Although I’m certainly not new to Louisville, I will remember 2016 as the year it occurred to me “I feel like I really belong here.”

As I reflect on the people I met and the events I attended, I’m struck by how they interweaved in a way I wasn’t even aware, as I increasingly engaged, enjoyed myself, and experienced the power of strategic synchronicity.

How did this happen?  Here’s the approach I used in 2016 — Maybe you’ll find it helpful, too:

HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED:

  1. Show up (even if you have to make yourself).
  2. Look around for those who have “good energy” and engage with them.
  3. If you enjoyed a good connection with someone, follow up — without a hard agenda to make anything in particular happen.  Just take the opportunity to find out more about them and tell them about yourself.  (This is how you’ll avoid “networking” someone.)
  4. Relax, enjoy yourself and explore any possibilities of strategic synchronicity.

Here are some of the experiences and insights I’m most grateful for in 2016 — and what’s up next:

BEST SPEAKING OPPORTUNITY:

I was gratified to share two new evidence-based presentations this year – “How to Perform under Pressure” and “Building Resilience: How to Get a Grip, Get Back up and Go On” with the University of Louisville School of Medicine staff, the Women Lawyers Association of Jefferson County, the Kentucky Counseling Association and Women Who Wine for a Cause.

Next Up?  I’ll be sharing these presentations with other mental health care professionals at Bellarmine University’s School of Continuing and Professional Education — and I’m already working on more state-of-the-art new topics in 2017 about how good guys can finish first, how to increase your conversational intelligence, and more.  Stay tuned!

BEST WRITING OPPORTUNITY:

As the featured behavioral health columnist for M.D.Update, a unique Kentucky-focused magazine, I get to share my insights with Kentucky physicians and their staffs — like

How to Deal with a Difficult Person Without Becoming Part of the Problem, Are Women Really Better at Relationships? and Change A Word, Change Your Brain.  (And the perks are great — I got to go to the 2016 Doctor’s Ball.)

Next Up?  This year I’m teaming up with Dean Toni Ganzel at the U of L School of Medicine to do an article focusing on physician burnout and wellness as a core business strategy

FAVORITE NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION: 

I quickly learned that most of us involved in Go Red for Women have a very personal reason for combatting the greatest health risk women face — heart disease — whether it’s a friend, relative or even ourselves.  The good news is we know how to inspire and have fun while doing it.  Want proof?  Although I got to go to the Governor’s Mansion for “A Celebration of Women’s Hearts,” I’d have to say the event that most influenced me this year was the Worksite Wellness Symposium, where I got to interact with local executives about wellness as a core business strategy.  How cool is that?

Next Up?  My donation for the 2017 Heart Ball is one of my favorite workshops: Mindful Eating for People Who Love Food, Wine and Eating Out.

PROJECT CLOSEST TO MY HEART:  

I started mindfulness-based practices like yoga and meditation almost 30 years ago.  In 2016 I found a way to give clients and colleagues a feel for why these practices have meant so much to me, personally and professionally.  I hoped to inspire them, too, in a brief inspirational video.  You can see it at http://www.drjananderson.com/cant-meditate-try-mindfulness-in-motion/.

Next Up?  I’m getting the hang of this video thing — so I can start sharing a weekly vlog     about what’s on my mind.  Follow me on Facebook at “LifeWise by Dr. Jan” and look forward to a weekly energizer to stimulate your thinking and get you moving toward your goals.

CULTURAL HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR: 

Hands down, it had to be an evening with world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma at The Kentucky Center, followed by a post-concert party at the Muhammad Ali Center.  (Yes, I got a photo with Yo-Yo Ma — and Teddy Abrams, too!)

Next Up?  I don’t know what could top this in 2017, but I’m not wasting any time.  I just became a patron of the newly-reopened Speed Art Museum.  As chief curator Erika Holmquist-Wall says, “We want the Speed to be not only an art museum, but kind of a hub for the community, where people can come together and have a conversations.”  Sounds like my kind of place!

FIRST KICKSTARTER: 

I got to participate in my first kickstarter project this year — SILKHORSE is an East meets West  collaboration between notable Kentucky visual artist Dr. Keith Auerbach and entrepreneur Parekh Bugbee.  The Silkhorse scarf series celebrates both the spirit of the horse and the preservation of artisan-made textiles in one dramatic line of equine silk scarves.

MOST INSPIRING ORGANIZATION: 

What could be more inspiring than to attend the Hope Scarves Colors of Courage event?  Founder Lara McGregor’s organization collects scarves and stories from women who have faced cancer (like Lara) and in turn sends these stories and scarves to other women going through treatment.  I felt fortunate to be in the audience to see Lara win the 2016 Greater Louisville Inc.credible People’s Choice Award.

Next Up?  When someone thanked him for his insights, organizational consultant and best-selling author Richard Barrett replied, “I am grateful to be a channel for this information — and I thank God that this is the way I get to make my living.”  That pretty well sums it up for me, too!