And also: welcome to My Meadow Report!
I am so thrilled to have you here. I have lots to say about what this site is about and where it will be heading, but the first order of business today is to kick off 2014.
A few years ago I started what has become an annual tradition of choosing 3 words that will shape my focus for the year ahead. I got this concept from my friend and mentor Chris Brogan, who has been doing this since 2006.
You can read Chris’ explanation of the concept here.
For me, the purpose of choosing 3 words to shape my year is to give myself a framework for thinking about what I want to do and who I want to become in the year ahead. I try to choose words that are broad enough to keep me focused on my bigger vision, while specific enough to inspire and motivate my daily actions.
Last year, I shared my words only within the context of the private community associated with Chris’ Brave New Year (affiliate) course.
This year, I’m sharing publicly, right here on my new blog.
So here we go.
My 3 Words for 2014
I have some big visions for this year, and I want sustainable results. You don’t get sustainable results from one action; sustainable results require small actions done consistently over time. This is what rituals are.
This could also be habits, but for me, habits implies something that is done unconsciously. A ritual can become a habit after a certain amount of time, but to get it going requires consciousness and attention.
Tony Robbins says that rituals are the foundation of standards. Rituals lead to habits. Habits lead to results. So rituals determine our results.
By the way, in case you’re wondering where goals fit in here, for me, implementing rituals is more critical than “setting goals.” In my new article for Chris Brogan’s Owner Magazine, I wrote that goals are simply a vehicle to get us to a desired emotional place. I view rituals as the way to find that place before reaching the goal.
“Rituals” will serve as a trigger to remind me to observe what I’m doing each day and evaluate what is serving me and what is not serving me. It’s about being conscious and aware of my actions before they become habits.
Rituals are about finding the small things that I can do consistently that will lead me to where I want to go.
This one is rich with meaning for me, and I have 3 parts to it:
(1) Develop and Nurture
Relationships are the currency of life. They are the key to growing ourselves and our businesses. Nobody can tackle this life alone and expect to see great results.
I have noticed that when I am going through periods of struggle, I often disconnect from my relationships and don’t give them the respect and nurturing that they require. Then I say nasty things to myself, which of course is not respectful of my relationship with myself. Other times, I struggle with setting the right boundaries around relationships, which results in prioritizing some over others. My mom complains I never call her. I lose touch with friends because I’m busy with clients. I don’t make time to meet and date men. And my relationship with myself suffers.
In case you’re wondering, let me just put this out there: I am single and would like to get married.
That won’t happen by itself.
To see progress in my dating life, business, finances, and general happiness, I must nurture all of my relationships: with myself, with the universe/god, and with the people around me – friends, family, clients, my community and strangers.
Life and business are about people. All business is personal.
Most important: you become who you spend time with.
Relationships also covers my relationships with money and the physical stuff in my life. Creating a healthy relationship with money will allow me to grow financially free. Clearing clutter from my home and from my life will make room for new opportunities.
After reading Todd Henry‘s excellent book Die Empty (affiliate), I am also focused on my relationship to my work. His call to approach work with “diligence and urgency” echoes in my head and is a reminder of how to shape my relationship with my work and creative pursuits.
(2) Approach and Engage
The concept of “Relationships” also serves as a reminder to approach every interaction with a mindset of “what can I give and how can I serve?”
I tend to look for ways to give and contribute, and must remember that in some moments the best way to serve others may be by serving myself first. I must put on my oxygen mask before I can help others.
Within the bucket of “approach” is what I will bring to my relationships and how I choose to engage. What we bring to our relationships is what we get from them. As I have allowed myself to be more vulnerable in my relationships with others, I have seen how that gives permission to others to take off their masks. I am committed to bringing love, presence, vulnerability, honesty and authenticity to my relationshps. I am stripping off the masks, one-by-one, and if you stick around here, you’ll be witness to that process.
This is also about reminding myself that a balanced relationship requires not only the willingness to give, but also a willingness to receive. This is a place where I have struggled in the past. I am getting better at asking for help, and will continue to work this muscle. Allowing myself to receive help is far outside my comfort zone, especially when the help is offered with no expectation of reciprocation.
The truth is, nobody can do it alone. We all need help. And it’s ok to allow people to help just because they want to help, without having to offer back anything in return. I recognize this intellectually. The emotional integration of this is more difficult, and I’ll be working on it.
The final element of relationships comes from a shorthand version of the word. In the context of television shows, fans use the term “ship” when speaking of couples they want to see paired up. For example, in the early days of Grey’s Anatomy, people would say that they “shipped” for Meredith and Derek. So “Relationship” makes me think of “ship.”
“Ship” is a term used often by Seth Godin, and comes from a quote by Steve Jobs, who said “real artists ship.”
It’s a reminder that I can make an impact in this world only if I let go of the need for perfection. It’s about approaching my work with the mindset that flaws are not failures; the only failure is in not releasing my work. It’s time to recognize that the goal is not to overcome the fear before shipping, but rather to put myself out there in spite of the fear. This goes for my work, my content and myself.
It’s time to stop tinkering, stop stalling, and start shipping.
And if you’re wondering, this website is the start of that practice in action.
Yes, as in the Katy Perry song.
There are numerous influences here. First is Todd Henry’s Die Empty, which really resonated with me and lit a fire under me to “find my voice” and work with urgency and diligence to put it out into the world. I actually considered using “Empty” as one of my words, but didn’t want to use a “negative” word.
Second is the realization that it’s time for me to integrate my knowledge and experience and use it to serve others. That’s a big part of the mission of this site, and I considered “report,” but it didn’t quite resonate with me.
Other words I considered included “voice” and “integrate.” These words will certainly play a role in my year, but they were all missing an key element: the feeling of passion. And passion is what I’m about.
I am a multi-passionate woman and I have a lot to contribute to the world. My mission is to empower and inspire, and I know I have the ability to do this in a big way. I recognize that I have been playing too small and I have been holding back.
Some people have advised me to “pick a lane” and focus my efforts in one direction. I will not do that. I wasn’t put on this earth to play small, and I will not confine myself to a cage of “one thing.” Life is too short for that type of thinking.
My purpose lies in my passions. I have a unique perspective shaped by my background, education, schooling, career and life experiences, intellectual ability, creative spirit and a burning desire to help people live better lives. We are living in a world abundant in information. It pours out of every device and comes at us relentlessly. But information alone doesn’t help us get to where we want to go. The information that comes to us is lacking in filters, and I aim to be that filter.
So, I will not pick a lane. Instead, I will take over the whole road. I am ready to unleash my best work to serve others. To those who want me to pick a lane: you can come along for the ride or you can get out of the way.
When a lion roars, you can hear it and feel it. It is physical, emotional and spiritual. That is what I’m going for here.
I chose Roar because the song triggers an emotional response in me. It lights the fire that anchors to my purpose in many areas. It reminds me not merely to find my voice, or “report,” but to put my voice out into the world so I can be heard, seen and felt.
And also, everyone should have a theme song. 😉
So there we go. My 3 words for 2014.
And now I’d love to know …. what words will guide your year? Please share in the comments.