I know I’m not the only one who was happy to bid 2020 farewell. But like many, I also have to admit there have been some personal discoveries that would never have happened with out the kick in the behind that 2020 gave to all of us.
Covid has somehow brought me closer to what’s in abundance where I live. For example, as I walk through the forest, I’m often startled by the size and age of trees I’ve never noticed that were of course always there. What was dormant in me seems to have awakened.
Every year, I try and start out with some intention of how I want to focus my energy and time by choosing my “Three Words.” This is a practice I learned from marketing guru, speaker, and author Chris Brogan.
My three words for 2020 – permission, intention and bravery – guided me more than in previous years. If you follow me on social media or have read my blogs throughout the year, you likely get the picture. I had some very strong intentions on responding to challenges of COVID but also the world in general. I gave myself permission to say “no” more than ever before but also to choose my responses to situations where I felt out of my league, unwelcome or disrespected. We were all brave in 2020, working through a global pandemic and adapting to an ever changing social, work and personal landscape. I faced many fears (more on that in my next post), and applaud those big and small courageous acts we were all able to take to get through in our work and personal lives.
Why do words matter?
As a writer, I am often searching for words. Perhaps that’s why selecting just three to guide me for the year can seem like a daunting task. But words do matter, as they are our gateway to connection, truth, and our communities.
I write this on the day after the U.S. inauguration where many great words were shared—words we desperately needed to hear about truth and unity. But in all of the ceremony and grandeur of the day, it was the words of a poet, the breathtaking Amanda Gorman, that stood out most for me:
“Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”Amanda Gorman, Inaugural poet
These are words that have incredible power at a time when many of us are searching for words to bring some light to whatever lessons, losses and perhaps, even gifts, this unprecedented time in our history has given us. Complaining about it is old news, words that are wasted on the tired ears of one another.
While I hadn’t heard Amanda’s poem when I landed on my three words back on January 1, I’d like to think about how her question can be added to my story as I expect it will still be some time before we emerge from the “never ending shade” of this global pandemic. For me personally, that “shade” takes another meaning in the fears and barriers I often put in the way of my own steps forward.
Amanda’s words prompted me to see that while there may always be shade, there is usually a way through it. I hope to draw on my three words to constantly seek that light.
#1 – Choose
\ ˈchüz \
1: to select freely and after consideration
2: to decide on
3: to have a preference for
I will choose my reaction to stressors, conflict, opportunities, everything in my life that matters. This also means choosing who I want to serve and how I want to do that and to have hope that it will all work out. I can also respond to Amanda’s question by choosing where my light can shine in the service of others and myself.
\ ˈakt \
1: the doing of a thing : an act of courage
2: something done voluntarily
3: the process of doing something
I will use my positive energy to act on those things I choose to make a part of my life, and to bring brightness and hope to me and others through those actions.
# 3 Believe
\ bə-ˈlēv \
1: to consider to be true or honest
2: to accept the word or evidence
3: to hold as an opinion
I will believe I can do what I want to do, what I need to do. Most importantly, I will have faith to believe that others can too.
If you are so inclined to choose three words, I would love to see them in the comments or send me an email.
Watch for my upcoming post about fear and the questions we can ask ourself to get to the other side of the “shade”.