3 words: This really works. I reflect on and choose my 3 words to guide my upcoming year. And they do guide my daily actions as well as how I show up, in work and in life.
The 3 words approach is effective in its simplicity: Remember 3 words. Three concepts. Three overriding themes to the year.
The 3 words approach helps me with clarity: Thoughtfully chosen words, and many which are filtered out for 2017.
And lastly, for me, the 3 words approach is useful as a guiding phrase or meaning for the year.
3 Words Originator
Chris Brogan started this and writes about it here:
“Pick any three words that will guide you in the choices you intend to make for the year. They should be words that let you challenge yourself as to motives and decisions. They should be words that help you guide your actions.” He also talks about 3 and not 2 words, to allow for the interplay among them; that’s not readily understandable until you have experienced a year of this approach.
Choose. And Let Go.
This is not something you can figure out in an hour. It’s thoughtful, difficult, and at the same time, so useful, because of how you get to your final 3 words. It is difficult, too, if like me you are a verbal processor, who loves and pays attention to language! It’s about relevance. Focus. Intentions. Filtering out the less important.
I encourage you to experiment with this approach. Take some reflection time on your own, even if you have to schedule it on your calendar (advisable to make sure it really happens).
Word #1: Create
Creativity in various forms is not simply a nice to have for me, but an essential part of sanity, life satisfaction and joy. And to keep my mind engaged and motivated. To do my best work or thinking or whatever I am focused on.
Creating gives me energy, focus, motivation, an engaged mind.
Creating can be about creating something tangible – a blog, a video, a sewing project, a photograph, an event or experience. Or even a self directed package for people with ADHD [Yes! Coming first quarter 2017].
Or creating can be about the intangible: a legacy, an imprint that you were here, a new team culture, different standards, a feeling, a new relationship or a different way to be in a relationship [adult child/parent, for example].
Creating keeps my mind moving, thinking, active and younger than my baby boomer years. And that goes along with my natural curiosity: for learning new things, for creating new ways of dealing with whatever life throws at me, for figuring out how to start and keep up a new habit, for learning more about myself, emotionally or about my brain/intellectually.
Where does the word “create” show up on a daily/weekly basis? It is in …
- how I schedule my days [e.g., creative time in the morning, tasks I choose to get going];
- my evenings, early mornings and weekends: from coloring while reflecting, to a sewing project, photography, going to a museum or starting a project.
- my thinking. I’m known to be a conceptual thinker, and one who “connects the dots” in ways other people don’t see or don’t see in the same ways.
- my client work: When we are coaching or working on organizational or productivity systems together, we are creating – systems, meaning, habits, value, engagement for your mind so you achieve your goals.
This year, I wanted the word “Create” to remind myself of how essential it is to my well being, my life, my work.
Word #2: Meaning
Meaning feeds motivation, momentum, interest and my imprint, that I was here and made a difference in people’s lives.
- is the result of being more intentional about how I fill my time.
- requests that I understand why I’m doing something, who is interested, what it is for.
- is diluted if I have too much going on or have complicated a project. Simplify, stay focused and there is more meaning.
- comes from balancing what I do for others [outer directed] and what I do for myself [inner]. The meaning of my day is not as clear when I’m out of balance.
- could be about paying attention to being concise. People “hear” better when you are concise in your messages.
- can be about creating meaning for my time when I’m not in work. Or how money is spent. [My money series is here, here, here and here.]
In the coaching context, we look for meaning in words and examples you use, in how time is spent [choices] versus your intentions. We look for meaning in systems which resonate for you, because that tells us something about what will work. We look for meaning in balancing the parts of life from week to week, in past successes, in how things don’t go the way we expect. Some would call that a failure. I’d always call it learning. We look for meaning in the process rather than always in the outcome.
Word #3: Co-Create
In the coaching context, a guiding principle is that we “co” create a relationship. It is what it sounds like.
Jointly, equal partnership of peers. The coach meets you where you are. Believes in you as a creative, resourceful, whole [not broken] person just as you are; even when many people coming to coaching don’t feel that way about themselves. This is especially so if you’ve dealt with undiagnosed ADHD which often produces lower self esteem. [If you’d like to read more specifics, you can find them here.]
My 3 Words: Create. Meaning. Co-Create.
What I think now, at the year’s beginning versus how I’ll see these themes show up in my work/home life during the year is what is so fascinating to me. You think you know the plot, but you really don’t.
As you can tell, each word has multiple meanings or ways it could show up. And you’ve probably thought of even more meanings.
Beyond the individual words, think of how many ways you could combine the words into phrases and actions.
So while it is a focus, the element of serendipity is there, too. Just how I like it – flexible yet intentional. Open to what might happen along the way, and at the same time, still seeing the path ahead.
What are your 3 words?
If you’re not sure what your goals at work or in life are for the year, we can work that out.
Or you know what you want but you’re not clear on how to make sure they happen. Quite common to work on.
Contact me if you’re ready or almost ready.