Words inspire.

Whether they are the words of Martin Luther King Jr. in his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech given during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963 that led the Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act, or the words that incited an angry mob to defile the meeting place of Congress 58 years later, words have the undeniable power to elicit action.

At the beginning of each year, I decide on my personal mantra that will carry me throughout the next 365 days. Typically, it is a word that acts as a reminder of what I need to do more of and what I should be mindful of in service to the goals I have set for myself. Some people use beauty regimens as a form of self care to provide a brief respite, if even psychologically, from the harshness of life. I prefer to immerse myself in words that protect and reinvigorate me.

Already this year has not been a typical one. Somehow a one word phrase didn’t seem enough to sustain me. This year’s mantra, three overlapping and not entirely intuitive phrases, seemed to fit the bill.

PUSH IT!!! Push through it... Push it through.

PUSH IT!!! Is what my husband yells at his favorite (typically flailing) team as they near within striking distance of scoring. Seeming to sense his efforts, they do. Not always beautifully, and often falling short of their goal, but still valiantly trying. Attempting. And advancing.

In the sea of uncertainty that has already marked the first 18 days of this year, pushing through the turbulence of unmet expectations, dreams unfulfilled and questions left unanswered is critical for self-preservation. As my ancestors discovered before me, in situations much worse, hope is the life giving force that fuel the actions that ease the journey. It’s not a panacea to erase the unpleasantness, but instead expands the brilliance of the horizon.

And finally, push it through. This is not the moment to let up pressure. This is the time to gather resources, to invest in ourselves, our families, our businesses, and our communities. This is the year to be fiercely resolute about lifting up and celebrating those dreams which we hold dear.

These are my words to motivate me to take the action I need to construct the world I envision.

What are yours?