Top Tenish: My Top Influencers of 2011

This is the last post I have for 2011. I’m on vacation with my family for the rest of the year. Rather than end the year with an inventory like I usually do, I thought I’d share with you the top ten people or things that influenced me this year. Outside of my inner circle of course – those relationships I keep sacred and are not for this blog. You know who you are. (Rena!–love you)

Corporate America taught me to surround myself with people who are where I want to be, whether it’s a year from now, 5 years from now or 10 years from now and learn. I’m relational to the core – with the exception of the first two, I’ve actually met everyone else listed. Again though – they are not my inner circle, but they do have an influence on my life and my choices. These are the feet I sit at from a social network perspective. In no particular order, I offer you the people who  influenced me the most in 2011. If you aren’t reading these people, you are missing out on a great adventure.

  • The Blog Post that set the tone and had the most influence on my choices for 2011 – Living a Good Story, an Alternative to New Years Resolutions by Donald Miller.  Donald made  me think about my life. What do I want? Am I willing to overcome conflict to get it? He also wrote the worst woman haters blog piece I’ve ever read in my life, which teaches me that everything has a balance. Nobody is perfect.
  • Author and Poet laureate Molly Fisk: I met Molly online via a mutual friend. Molly teaches Poetry Boot camp and Finding your Voice. I spent six of the most amazing weeks learning about voice with nine other women. Molly’s encouragement, kind instruction, and great advice brought the poet in me alive again.
  •  Gail Hyatt, married to Micheal Hyatt (see below) is a blogger at: Treasure Hunt. Her posts touch my woman’s heart. Gail raised five girls while I raised two boys. Gail isn’t famous nor does she seem to want to be, though I could be wrong. She is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a bible teacher and a friend to others. She is by far and large a better wife than I. I learn a lot from her. Her posts look beneath the surface of human relationships and the heart of family. Gail’s influence on me is one of a calming femininity, trust in life and in God. She is one of my favorite reads.
  •  Chonda Pierce is probably my favorite woman on the planet. She’s funny, super sweet, and has a heart of gold. I met Chonda in 2003 at Women of Faith and now work/volunteer as one of her National Turbos. It is a pleasure and a joy to help promote her ministry. The video below is a trailer to her video This Ain’t Prettyville. Several of us went to the taping in Nashville a couple of years ago and had the time of our lives. Chonda is near and dear to my heart and has played a huge role in helping me find myself again now that my kids are grown. I got to put my Turbo skills to work again this year when she came to Tulsa. Watching her grow as a person and as an artist has really given me the courage to do the same. — I’m in two (to be released next year) motion  pictures because of her encouragement.
  • Ken Davis: Best Selling Author. Motivational Speaker. He’s a gifted comedian and a master storyteller. They showed one of his videos called Super Sheep at a woman’s retreat back in 1995.  I laughed until I cried and then forgot about him for ten years. — Now, I own his full library. I’ve seen him speak live and I’ve personally invested in several of Mr. Davis’s speaking seminars. They are informative, to the point, a lot of fun, and wildly successful. I got far more than I bargained for when I went to my first conference of his back in 2009. I wanted to learn about speaking and I’ve learned so much more. Not only has Mr Davis’s conferences helped teach me to be a better speaker, through his blog he’s helped me learn how to be a better liver of life. He’s why I decided to ride in the MS 150 in 2012 – the guy is 63 and has ridden in triathlons for heaven’s sake. For those of you who have followed me all these years you know how terrified I was just to be at the seminar back in 2009. Times have changed. He also taught me to live with nothing to prove, nothing hide, and nothing to lose. This year, I’ve learned about living a life of expectancy instead of expectation.
  • Michael Hyatt helps people live and lead on purpose. He’s a father, a husband, an in-demand speaker, as well as a published author. He is also the chairman of Nelson Publishing. When I met Mr Hyatt at a speakers conference in Nashville back in 2009, I was so intimidated by his position (and my desire at the time to work for Nelson) that I turned into a walking lobotomy. He gave a presentation on how to get published and writing queries that sell and I was thrilled to be there. Nelson Publishing is the group that puts on Women of Faith. At the time, I wanted to give back what they gave me and be a part of great change in the world. I don’t work for Nelson, may never work for them and that’s okay. Today, I read Mr Hyatt because of posts like this one: The Blessings of Discomfort. and I’m moved  beyond myself to a bigger picture.  He writes on intentional leadership, speaking, social networking, and life in general.
  • Janel Brookshire from Stay in the Saddle: Janel is teaching me how to ride horses. Jo is part of my inner circle, but I am going to write about her just a little bit here. She is a cowgirl through and through. An excellent writer and a great teacher. She and her husband own the Cactus Bars Ranch in Claremore Oklahoma and have a love for life like none other. I was a bit of an emotional mess when I first started taking lessons from Jo last winter. (family issue) Riding made all the difference. Seriously. Can’t tell you why, only that it did. Tuesday mornings are my favorite time of the week. Stay in the Saddle isn’t the name of the program, but rather a result of the philosophies taught there. I feel free when I ride. And because of Jo, I got to ride horseback in the jungles of Belize last Spring and had the time of my life. Today we are learning barrel racing (albeit slowly) and soon I’ll be jumping and roping cattle – maybe, I don’t trust myself with rope, but who knows. Anything is possible.

What a journey y’all. This time seven years ago I was grieving more losses than this heart could imagine. Today, I’ve learned how to trust again, how to love again, how to breathe again, and how to live again. I owe that to the wonderful people who’ve come in my life over the years. Seven years is a complete cycle. I’m not sure how I feel about this cycle ending. But end it must. 2012 begins a new season, new chances, and new adventures.

This year is over. I declare it complete.

Merry Christmas and have a wonderful New Year.

LIVE – Love/Laughter, Inspire, Volunteer, Excercise

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