For the past two years, I have had great success in getting big things done by focusing on a single word for the year. I got this idea while attending an annual professional conference hosted by Anne Garland held in January in beautiful Essex, Connecticut. She led us through an exercise to select one key word and then challenged us to create a mini vision board around that key word. I found this exercise infinitely more powerful than making New Years Resolutions or a long list of goals for the year. Choosing ONE WORD is a real discipline for me, but it worked like gang-busters on my often-distracted, over-achieving personality.
In 2016, my word for the year was PUBLISH. I was so tired of all the delays and postponements of getting my signature book, Stop Global Boring, released. I also wanted to blog more, share more ideas, and create more content. But of course, I had to overcome the procrastination demons and the multitude of distractions that pop up daily. It’s amazing how the “urgent but not important” things can take us away from what matters most in our lives.
I created a small vision board to support my key word “publish”. I also hired a fabulous virtual marketing assistant, Holly Koziol, to work with me on the book project. She created most all of the images in the book, including digitizing my 12 presentation tools known as The Control Center. I hired and paid a publisher, Indie Books International, to help me take my book from finished manuscript to published book in distribution. Without these and other remarkable people, my goal of publishing this next book would still be just a dream.
I’ll never forget the thrill of receiving the first full printed proof copy in the mail. It was a warm summer Saturday in Connecticut and I had just returned from taking a yoga class. UPS had just dropped off a package and I didn’t know what it was. I must have let out the biggest shout of joy for all my neighbors to hear. My book had arrived. I had realized my dream. The word of the year paid off!
In 2017 my word for the year was MOVE. Having experienced success with a singular focus for the year 2016, I was motivated to choose another power word for 2017. My husband and I had been dreaming and planning for several years to relocate to a new state with warmer weather. Finally we were ready to put our dream into action. The word “move” was the most obvious choice for us. This set us into a series of important decisions and actions that accelerated our momentum.
I wrote a blog about our experience, hoping to motivate others to put their dreams into action. Check it out: Taking the Leap .
At midnight on August 31, 2017, after an 18-hour drive with 3 cats, 1 dog, a truck and a trailer loaded with our worldly possessions, we pulled into our new home in South Carolina. Looking back on all that we had to do to get to this point, it felt like we had lived through a miracle. While we were blessed with much good fortune in our relocation efforts, there was a great deal of discipline and stick-to-it-ness that made it happen. The word of the year paid off for us once again. We moved!
With two years of success with my word of the year focus, the pressure was on to come up with a new word for 2018. I reflected for two months on what I wanted in my life in the coming year. With so much turbulence in the world, I considered a focus on peace, rather than personal or professional success (although they are probably connected at a deep, fundamental level). After being inspired by an Uber driver in Canada, I wrote a blog on increasing your personal investment in peace.
This past November, I attended a conference hosted by the business development coach and author, Mark LeBlanc. This is the third time that I’ve attended his annual conference in beautiful La Jolla, California. I always come away from this conference with more focus and momentum. At the end of this three-day conference, I created a plan and a path for how I wanted to develop my business and life in 2018. I created a “soul collage” – a visual image for how I wanted my life and business to be in 2018. My collage is shown on the right.
Now Mark LeBlanc is a stickler for “filling in the blanks.” So many people (myself included) have the tools they need to succeed, but fail to use them on a daily basis. Mark also encouraged us to “surrender to what you are capable of.” I realized at this conference that I didn’t need to take over the world or to set mind-blowing new goals for myself. I didn’t’ need to chase new shiny objects, or buy new technology, or create something brand new, or join another new group. Rather I could simply leverage what I had built over the past 13 years and continue the momentum of my growth and development.
With that insight, I selected LEVERAGE as my word for 2018.
A dictionary definition of the word leverage is “to use (something) to maximum advantage.” I also like the mechanical principles of using a lever to gain leverage, reducing the amount of force necessary to achieve to move or lift a heavy object. Leverage could help me make hard things easier to do, and complex things simpler. I’m already liking this new word of the year.
I envision applying my key word for 2018 in these ways:
- I will leverage my network and connect with new people to expand my business locally, nationally, and internationally.
- I will leverage my knowledge, experience, and curiosity to advance my signature work in the field of presentation coaching and training.
- I will leverage my intellectual property and content (blog, books, videos, etc.) to create opportunities with and for more people and organizations.
- I will leverage my financial assets to invest, save, and grow my retirement funds and fulfill my philanthropic goals.
- I will leverage my talent, energy, and influence to create more positive changes in the world.
Now I just need to figure exactly HOW to do all of these things. I’m excited for the challenge, and grateful for the focus and inspiration.
What’s your focus for 2018?
With the new year just beginning, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what you want to create in your life, career, and business in the next 12 months. What focus do you need to make the right things happen for you in 2018? Don’t leave it to chance. Find the keyword that gives you the FOCUS, motivation, and momentum to move forward.