The Three Words That Will Guide Me in 2021


Wow, what a year it has been! Which is crazy to say, considering we’re only three weeks into 2021. From the insurrection at our nation’s capitol a few weeks ago to then swearing in our country’s first woman vice president last week, it has been a huge emotional rollercoaster. 

For me, it has felt like a bumpy entry into a new year instead of the fresh, clean slate I typically feel in January. Much like I shared in my last solo episode, life has seemed like a constant adaptation because it never seems to go as planned.

That’s why I’m just now sharing my three words with you for 2021. And I’m even a day late in dropping this episode because one of the words I originally chose wasn’t sitting right with me

Typically, this is an exercise I do leading up to the new year and I share it with you in the early part of January. In fact, this is something I have been doing for the past 10 years, modeled after Chris Brogan’s three word exercise.

These three words are not goals, but instead, guiding principles for that will help me reach them. They are words to help guide my actions and decision making throughout the year.

Last year, for example, I chose the words Habit, Mindset and Play.

While my habits seemed to be thrown out the window during the pandemic, mindset and play became very important words for me to stay grounded and sane last year. I had no idea when choosing those words just how important that would be.

And to be honest, with the lingering fog and challenges from the past year, it’s been somewhat challenging to determine my words for this year. And I almost skipped this exercise (just like I did in 2018 when my son was about to be born).

But, I realized that I might just need these words this year more than ever. So, without further ado, here are the words I’ve chosen.

 

BEST

A couple of months ago, I wrote the following statement and pinned up on my bulletin board––your best is enough, no matter the outcome. Trying and showing up is BRAVE.

I wrote this note after watching Daniel Tiger with my three-year-old son, James. On the show, they had a song that said “do your best, your best is the best for you.” You can see James and I singing this here.

I chose the word “best” as a reminder that the effort is what matters, not the amount of things I checked off my to-do list or the results I achieved.

For me, as a perfectionist and a three on the enneagram, I often place my value in what I accomplish or how many things I can get done on a given day. But right now, more than ever, I need to remind myself that all I can do is to show up and do the best I can on a given day.

And some days, my best looks different than other days. As long as I can say I tried and gave the best of myself, I will feel good about that.

To be honest, this was not the word I originally chose. In fact, I had recorded this episode last week with another word, but ultimately, it didn’t sit right with me. I delayed releasing this episode because I wanted to re-record it with this revision.

Because I realized that what I don’t need is more pushing. I already do that. What I need to celebrate is showing up. To remember that trying (and even failing) is okay. To be satisfied with giving my best, even if it doesn’t always work out as I hope.

That is especially true right now when there is so much challenge and uncertainty in the world. There’s no doubt that both life and business is extremely hard. And making decisions right now can be especially difficult.

But for me, there’s great solace in remembering that all I need to do is to make the choices and decisions that are best for my family and my business today, knowing that it could change tomorrow.

So, this year, my focus is showing up and doing the very best that I can each day––for myself, my family, my business and my clients.

GRACE

This year,  I also recognize the need for grace. Heaps and heaps of grace––for myself and those around me.

I think about grace from a biblical perspective. And looking at it from that angle, I consider grace to be receiving love even if we don’t deserve it. And honestly, I think we need a lot more of that unconditional love right now––both for ourselves and for others.

In today’s world, we’re dealing with a convergence of a lot of challenging issues–-the pandemic, economic hardship and racial injustice, just to name a few.

Plenty of people are juggling limited childcare, virtual schooling, jobs and home demands––all without the support network they normally would have.  Some are facing job loss and financial insecurity. And others are dealing with extreme isolation and mental health issues. 

And it’s hard. Really hard. 

It’s understandable that we can’t always operate at the same level as we would during normal circumstances. Myself included. 

So, I’m learning to give myself grace when I don’t achieve everything on my to-do list in a given day. I’m realizing that giving myself space to rest does not mean I’m lazy. I’m telling myself that my best is enough. 

As a recovering perfectionist, this can be hard for me. But my worth is far more than a list of accomplishments. It’s who I am that matters most. 

And, as part of this, I want to work on giving others grace too. I want to lead with love. Not with judgment or shame. I want to show love to those around me, even if they don’t always deserve it. 

That’s what I’m called to do as a Christian and I want to live out this value. It’s definitely not easy, but I’m prayerful that God will guide me.

Because I think the world would be a whole lot better if we can give grace to those around us. And it starts with me.

HOPE

I’ll admit that this is a fluffier word than what I typically choose. But for me, I feel the need to cling to hope during this challenging time.  

While I’m usually a pretty positive person, I’ve experienced a lot of fear, anxiety and concern from the pandemic, racial injustice and the toxic political climate. 

It can be easy to dwell on all that’s going wrong in the world.

But, that’s not helpful or healthy.

Instead, I want to cling to hope.

Hope is imagining the possibility of something better.

It’s not wishful thinking, it’s expecting with confidence and anticipation that a better outcome is on the horizon.

That means, I am believing that we will get through this pandemic and once again be able to gather in person with friends and loved ones.

I am believing that we will find ways to make our world and country more just and equitable for everyone––regardless of the color of their skin.

I am believing that we can mend the political divides in our country, find common ground and work together toward achieving a more perfect union.

I am choosing to believe that I can continue to grow my business in a way that makes a difference in the lives of others, but also allows me to take care of my family financially and emotionally. 

Hope is not wishful thinking. It’s the belief that you can do hard things and survive adversity.

In fact, studies even show that hope can combat stress, anxiety and depression. And, it can also make you more likely to succeed.

Those are all things I want. So, I am going to be a hope seeker.

I’m going to look for the good and continue to have faith that things will get better in the future. Because without hope, where would we be?

What are your words?

No one knows what this year will bring. When we were making our goals, resolutions and words for 2020, none of us could have foreseen the wild ride we would be on.

And we don’t know what will happen this year either. But the truth is, we never do. 

But whatever happens, I hope that these words will serve as my compass as I navigate the challenges of the year ahead.

I would love to know – do you choose a word or series of words for your year? Feel free to share yours below.I’d LOVE to hear what you’re focusing on so we can encourage each other. Here’s to a great 2021!

1 Comment

  1. Gingy on February 11, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    My words that I’ve chosen at your suggestion are calm, hope, forgive and forget. I know the last ‘word’ is a phrase, but the two go together, especially on the minor annoyances.

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