine means that I’m being authentic here in this blog post and then I’m actually going to post it for others to read. Tomorrow it will mean presenting a new, and somewhat out-of-the-box idea I have for a client’s project. And later this week it will mean taking the stage at a local company to share how they can build a culture of optimism. In 2018, it will mean publishing the book I have long held in my heart, but been nervous to complete because having it done means I actually have to put it out there in the world.

Each of us has a unique light that is meant to be shared with the world. We are not meant to hide the light that has been given to us, the light that lives within us. Nor are we called to make the light perfect or flashy or anything other than what it is. We are simply called to SHINE. I’ve accepted that call for this year. Will you?

“Dream big, dare greatly, and shine brightly.” – Robin Sieger

Tell me:

             What does SHINE mean to you?

             How can you share your light with the world?

             What is your word for this year?

If you want other resources along these lines, I highly recommend:

Check out SHINE, an amazing new website that will text you a message each day that reminds you of how to shine in your own life.  

The book Shine by Allison Allen is a beautiful story of Allison’s experiences on and off stage, including many Broadway stages, and how she has learned to navigate stepping into the light.