Every year since 2012, I have engaged in a ritual of choosing three words as the guiding structure for my year. You can read more about this practice here.
Some years, I’ve labored for many days to find the “right” three words, filling pages with mind maps and word associations to find words that are charged with enough energy of action and meaning, that fit together well and that feel and sound good to me when I say them.
This year, the words came to me — several weeks early — in a flash of insight. It was a “divine download,” if you will.
I’m hoping that this is a foreshadowing of the ease with which other things happen in 2019.
As I filter through all the possibilities for where I can give my life force this coming year, and how to best serve the world, these are the words that will guide my choices.
These are My Three Words for 2019:
Elevate. Illuminate. Collaborate.
To help people takes strength; to inspire people takes wisdom; to rule over them takes virtue, but to elevate them takes love. ― Matshona Dhliwayo
Elevate is about operating from a higher level of consciousness. It’s about raising my standards in all areas of my life, setting a higher bar on what I’m willing to tolerate.
This is a year for me to level-up, to take a big leap. To rise. And to help other do the same.
In every area, I’m asking: how can I elevate this?
Whatever “this” happens to be.
What can I do to elevate the energy in the moment, to transform the ordinary into extraordinary, the mundane into the memorable?
Distinguishing elevate from its synonyms, Merriam Webster notes that
ELEVATE may replace LIFT or RAISE especially when exalting or enhancing is implied.
This is what I’m going for. When I consider how I can elevate a situation, my intention is not merely to “improve” or “make it better,” but to enhance it, strengthen it, make it praiseworthy.
How can I create in a way that uplifts everyone who chooses to participate in the experience?
Elevate is a reminder to myself to work, live, be, and lead from a higher level of consciousness.
Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. — Anne Frank
I’ve been through a lot of darkness, and I’ve had enough. I’m ready for light. Not just to receive the light, but to be the light that helps others see more clearly.
Illuminate is about bringing light to the darkness, making things clear, and bringing enlightenment to the world. And it’s about being the light, recognizing that the light is not on the other side of the darkness but within the darkness itself. It’s within me. I am the light.
Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. —Thomas Aquinas
Illuminate is about shining light on the shadows— whether its a personal shadow, a community shadow, or a cultural shadow. It’s about speaking the truths that others refuse to speak, or aren’t aware of.
In one conversation after another, people tell me that I help them get clear about things that were previously murky for them. Illumination is one of my secret super powers, and this is the year I will own it.
Illuminate is also about keeping things “light,” even when the topic is heavy. In any moment, I am asking:
How can I be the light in this situation? or How can I lighten this situation?
Illuminate is about being the light in the darkness, and using my light to light a path for others.
It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. —Charles Darwin
One thing that I’ve illuminated for myself is that no matter what I’m working on, I feel most fulfilled when I am working in collaboration with others.
When I look back through my journals at my notes from every moment of peak enjoyment and fulfillment, I was working in a team environment. I was in conscious collaboration. This is something I plan to cultivate more, by seeking collaborators for my work and seeking to collaborate with others to support their work.
There is something about working with a group of like-hearted individuals in service of a common mission and a shared outcome that elevates even the most mundane and otherwise dreary work.
Although I also value my solo time for deep work, I’ve discovered that too much alone time isn’t productive for me. Once I hit a certain threshold, that type of work is no longer productive for me.
Collaboration requires a spirit of abundance; a trust that we will all benefit from working together and that there is more than enough business and opportunity for everyone.
This year I am focused on nurturing opportunities for conscious collaborations with like-hearted entrepreneurs who share my vision and are aligned with my mission.
Share Your Words
One way to elevate this ritual of My Three Words is by sharing your words. Please share them in the comments blow, or tag me on social media (@reneefishman) and use the hashtag #mythreewords. I can’t wait to see what words you’ve chosen.
More Planning Tips
This month, I’ll be sharing more about how I structure and plan my year. I’ll be saving some of the juiciest bits for my community, so please consider joining and sign up for my list.