Let Your Word Drive Your Focus in 2017
So Luch, what’s your word for the year?” I first stumbled onto the idea of choosing a word for the year while having bacon and eggs with a coaching client. I was immediately intrigued and asked him to tell me more.
He explained that he had been choosing one word to ‘accompany him’ through the last few years. He shared that his most recent ‘word for the year’ was ‘Clean’. ‘Clean,’ I said. ‘What are you going to do with that word?”
His response? “I am going to eat clean (I looked at his plate and his food was cleaner than mine). I am going to wear clean clothes. I am going to drive a clean truck and car. I am going to have cleaner relationships. I am going to have a clean body and I am going to run a clean business.”
Wow! His reflection of ‘clean’ stirred within me a determination to find my own word for the year.
Since that eventful breakfast, I have been choosing one theme word for the year. I still write goals and have deadlines, yet I love the process of searching for a defining word. Sometimes I diligently look for ‘the word’ but often the word finds me.
Words that have helped me navigate the last few years have included “Flourish” in 2013. One morning, during a quiet time, I was reading my Bible and stumbled upon Psalm 92:12-14
I thought to myself, “Wow”. I want to flourish in my walk with God. I want to flourish with my bride, our adult sons and their wives. I want to flourish with my 4 grandchildren. I want my ministry to flourish; particularly my mentoring, my discipling of others and my coaching. I want my finances to flourish. I want my body to be flourishing. I want all of my relationships to flourish.
You see, one word can create laser-like focus that lasts.
Flourish became like a friend to me during some difficult challenges in 2013 when I wanted to do everything but flourish.
I have had other words since, including “Unbroken” for 2014. This word was found in a movie I saw and a book that I read. It was the true story of Louis Zamperini, a World War II hero who survived 40 plus days stranded in the Pacific Ocean after having been shot down. He was subsequently taken as a prisoner by the Japanese for 2 years.
My wife Rosetta has also used the word of the year. One year her word was “rest”; a word that truly marks her life. In fact, her spiritual “directees” refer to Rosetta as a ‘non anxious presence’. I believe that the daily cultivation of spiritual, emotional and physical rest is the source of how she shows up in a healing way for others.
Another year she chose the word “Stand”. At times she has felt that she ‘cringes’ in certain situations and among certain people. She began to pray that she would stand, and began to act in a way where she didn’t cringe but took a ‘standing’ position in her heart.
My 2017 word of the year is “Hero”. Yes, “Hero”. There have been times in 2016 that I just wanted to run away from situations and people. I wanted to do everything but be a hero. After reading Christopher McDougall’s, “Natural Born Heroes”, he gives this unique insight from the Greeks about heroism. True heroism, as the ancients understood, isn’t about strength of boldness or even courage. It’s about compassion. A hero is actually a protector.
“Hero”, “Protector”…There are so many in my immediate circle of family and friends I want to be hero-protector to. I talked about it so much that one of my creative coaching clients made me this plaque, which I keep in my office to remind me of my word and guiding light for 2017 and beyond.
The DeliberateU team has the word “remarkable” as the word for the company. We are absolutely committed to having our team and clients enjoy a “remarkable” experience as they engage in every facet of our business.
So where do you start to find your word? Like I wrote above, search for it everywhere.
Below is a link to the process we gave at our last Deliberate U gathering.
“Wisdom shouts aloud in the streets,
she makes her voice known in the public squares.”
Sometimes you may find your word in the Scriptures, other times in a movie or a book. Sometimes, you may hear someone share their word and you are inspired to discover yours.
This is so much fun. I have used this year’s word “Hero” to even define the movies I see. Right now I am watching a great series called “Blue Bloods”. It’s about a New York Irish Catholic family who are so united and heroic on so many levels that it fuels my desire to be heroic at home, in my work and my world.
Of course, in real life, there is no shortage of opportunities to be the hero, should I choose to do so in any given moment.
Even though it is four months into the year, what might your word be?
A Deliberate Application:
- Does the idea of the “word of the year” resonate for you?
- If ‘yes’, share the idea of identifying it with a couple of close friends.
- Download the worksheet and work through it.
- Begin to leverage the power of focusing on your word and enjoy the fruit.