Step Outside Your Inner Circle and You'll be Surprised at What You Find

Self on 12.21.11
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The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of holiday parties on top of all of the holiday shopping and baking, and that thing called work. At first I thought it was just that a lot of people were throwing parties this year, but then I realized that we've been to so many holiday parties with different groups of people who we've met and become friends with in the past year (bonus, I've also been able to wear the same holiday outfit to multiple parties!). At the beginning of 2011, I decided it was going to be my year of "Yes." I was determined to take every opportunity handed to me and see where it led whether it was in my comfort zone or not, and for the most part it led to many wonderful experiences (including this spot at Parentables). I've always been a little hesitant to welcome new people into my world. It's not because I'm super selective of who my friends are, but particularly since I became a mom, I haven't felt like I've been able to commit as much time to my existing friendships as I'd like so adding more to the mix seemed daunting. But this year showed me I've had it all wrong.

Adding more people to my social circle didn't make things more difficult like I anticipated, but rather made me feel more complete. I've traveled in the same circle for a long (really, really long) time, and we have the best time and a lot in common, but there's rarely something new happening. As part of my year of "yes" I reached out to more people to join us at the playground, come over for drinks, or connect to see if we can work together. As a result, I've met more and more people that I've found I have a lot in common with, who I've found I can work with to mutually support and grow each other's businesses, and to generally just have a great time with. And some of them don't have kids which makes it nice to talk about things other than diapers and sleepless nights! On a regular basis I am finding myself leaving get-togethers feeling inspired, and then being more excited when talking to my longtime friends about things on the horizon.

It's amazing what a simple hello and a smile can lead to. Sometimes it's a new best friend, sometimes it's a great joint venture, and sometimes it's just a way to brighten someone's day. But stepping outside of the circle we usually spin in more often than not will bring great things without sending the circle spinning off course. The only downside to my year of "yes" was that I overcommitted myself more than a few times. In 2012, my goal is to say "yes" to new opportunities and friendships, but learn that sometimes it's ok to say "no" to doing the less important things and to get some sleep. My expanded social circle makes me feel energized, but it's not always so beneficial when it comes to getting some shut-eye.

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