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Hearing a bit about getting a Word Of the Year? Not sure what the heck everyone is talking about? Here, let me help…
Every year we all start out with incredible intentions. New Years brings resolutions and reassessment of our lives. We decide “this year will be my year”. We decide to get a membership to the gym, adopt a new diet, commit to build our business, spend more time with our kids and family. Well, you get it. The list goes on.
So what’s the problem? Why don’t we ever stick to our plans? Because it’s easy not to, of course. We don’t feel like changing, even though we know we should. Maybe we don’t even have a specific plan.
Let’s be real, “build my business” and “spend more time with family” are fairly broad goals. There is nothing in that resolution to hold on to, to hold us accountable. What will it take to build your business? What will it take to make sure you are able to spend more time with your family? How will you find time in your already packed schedule for the gym if you don’t have a plan?
This is where having a Word Of The Year comes in.
Let’s start with the beginning.
What is a word of the year?
It is a word, or phrase, that encompasses the thing you will focus on for the year. Your word is something that resonates deeply with you and will help you achieve the goals you set, and become who you envision for the end of the year. It is the filter you run every decision through, the word that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Why should you have a word of the year?
As I said before, it will help you achieve the goals you set. Let’s go back to our resolutions. If your goal is to build your business, you need to know what you need to focus on to do that. You can’t just go willy nilly into the new year thinking “I want to build my business” without a plan. Even if you do have a plan, what keeps you following that road? What helps you make the decisions you need to get to the end point? Now, if we add your resolution to spend more time with your family, how are you balancing both? On a day to day basis, what is guiding your decisions that will keep you focused on your goals? I’ll give you a hint. It’s your word.
So, how does this word work?
Well, you filter everything you do through it. Let’s give you a word, to help with these resolutions. Something maybe you need to work on, something that will push you the step past where you were last year. You want to build your business while spending more time with your family, and let’s not forget that gym membership you got. Maybe you need to be more present where you are, instead of thinking ahead to the next thing, or worrying about where you just were? Or, maybe you need to follow through when you say you will do something. Perhaps it’s just time to schedule. This is very much the opposite of one-size -fits-all. Your word will be personal. It will mean something to you, and it will be something you can hold with you all year.
Your word becomes your guide and your filter.
So let’s say you chose follow through as your word. (Remember, I said it’s a word or a phrase.) Here is an example of how you use it:
Your planner today has you working until 5:45pm when you will leave, stop for a slice of pizza, and head to your son’s basketball game to meet the rest of your family. Remember, more time with your family is one of your goals. It is 5:30 and you are feeling really good about heading out at 5:45, when the phone rings. Your usual office hours are only until 5pm, but you think it could be someone in your family so you answer it. It is a customer, with a problem. You know it will take more than 15 minutes to solve this problem, and as they get into more detail you realize it could cut into the game if you stay on the phone.
So, you have two options, stay on the phone and help the customer- you are trying to grow your business after all, and we know customer service is the best way to do that. Or, let the customer know that it is outside of business hours, but they can send you a detailed e-mail and you will get to it in the morning.
As a business owner, I know the draw of option one. I have certainly done it before, and been late to obligations. Customers are everything to a business, and if your goal is to build your business they are the best place to start. In the moment, it is so easy to forget that you have other goals for the year. Like that one about spending more time with your family. However, you have a “word of the year” so while you are trying to make this decision, you can filter it through your word.
My word is follow through. I told my family I would be there, to follow through with that, I need to end this call.
Here’s the catch
It doesn’t just work because you think of a word in January. Like any other tool, you need to use it for it to do anything. That’s why you use the word. Do your decisions align with your word? Allow your word to push you toward the things you know you need to do, but make you feel uncomfortable.
You got a membership to the gym, you planned on working out 4 days a week. Today is Saturday and you have been to the gym 3 times this week. You don’t feel like going, you start to make excuses. “Well, my other goal was to spend more time with the family.” Yes, that’s true, but your hour at the gym isn’t killing all of your family time today. You think of your word and follow through. Go to the gym for an hour, then head home and spend the rest of the day with your family.
How to pick your word
There are a ton of ways to do this. I’m going to explain my own process.
First, define clear goals for the year:
What is life like on December 31st? Did you get a raise? A promotion? Finish a degree? Have you reacquainted with your wife, or become closer with your son? Have you increased your profits by a certain percent or finally opened that business you have been planning? Maybe you studied and honed in on a skill or developed a hobby? What do you want for this year?
Next, pinpoint what is holding you back:
This is going to take some introspection, and honesty. This does not work if you are not honest with yourself. I can’t walk you through this too much, and I bet in your heart you already know the answer.
I can share a bit of my journey with you though. My problem? Chickening out. I talk myself out of doing the things I need to do, because I am scared of how others will perceive me. I know what I have to do, I study, learn, plan, and then freeze. I worry what others will think of me. Then I chicken out. So, what do I need to do this year to reach my goals? Be brave. Take the risk, just do the thing. So what is my word? BRAVE. Easy, simple, and exactly what I need to remind myself to be every day.
So, what would make the biggest difference in your goals? Make a list. None of us are one year or one word away from being the people we dream of being. You will probably have more than one word to you.
Last, take your list and let it resonate with you for a bit.
At some point, the right word will block out all other stuff and smack you right in the face. It will make sense with everything. You will feel it in your heart, this is the word.
And there you go.
Using your word, you can hit all of your goals and then some.
It will take practice, you may falter. That’s okay. Just hold on to your word and use it next time. It will become habit to think about it. Use it correctly and you can very well surpass the goals you have for yourself.
I want to know what your word is!
Comment below, or head over to Owl Be Me on Facebook to connect and tell me about your Word Of the Year and how it came to you!
Keep your word with you!
Need help finding your word? Check out: How to Choose Your Word of the Year
Feeling stuck? Maybe you find yourself at a crossroads? Check out When it’s Time to Pick Your Path: The Crossroads of Should and Must
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