Words have a power all their own (Photo credit: Lynne Hand)
Three words for 2013
The beginning of the year is a time when people resolve to be different. New Years Resolutions have become cliché and a joke in our society. True change is possible whenever we want. We can change any time we want to, even several times throughout any given day. All of us know this intellectually. I know this intellectually. As I publish this post, originally written in mid-December 2012, here toward the end of January 2013, I am convinced that there could be no better time than now to share.
Three Words for 2010
I don’t make New Years Resolutions. Since 2010 I’ve had a three-word theme for each year. Doing this helps me stay centered, like a compass, providing me direction. In 2010 my three words were “Be More Helpful.” I wanted to find opportunities to serve, provide help to others instead of focusing on only meeting my own needs.
Three Words for 2011
In 2011 my three words were “Focus, Intention, Deliver.” I asked myself how important the work I was doing for myself and others really was, and I reevaluated whether I was really benefiting from doing all that I was doing. I sought to be deeply engaged in each task where I applied myself, and I wanted to become much better at delivering what I said I’d do. I looked at all the commitments I’d made to myself and others, striving to do what I’d promised when I’d promised it. I failed so much that at the end of 2011, I found myself so discouraged that I couldn’t see how much I’d grown from it all.
Three Words for 2012
At the beginning of 2012, I set my three words again: “Simplify, Serve, Create.” I’d over-complicated many areas of my life, and I wanted to create better systems to simplify things. In addition, it was time for me to end some projects. Moreover, in 2010 and 2011 I had gained deeper convictions about what kind of work I was meant to do. Unbeknownst to me at the beginning of the year, my church was also setting out to explore servanthood for the entire year. Finally, I knew I wanted to create more. I’ve been a tremendous consumer of content from various media, and it was time for me to create more. In all these respects, I’ve done well this year, though not quite how I’d expected. Here’s a recap of my 2012.
As part of my job, I had to track down a copy of my college transcript. I was sure I had a copy somewhere in my file cabinets, and I was forced to go through each of them. I wound up throwing so much away because it was no longer needed.
Similarly, I gave away clothes and have rid my home of other possessions I no longer need.
One of the biggest areas for simplify was the decision to end New Media Cincinnati after five years. It had been a volunteer labor of love, and yet I and others on the steering committee felt it had done what it needed to do when I founded it in 2005. Ending New Media Cincinnati meant there is room for something even better to take its place.
Over the past few years, I’ve become more in touch with the kind of work I’m meant to do. 2012 was when I could really see this prove true. I was not aware at the time that the leadership in our church had set the theme for our year to be around exploring servanthood. Needless to say, I was immediately on board!
Also, within two weeks of my post, I got the phone call that led to me teaching as a Part-Time Adjunct Instructor at a career college in town. Later in the year I realized how important what I have been doing is in the lives of my students.
I shared many times in class that there are moments when what you’re doing doesn’t feel like work; that’s a good clue that you’re doing what you’re meant to do.
Even at church in my role as web content manager and media/presentation designer, I’ve uncovered more ways to use technology to help tell the stories we need to tell. Some of these are not so obvious because they happen behind the scenes. Like rearranging content on the homepage and tagging hyperlinks to better track website visitor behavior in Google Analytics. Or coming up with presentation graphics “on the fly” to enhance what a speaker is saying to the congregation. All these things I see have become expressions of my service in areas I’m meant to serve.
When I’d set out to create more this year, I’d initially meant to create more content online for my own web properties. What this has actually meant is creating courses from nothing more than course descriptions, creating lesson plans and quizzes and exams. Not only have I been creating these, but I have also been creating hope and encouragement in the minds of students. It has also meant what I said above regarding web content and media for our church. Hours of sermons posted online. Curating content to make it more easily findable.
So 2012 was a fantastic year for Simplify, Serve, and Create.
Three words for 2013
My three words for 2013 are Courage, Repackage, and Friend.
We were made to be courageous. Yet so much of my life has been spent letting fear mess me up as I have avoided taking risks to preserve what I have.
This year is the one where I step up and become the man of courage I was meant to be. Fear will still be present, but I will face it and not let it overcome me.
Each day in 2013 I am looking to do something that scares me. To others it might seem petty, but for me it’s a stretch. Through this exercise I will daily face my fears.
Moreover, I’m on the lookout for others who show courage and for businesses and individuals making bold moves. I want to share these stories with you.
Repackage involves me restructuring what I do into, for lack of a better term, “serving sizes,” to better help you see more concretely how I can help solve problems you are facing. It also ties in with Courage because I’m pursuing other career paths that I’ve been drawn toward. One of these involves Sales. Not the stereotypical kind but the problem-solving, trust- and relationship-based kind (unless that’s your stereotype, of course!).
In addition, it’s time to revive projects that have gone fallow. I’m looking for more job search success stories to share on How I Got My Job, the podcast I launched in 2008. So get in touch that we may share your story!
I make connections with others very easily, both online and in person. But for me the breadth has often been more important than the depth of these relationships.
Especially where I can in-person, in 2013 I’m looking to add much more depth. In community I will open up and let others in while also getting more involved myself.
Especially in my relationships with brothers in Christ at my church, I will hold myself accountable for who I am as a man of God.
Professionally I will seek out opportunities locally and beyond to meet others and learn what they are doing and how to help them. I will actively seek for opportunities to help my clients with their goals. As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people to get what they want.” So I’m going to ask.
Your Three Words for 2013
Most people I know who do this exercise share their three words for the year during the first week. It’s inspiring to read what others have set for the direction for their year. You must find your own way. Already for me these first weeks have filled me with conviction, zeal, adventure, passion, and more determination than I have felt in years.
I encourage you reading this to consider what you want your year to be like. Do you have three words for 2013? I’d like to know what they are. It’s not too late to recommit to them, if you’ve found yourself faltering. And it’s not too late to identify and place that stake in the ground with three words of your own. What does your 2013 look like?
As for me, I’ve realized my three words for 2013 are somehow simultaneously interrelated and distinct.
Courage. Repackage. Friend.
Here we go…