From relaunching with a new name to branching out into new platforms, 2016 has been a monumental year that required more than a little moxie.

During those moments when my own moxie might have been flagging, my guests gave me plenty of inspiration to draw upon.

Here’s just a little of what I learned from my guests in 2016:

Find your passion early, and pursue it with all your heart.

Winning a poster contest as an 8th grader sparked Ingrid Hernandez‘ pursuit of a career in design.
“What drives me is my passion for design,” says Hernandez, president & creative director of InGrid Design. “It’s always been what has moved me my entire life.”
Hernandez is now passionate about helping young people discover and pursue their passions, too. One of her firm’s biggest clients is the bakery that produces cookies for Girl Scouts’ famous cookies; Hernandez is pleased that her work plays a part in equipping girls with business skills.

You are capable of more than you realize.

Nina Moseley never would have imagined herself going to law school. Yet, that’s exactly what she did, with the encouragement of her husband, Tim.”He is such a visionary, and he gives you challenges all the time,” explains Moseley. “You find yourself doing things you never imagined you could. The Moseleys have taken on more than anyone could imagine as leaders of Wayside Christian Mission. Tim serves as CEO, while Nina serves as COO. Several years ago, Wayside purchased the Hotel Louisville out of foreclosure with a dream of using it to shelter women and families. But the city denied their permit.
Tim was ready to give up, but Nina dug in her heels. “In that moment, I was just at the breaking point and I said, ‘I am just so tired of being pushed around. We are going to dig our heels in and we’re going to fight this and wherever it goes, it goes,'” recalls Nina. Nina and Tim fought City Hall – literally – and won. The Hotel Louisville is now flourishing as not only a shelter for women and families, but a local hospitality hot spot. Wayside rents out the three large ballrooms, has opened several floors for guests, and caters more than 300 events a year. The Hotel Louisville provides revenue for the mission and a unique training opportunity for women in the program. From a shutdown showdown to a downtown destination – that takes moxie.

Service to others begins with knowing yourself.

People want to hear Donnie Vowels‘ story. In my history doing this show, I’ve never had more requests to have a guest than I have for Donnie Vowels. Once we began to talk, I knew exactly why. Donnie has dedicated his life to service. The two-time cancer survivor is a psychotherapist and spiritual counselor with Body, Mind, Spirit Health and Wellness in Louisville. “What drives me is serving people and helping them find the more of who they are,” says Vowels. “There’s so much woundedness within our lives.” Vowels wants to help people learn to love themselves just as they are, the way that they are, in hopes that it will bring healing. Vowels sounds very much like he’s taking the advice one of his seminary professors offered when he was on the brink of giving up. His professor advised him to “take the confusion and make that your reality and let that be what it is.”

Sometimes, moxie is just being confident enough to be yourself, and encouraging others to do the same.

Believe, even when you don’t.

It takes a lot of moxie to narrate thousands of books, and Mitzi Friedlander has done just that.

“Believe in oneself,” advises Friedlander. That bedrock belief makes it possible to believe in the work of others, even under difficult circumstances, a necessary trait when tackling a book with difficult subject matter or structure or style. Ironically, belief in herself is the one thing Friedlander wishes she could change about herself. Even after all she’s accomplished, she still struggles sometimes to feel confident.
Even people with lots of moxie have a little self-doubt, it would seem.

Honor what got you through.

Rebecca Eaves did not have an easy childhood. What got her through? Her little dog, Twinkles. Loving Twinkles, and being loved in return, rescued Rebecca in a very real way. Her love and gratitude for the little dog that brought her joy led her to found the Arrow Fund, which rescues and rehabilitates abused animals. “I kept gravitating towards the most severe cases. There was nobody there for them. I finally just had to say, ‘enough is enough’ and the Arrow Fund was born,” says Eaves. When she first encounters a new rescue, she tells them “they are safe, that nobody is going to hurt them anymore, and we’re going to take care of you.” Which sounds like what Twinkles might have been trying to tell Rebecca when she was a little girl. It’s been a good year, with wonderful guests. I’m looking forward to all the inspiration and life lessons my guests will have for me in 2017.

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