Well here we are. 2016. Merry New Year!
It’s time to reveal my three words for 2016. And I am super excited about my words this year.
Since 2012 I have engaged in the “three words process” that I learned from Chris Brogan. In brief, the concept is to select three words to frame your year.
The process of choosing the words helps me shape my vision for the coming year.
If you set goals, your three words ideally will help you stay on track to meet your goals. If, like me, you favor of an outcome-focused approach, this process still works well for that. (Wondering what the difference is between resolutions, goals and outcomes? Get on my list and you’ll be among the first to find out in the coming week!)
This process also helps with setting intentions, and is useful even if you eschew all of that in favor of “let’s just see what happens.” (I don’t judge. Whatever works for YOU.)
Here’s a rundown of my past words:
2012: Empowerment. Relationships. Energy.
2013: Bravery. Consciousness. Action.
2014: Rituals. Relationships. Roar.
2015: I discarded my initial 3 words. I eventually settled on Trust. Presence. Deep. And that was before the concussion.
The Selection Process and a New Twist
Many people have asked me about my selection process. I’ve learned that the words that serve me best are those that are not too action-oriented or rigid. The best words for me offer room for flexible meaning. Also, in considering my words this year, I felt drawn to words that can serve as both a process on the way to my outcomes and also represent outcomes in themselves. In other words, they are both a “means” and an “ends.”
Also, a new twist for this year is that I also chose a one-word theme for my year. More on that tomorrow, so stay tuned.
Full disclosure: tears were shed in the writing of this post.
My Three Words for 2016
If you follow me even occasionally you know that Todd Henry’s most recent book, Louder Than Words, really resonated for me. The book is about how to cultivate and harness the power of your authentic voice, and I really took his message to heart.
Now it’s time for me to share my voice with the world. I’ve lost count of how many conversations I’ve had where I’ve shared some concept or lesson I’ve learned and the other person says “you need to be writing about this and sharing it with more people.” I now believe that the world needs to hear my voice and my message.
Shortly after sustaining a concussion last year, I learned of 3 other people who had freak accidents that caused fatal head injuries. Fatal. That could have been me. For months, I wondered why I had been spared a similar fate. I believe it is because God wants me to share my message and my voice.
Voice reminds me that I have a powerful message. It reminds me that I have a gift that is valuable to me only in the giving of it.
I have a responsibility to give back to the world, to teach what I’ve learned and to help others grow. I must share my authentic voice, even if it means abandoning the version of myself that doesn’t align with who people think I should be.
Voice is at the core of who I am: a communicator, speaker and educator.
Sharing my voice is a key outcome for this year. That includes growing and expanding my platforms, writing and publishing more articles, doing more public speaking engagements and expanding my coaching practice, plus some other awesome things that I will be sharing soon.
Voice also refers to the process of further mastering the skills I need to express myself with more clarity and resonance.
Energy, not time, is the real currency of productivity and our most precious resource. It informs our thoughts, emotions and actions, and is, in turn, affected by them. Energy is the invisible force that controls our lives.
Optimizing all forms of energy — physical, mental, emotional and spiritual — is essential to sustaining peak performance. This is so obvious, so important, and so often ignored, especially in our culture that is increasingly focused on more work, more content and more distractions.
Energy reminds me to be present to how different factors and inputs — from food, to people to “content” — affect my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. It reminds me to be attuned to which factors fuel my energy and which drain my energy. Energy drains will no longer be tolerated; they must be outsourced or eliminated.
Energy is also my reminder that in all environments, the energy field is influenced by all participants, including me. In order to bring my best energy to any situation, I must allow space in my schedule for adequate recovery and engage practices that renew my energy.
Mastering all forms of Energy is both an outcome in itself and the process that will allow me to unleash my best work every day.
Grace is a quality that can be hard to define in words, but the feeling of it is palpable.
My friend Mastin Kipp, founder of The Daily Love, defines Grace as “unearned Divine favor,” a definition that is rooted in the Christian tradition.
The Jewish tradition also speaks of grace; in fact, as explained by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, it’s central to the priestly blessing. Rabbi Sacks points to the Book of Proverbs, which teaches that grace takes precedence over good intellect.
A year ago, I felt Divine grace when I was in Tel Aviv, after a magical day with clients. I felt it again two days later, after seeing a rainbow over the ocean. A week later, back home in NYC, I awoke in the middle of the night on the floor of my bedroom, bleeding from the back of my head. That I escaped with only a concussion, rather than death or paralysis, is an act of Divine grace. In a year when I didn’t work for 3 months, did no marketing and spent 5 months offline, I had my best year in business ever; that’s Divine grace.
I chose Grace to remind me of the presence of the Divine grace in my life even in the moments when I feel like the deck is stacked against me. Grace reminds me that everything is a gift from the Divine, and that it is my responsibility to look for the gift. If I am awake to the presence of Divine grace, I can follow the path set out for me, knowing that I am never alone, even in my darkest moments.
It is so beautifully articulated in this line from the song Here Now (Madness) by the band Hillsong United (one of my favorite songs to play while meditating):
Faith makes a fool of what makes sense;
But grace found my heart where logic ends.
Grace is also a quality that I want to cultivate further in myself. I believe it is essential to becoming the person I want to become;
What does grace as applied to humans? Rabbi Sacks offers a beautiful definition:
Grace is that quality which sees the best in others and seeks the best for others. It is a combination of gentleness and generosity…[it is the] visible trace of [the Divine’s] being on the face you show to others.
My personal definition of Grace is an acronym that came to me during meditation:
Cultivating these qualities, and using them with others and with myself will expand my graciousness. Living in a state of Grace is one of my core outcomes—as relates to recognizing Divine grace and in living true to the virtues of Grace. It is also a means to my other outcomes.
An act of Divine grace kept me in this world last year to serve a purpose. The experience sent me down a path of intense personal exploration, excavation and evaluation. I battled some dark demons, and survived to come out the other side with a renewed strength of purpose and mission.
I believe that I am here to catalyze massive change in our world. My mission will require me to share my voice, optimize my energy on all fronts, and become a person of extraordinary grace. All great agents of change have a quality of grace.
So there they are: Voice. Energy. Grace.
Each is a means and an ends. Also, I each is an attribute that is designed to be shared with the world, but only after first cultivating it within myself.
I hope you’ll join me on an extraordinary journey in 2016.
What are your 3 words for 2016? Please share in the comments with a link back to your post!