The Power of ONE WORD
It’s a very popular activity to start out your year choosing one word to represent your primary focus for the year. So popular, in fact, that in 2012 the book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life” was released by authors Dan Britton, Jimmy Page, and Jon Gordon. And it’s actually a great focus that can be used not only to define a year, but also to encapsulate a shorter-term timeframe.
Having a “Word of the Day” can certainly bring greater productivity. And using One Word to drive a theme for the week can shift you into high gear.
The beauty of this is in the simplicity. What often deters us from achieving our goals is distraction and chaos. By choosing One Word – one area of main focus – our actions follow that focus and amazing forward progress results. Decisions become easier. Distractions that don’t support our One Word get left alone. Check into your gut and ask, “What’s my one word for this year/month/week?” Sounds easy enough, right? In theory, yes, and yet… well, let me share an experience.
In our CEO Mastermind group at McLean, Linda and I decided to ask the CEOs in the group to take on their One Word for 2018. And, we don’t ask our members to do anything we haven’t, or won’t, do ourselves. The group dove in and participated.
Words flowed: Determined, Radical, Endurance, Launch, Focus, Growth, Persistence, Service.
And then it was my turn. I said, “Be the Change.” I’d been thinking about this a lot. While a three-word phrase, I really felt it embodied what I was after.
Well, Linda called me out in pretty short order. “Nope, Amy, it has to be one word. If you can’t commit to one word, you won’t get the big result.” I began to argue my case. The group offered up multiple One Words they thought would work. I shot down each one. Linda let it drop for the sake of keeping the session moving forward.
But I couldn’t let it go. She was right. However, each single word I tried on didn’t fit. “Change” felt to me like I had to change. That wasn’t my aim. “Example” sounded to me like “don’t let this happen to you” – again, a negative connotation in my mind.
I went to Facebook and solicited the opinions of any of my friends who wanted to chime in, and an incredible number of them did!
That process was rather enlightening. First, my friends are generous in offering insight, encouragement, and unapologetic opinions. Second, I realized I needed to own this and not look for others to solve it.
It took me a couple of weeks as I grappled with different meanings (and perceived meanings) of each One Word I tried on. Finally, I woke up one day clear that I no longer was concerned about other people’s impressions or interpretations of my One Word. It’s MY motivation, and no one else’s, right?
I know you’re curious about the actual word – I chose SHINE.
To me, this word represents me being a light in a sometimes-dark place, and a guide to help people walk the positive side of their potential. The specific word isn’t the point of this story. And yes, I am getting to a point.
As soon as I chose – I mean literally, immediately upon determining to SHINE in 2018, a series of events unfolded to confirm this is a right, and important, and ideal focus for me. I have been called to shine in many ways in the last month – in personal and professional ways.
I will continue to shine for myself, for my loved ones, for my friends, and for my clients.
The ONE WORD is waiting to choose YOU. Just get quiet enough to hear what it is.
If you’re struggling, ask for the input of others you trust – your family, friends, Mastermind group, or coach.
And then what? Keep it in front of you daily. Remind yourself why you chose it. Ask yourself during challenges as well as opportunities, which choice allows me to honor my chosen focus?
~ Amy Stoehr
President and Executive Coach