I’m adding a new twist to my planning for 2016: a one-word theme. Keep reading for the concept, my theme, and why 3 + 1 does not equal 4.
A New Element to My Annual Planning
The other day I met up with my friend Joseph Varghese to mastermind and share our visions for 2016. I shared with him the “three words” concept and he shared with me his practice around selecting a one-word “theme” for the year. I had been thinking about adding a one-word theme to my framework for this year. It is an approach used by my, Richard Grossman, my sales manager at Halstead Property. I’ve experimented with it in the past, but without being really intentional about it. Then, yesterday, I came across an article about the power of choosing one word to guide your year. This advice comes from Dan Britton, Jimmy Page and Jon Gordon, co-authors of One Word That Will Change Your Life.
(Full disclosure: I haven’t read the book. I think it’s probably safe to skip this one, given that I already know the bottom line).
Joseph. Richard. The Article.
That’s three. I believe in the power of threes. When a message comes to me three times, I know I need to pay attention. So this year, I’m adding a one-word theme to the mix.
Why 3 + 1 Does Not Equal 4
As you know, I also engage in the My 3 Words process, in which I choose 3 words to guide my year.
So you might wonder: If I engage in the My 3 Words process and also choose a one-word “theme” for my year, isn’t that the same as choosing 4 words?
After all, doesn’t 3 + 1 = 4?
Perhaps in math, but not in life.
If you’ve read this far and you’re a “rules person,” you may be a bit uncomfortable with my “breaking the rules.”
So, let me pause and congratulate you for stepping out of your comfort zone.
Also: My year. My life. My rules.
But I did consider this. Because I believe there is power in threes. And yet I like the idea of theming my year.
I concluded that, for me, the one-word theme is a separate concept from my three words; it sits on a different plane in the realm of how I consider the framework I am creating to guide my year. The best way to explain this is that they differ in process and purpose:
The process I use to select my theme is different from the process I use to choose my three words.
The purpose of my theme is different from the purpose of my three words.
In this case, 3+1 does not = 4.
This will become more clear when we get tangible. So, let’s get to it. Stick with me and I’ll tie this together at the end.
My Theme for 2016: Implementation
I am an idea machine. Coming up with ideas happens like breathing. A simple walk outside can result in many ideas. Every new piece of information, every conversation and every experience sparks new ideas.
Coming up with new ideas is rarely a challenge for me. In fact, often I find new ideas coming as I’m writing down the ideas I just had. They seem to flow in an endless stream.
This is awesome. I realize some people struggle to come up with ideas, and I much prefer the “higher-quality” problem of having an abundant flow of ideas.
And what’s the “problem” with having so many ideas?
An idea has little value unless it is implemented. I know this. In fact, I often give people ideas, including some of my best ideas, simply because I love seeing my ideas come to life. Now it’s time for me to bring some of my own ideas to life.
I know if I direct my efforts to selecting and implementing some of my ideas, the other parts of my vision will fall into place.
This will require me to get over my two biggest hurdles: perfectionism and idealism.
Learning to go with “good enough” is not as easy as many people make it sound, especially if you’re conditioned to be a high-achiever. It’s easy to get caught up in the dominant cultural beliefs around what I must have in place in order to successfully launch a new initiative: the optimal website, landing pages, SEO, a list of a certain size, and so on.
And it’s easy to get caught up by my own ideals. I have high standards for everything I do, including how I serve others. Often, my quest for the ideal gets in the way of my fully implementing an idea. It leads to a lot of frustration and self-berating. I am so over that sport.
Imperfect, inspired action is better than no action. The best way I can honor my voice is to implement and iterate.
How My Theme and My Three Words Work Together
My three words for 2016 are Voice, Energy and Grace.
On the most basic level, here is how this all comes together:
Unimplemented ideas represent a part of my voice that isn’t being shared with the world. Every idea that isn’t implemented creates an open loop, and open those loops leak energy. As the open loops stack on each other, my inner tension increases, and this is the opposite of Grace.
When I implement my ideas, I share my voice with the world, clear potential sources of energy drains and open the door to experience more Grace.
So this begs the question: why isn’t implement one of my three words for 2016?
This goes back to my vision. Part of my vision is to embrace a more feminine energy around my life. After years of achieving, striving and doing (all rooted in the masculine energy), I am learning to embrace the feminine energy of feeling, being and allowing. Of course, we need both energies. But, under pressure, I tend to default to the “doing” energy because that is my conditioning.
Implementation doesn’t come from within; it’s completely external. It’s simply the act of doing. Executing. Achieving. It may yield me more achievements and accomplishments, but it won’t necessarily get me my desired outcome.
To get closer to my vision, the implementation must be grounded in values that are helping me evolve as a person. Voice, energy and grace become the means through which I will implement my ideas.
If I diligently develop and share my authentic voice, engage in practices that create and sustain peak energy states and cultivate a state of grace, implementation will happen without much additional effort.
In effect, they create a virtuous cycle:
Voice. Energy. Grace. ==> Implementation
Implementation ==> Voice. Energy. Grace.
My vision for my year, and for my life, is not merely about what I will do or what I will create. It is also about who I will become. If, at the end of the year, all I’ve done is to implement ideas, then I will have failed. Focusing on the path of voice, energy and grace will brighten my inner light and expand my capacity as a human being.
And that’s my ultimate outcome.
How do you frame your year? Do you like to choose one word? Three words? Do you ask questions? Please share!