I’ve participated in marketing guru, speaker, and author Chris Brogan’s #my3words a few times, but admittedly without a whole lot of dedication or conviction.
Two of my words for last year were Fearlessness and Openness. I actually can’t remember the third one and had to dig around to find these. They weren’t on a Post-it note by my desk or a reminder on my calendar; I’d again ignored them for the most part but the weird thing is, they still guided me throughout the year.
2019 exceeded my expectations in ways that went way beyond the bottom line. Early in the year, I made the decision to live and work more in alignment with the writer’s life I’d always imagined. Rather than scrambling for business writing contracts, I created much of my own work by pitching story ideas to magazines and organizations I’ve always wanted to write for. I wrote more and used my social platforms to forward ideas and issues I care about. I also gave myself the gift of writing retreats and workshops that, in addition to making me a better writer, gave me a community where I could share my fiction and creative non-fiction work with other writers. Fearlessness and openness sat on my shoulders, helping to silence the relentless inner critic that has held me back for so long.
Making the choices I did throughout the year has brought more joy into my work and life. With that in mind, I plan to be more intentional (yes, that’s my #1 word for 2020) about many things this year – one of which is the 3 words that I’ve chosen to guide me.
You can read more about Chris Brogan’s #my3words here and if you decide to jump on board, let me know your 3 words as a comment at the end of this article or check out my posts on the social media channels noted below. Using the hashtag #my3words will connect you with Chris’ much larger community.
I hope that sharing my journey inspires you to think about your 3 words as well.
in·ten·tion | \ in-ˈten(t)-shən \
Definition of intention
1: a determination to act in a certain way : RESOLVE
3: what one intends to do or bring about
My main word for 2020 is intention. This will include ensuring, as much as possible, that the decisions I make align with my values, passions, and goals. It will also mean stepping back and letting go of things (burdens, responsibilities, even ideas) that aren’t mine to carry, and being more aware of how my actions affect others. I haven’t realized some dreams because I have always gotten in my own way. I think having that awareness opens up possibilities that have always been there—I’ve just been too distracted and divided to see them.
I’ll also be more intentional about the work I do for my clients, only taking projects that align with my strengths and skills and using those to support the goals and success of others.
per·mis·sion | \ pər-ˈmi-shən \ (1)
Definition of permission
1: the act of permitting
2: formal consent : AUTHORIZATION
I struggled a lot more with my second and third words. The Merriam Webster definition of permission didn’t do much to inspire me, yet the word was sticking and I couldn’t let it go.
I want to give myself permission to seek answers to certain questions I’ve been asking myself for quite some time beyond the usual “Am I good enough?” Some of these are queries about the paths I’ve chosen for my work and life. I want to permit myself to let my own light shine rather than always focusing on making other people happy.
I’m going to permit myself more time in spaces that draw on my strengths (these are a combination of what I learned from a Via Institute Character Strengths Survey and an astrologer(2): appreciation of beauty, love of life, simplicity, intelligence, perseverance, fairness, loyalty, energy, and warm heartedness.
What does this mean for the people and projects I work for? I give myself permission to care about your business or cause as much as I do about my own. For me, if my heart isn’t in it, I know I can’t do my best. And I always want to do my best. I give you permission to not always agree with me, but to be respectful throughout our collaboration.
brav·ery | \ ˈbrāv-rē , ˈbrā-və- \
Definition of bravery
1: the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear, or difficulty
Bravery was not on my list originally. But, when I sent the word “authorship” to Chris describing it as facing my fears in sharing my stories, he said I had it wrong. That was bravery. I like the idea of aspiring to bravery although I don’t know how successful I’ll be. When I mentioned it to my partner, he said, “Bravery isn’t just about driving a boat at 100 miles per hour, it’s all sorts of things.” So, in my case, it might just be driving the quad up and down our long sloping driveway with a load of wood, even if my hand is firmly on the brake most of the way. Or it may be taking on a contract to edit a magazine, which I’ll be starting in the spring. It’s also going to be completing the first draft of that damn novel I’ve been talking about for over a decade. Perhaps I’ll also get that “Write for Business” white paper written up and…this could be a stretch, I’ll even host some workshops. And driving the boat? Well, canoes are more my thing but I just might paddle faster and farther than I ever have before!
Whatever I do, I hope I can be brave enough to follow my heart, trust my gut, and keep my eyes open under these influences. I feel like anything is possible, but it’s up to me to know what clues to follow.
I’ll also recognize and promote the bravery of the clients I work with. I am so fortunate to work with business owners, managers and other specialists who care about making a difference with the work they do. I hope I can be as brave in bringing these stories to the world.
Chris suggests you review your 3 words daily. I plan to keep mine visible, embed them in my plans for the year (be that a marketing plan, financial plan, meal plan, etc.) and use them as checkpoints when I’m unsure or afraid.
What I love most about this process is that it asks us to pay attention to the signals we’ve received about what should guide us for the year ahead.
Again, if you’re so inspired, please share your words in the comments and on social.
I wish you all the luck in the words!
Special thanks and credit to Chris Brogan for his never-ending insights and warm-hearted gifts for people like me!
(1)All definitions courtesy of merriam-webster.com
(2)Master Astrologer Dawn Anne