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My three words for 2021

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.

Oh the stories these forest dwellers could share.

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  \

1to select freely and after consideration

2to decide on

3to 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.

#2 Act

\ ˈakt  \

1the doing of a thing : an act of courage

2: something done voluntarily

3the 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  \

1to consider to be true or honest

2to accept the word or evidence

3to 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”.

My partner Michael and I doing the best we can through isolation.

By Leanne

Leanne is MightyWrite’s lead writer. She believes in the power of stories that focus on our humanity and how what we bring to the world and each other is what really matters.

5 replies on “My three words for 2021”

Leanne, I always enjoy the words you speak, the creativity in your writing & gift you share in bringing it all together.
I don’t know what my 3 words are… but I CHOOSE you as my brilliant, beautiful friend & confidante.
I BELIEVE in you & I hope I will always ACT with kindness & honesty as we navigate life together ❤

Thanks for always sharing where you’re at Leanne. I’ve enjoyed your words a lot this past year, and the lovely note you sent me last week. Good luck on your journey in 2021!

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