A common practice each January is to identify one word that will describe that year. That one word should encompass more than one feeling or thought and be applicable to most aspects of life.
It’s a great exercise to perform. It will make you think when you’re coming up with the word but then that one word will keep you focused throughout the year.
I first discovered this practice through the author Jon Gordon. He’s written several books including The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work, The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy and The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. He asked, via Twitter, what one word people would use to describe their 2013. In one of my first tweets ever (crazy how I can remember this), I replied that my word was “intentional.”
You don’t have to be the “Rah Rah” cheerleader type or even the California Woo-Woo type to go through the one-word exercise. Any person can do it. You can be completely non-creative like this straight-laced and boring accountant or you can be the out-going business salesman. It’s doesn’t matter.
Kevin Kruse runs a LinkedIn Group called Wholehearted Leadership. It has almost 20,000 members, all of whom want to be better leaders. It’s a very active group. In early January 2014, I started a discussion in the group about what one word these 20,000 leaders, or aspiring leaders, would use to describe their 2014.
My word for 2014 is “Purposeful.” The 49 responses received from the group members were as follows:
Connected by Mary E. with Nova Consulting, Inc.
Courageous by Dan F. with Unlock Your Leadership
Flow – By Daphna H. with PEAC Solutions
Human by David O. with Resilience Development Co.
Moment, in the
More by Laura L. with Micaura Consulting
Tenacity by Leslie T.
Unstoppable by Gwen G. at Heythrop College
Imagine the impact each one of these words will have on the respective respondent’s life. With every action, inaction and thought, that word will resonate. I can imagine using each of these words in future years because they will all make me live a better and more fruitful life.
As leaders, though, our focus should not be on living a better and more fruitful life. Instead, it should be on helping others do so. If you implement just one of these words into the rest of the year, you increase your chances of making a difference in the world.
It is your purpose to make a difference in the world. You can’t help but make a difference. You will either make a positive or negative impact by the words you say, the actions you take and the impressions you make. Why not choose one word and live by it the rest of the year while you make the world a better place.
Hopefully you now see the benefit of the one-word-for-the-year exercise. What one word will you choose to live by for the year? It’s perfectly acceptable to choose one of the words from the list above or come up with your own. Whatever the one word, share it in the comments below.