Be open-hearted, personally and professionally

I spotted this lovely necklace at my hometown Harvest Fair this past fall and I knew right away I had to have it. My personal journey has taught me that being open-hearted leads to increased peace, inner strength, and success.

Many refer to the importance of having an open mind. I would argue that having an open heart encompasses both the thinking mind as well as the world of feelings and energy. It speaks not only to what we say and do, but also to our very way of being.

What does it mean to have an open heart? Here are some of my faves:

Don't assume! 
As Don Miguel Ruiz explains in "The Four Agreements," "the problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth. We could swear they are real." Open your heart and mind to the possibility that nothing is personal, and your assumptions may just be part of a story you made up that aligns with your own narrative.

Get curious! 
Ask questions and try to understand the other person's point of view instead of assuming you know their reasons, plans, or concerns. We often have (negative) reactions based on what we think someone’s intentions are, when, in fact, we may be totally off base. Why not find out? You never know what truth will emerge from powerful questions.

Don't be judgmental!
Yes, I know, this is a tough one. It can often be hard to consider that that our way is not the right way. If we remain open to different ways of thinking, acting, and being in the world, we create an environment perfect for growth, for both ourselves and those around us. Tolerance opens the mind in all sorts of creative ways.

Be patient and gentle with yourself! 
Extend your heart...inward. Don't let your robust inner critic put you down for being where you are. Know that you are on a path, and whatever is happening is an opportunity for learning and even greatness.

So what's in store for you in 2017? How do you want to challenge yourself? What will be possible if you remain open-hearted?