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Staying home with babies-who-become-children-who-go-to-school is a flame that burns warm and bright, but short. Being my kids’ mom has been the hardest, most lovely, hair-pulling and heart-tugging thing I’ve ever done. I would never change it, except to videotape more and worry less. It was–and is–work treasured in a mama’s heart.

Unlike mothering, the kind of work for which you wash your hair and that actually pays in paper money has been a journey full of detours for me. I liken it to running around barefoot and poking your toe in a multitude of ponds:  it’s a fun way to pass the time and try new things. It’s freeing and refreshing…and you get to show off your pedicure. But a toe along the beach is not the same as swimming and feeling cool water envelope your skin.

So this is the year for me to get focused. I’m trying to shine my flashlight on the path that will lead to something sustainable and fulfilling. Something I can be proud of when I’m 80…and also funds a marvelous trip to Yellowstone or a stain-free patch of new carpet.

In the past 8 years I’ve co-founded and run a non-profit organization, created wedding videos, crafted written materials for different businesses and churches, and helped write a book, among other things. Collaborating with others on something larger than any one member is something that gives me energy and life.  It helps me smile.

That’s a good thing.

The trouble BLESSING is, there are so many things making me smile!  How to choose? How does one make wise selections from such a tasty buffet?

Michael Hyatt, in his post Are You Operating in Your Strengths Zone? gave me pause this morning. After clicking on his “leadership” tab, these words sprang from the screen:

“The best way to get ahead in your career and be satisfied in your job is to focus on developing your strengths.

No matter how hard you try, you really can’t improve your weaknesses.

You are wasting time and energy trying to do so.

The best thing you can do is discover your strengths and then find a role that allows you to use them.”

For a moment I felt I was again sitting in my high school guidance counselor’s office staring at his wild socks and wondering what to do. But in truth, I’ve been whittling away at this puzzle for a more than a collection of months. I’ve been tossing weaknesses and adding scaffold to my strengths.

I think I’m ready for the next thing.

This year I’m launching Girl Meets Paper Media: a consulting firm that partners with local school districts and others seeking to harness the power of social media in this age of digital conversation. GMPM will also continue to provide an exciting voice in print media by offering freelancing and copywriting services for those who like the feel of ink on paper. That, friend, is my true love.

Michael Hyatt is right: the best thing we can to is discover our strengths and then search for the elusive arena that sets them soaring. It is hard work that demands tenacity and self-motivation (and trading in those cozy fleece pants for something with a waistband isn’t a bad idea, either).

I hope that 2012 is that year for me.

A year of making-it-work. A year of perseverance.

A year of flight.

What are you striving toward in 2012? 

*Contact me for a current resume, consulting menu, and letters of recommendation