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I’m always in search of new ways to be inspired. If you are like me, you get inspiration in several ways. Some of my personal favorites are nature, visual art, architecture, and the written word.

I love being in nature and am very fond of being near water, specifically oceans and waterfalls. Over the past several years, I’ve come to enjoy other terrains like mountains, forests, and deserts. On a recent trip to South Africa, I was in awe of the beauty of the safari land there. Learning about the animals, vegetation, and reverse seasons in the U.S. was intriguing to me. Coming back from that trip, I took time to do more research to familiarize myself with more about this part of the world.

Art comes in so many forms and I can think of so many ways it inspires me. Music, culinary, and floral art come to mind. But, I’m a true lover of visual art whether that’s painting, mixed media, or sculpture. I was recently at the Atlanta High Museum. There was an amazing exhibit of the phenomenal multimedia artist, Sonya Clark. Clark’s exhibit inspired deep reflection and thoughts on how I can continue to allow my gifts and talents to be used to help others.

Since a young child, I’ve always been drawn to architecture. I enjoyed identifying various shapes and forms that can be found. And even now, I still find myself drawn to it. As an avid traveler, I’m always awe-inspired seeing new architectural structures. On a trip to Italy last fall, I found myself enthralled by the beauty of various architecture there. I look for ways to translate this experience into motivation when doing daunting projects or navigating new things. My thoughts are that these beautiful buildings were at one time just a thought, but that thought was able to be manifested into this beautiful structure before me.

Getting inspiration from the people, things, and experiences around us can be the launching pad for so many things. I encourage you to look for new ways to be inspired. That awe-inspiring moment could turn into something that could exceed your wildest dreams.

Being the boss, the head honcho, the leader sounds great, right? But anyone who is a leader knows it’s not that simple; there is a cost. As someone close to me puts it, “the price you pay for leadership.” I have always interpreted this to mean the sacrifices, responsibility, and drive leadership requires. However, being a strong leader also requires a commitment to growth and learning.

Like with anything, there are levels. If you want to achieve notable success, commitment, tenacity, and dedication are required. And being a strong leader is no different. You don’t wake up one morning a great leader; instead, you have to develop into one. Taking the initiative to do things outside your comfort zone can be a great place to start. An example of this is being willing to lead or facilitate your organization’s monthly or annual meeting, accepting a speaking opportunity, or adding your voice to a panel, which can help you grow in ways you would not believe.

If you already serve in a leadership capacity, then I’m certain you had to meet the specified educational requirements. But, you may have come to a point in your career where, in order to develop into a stronger leader, you need to pursue more education or knowledge. This could mean taking a continuing education course, pursuing a certification specific to your industry, or even attending a leadership workshop, seminar, or conference to elevate your understanding. There may even be cases where going back to school to get another degree could be right for you.

Being a strong leader takes a willingness to grow and learn. While the road may not always be easy, it can be very rewarding. Don’t settle for being someone who is a leader just in title; push yourself to elevate your leadership acumen to the extent that others take note.

Trust. While a very important aspect to decision making, can leave you feeling disappointed when situations and people don’t measure up to our expectations. When we say we trust something, there is the understanding that we yield to it wholeheartedly, it's for discussion whether this should leave room for other possible outcomes.

Naturally, when we weigh our trust in someone, it’s on a spectrum of how well we know them, their track record has been with us, and in what aspect of our life we engage with them. It’s true that most people have the best intentions and you should have an open mind about taking what they say for face value, but in cases where a lot is on the line, just trusting someone can set you up for disappointment. This is when references and reviews can pose to be very helpful. There is also taking time to do some general research. This could support the types of questions asked or help identify experience or lack thereof. 

Similar to the considerations that should be accounted for when putting trust in others, this should also apply in trusting your decision-making. Just by saying you can do something, though, it’s a great first step, and requires the necessary follow through. I can trust that I think I'd be great at playing the piano, but without proper instruction and planning, the reality is I’m setting myself up for disappointment. To alleviate this, I try to carefully evaluate my decision and trust my instinct or gut when making choices.

The new year is always a good time to reflect and make any necessary adjustments. Being cognizant of how you trust and recognizing times when you shouldn’t be so broad-stroked in doing so could be a good way to not set yourself up for unnecessary disappointment. Cheers to building a solid foundation for trusts. 

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