It’s that time of year again where I ruminate for a while on which one word I would like to choose as my overarching guide for the entire following year. I find this practice to be very powerful, yet simple to implement. While having a vision, mission, “SMART” goals, plan, milestones, and accountability are all components of preparing for success, I’ve found that by also selecting just one word as a theme for my whole year, all manner of new opportunities and experiences show up. The Universe responds to your decision.
I’ve been implementing this one-word theme practice for the past several years, and it feels as though each year’s word builds on the last one. My one-word themes so far have been:
2008 – FOCUS (I laser focused on strategically positioning myself as a top Facebook marketing expert).
2009 – INFLUENCE (I chose to make a personal transition and shift my environment, which caused the floodgates to open in my business).
2010 – TEAM (I switched from a virtual assistant support model to hiring local assistants and built a much more robust team).
2011 – COMMITMENT (This was a tricky one! See below for more – but, basically, this one-word theme precipitated my commitment to getting all the right support in place now for an incredible 2012!)
And now, 2012 is GROWTH.
As I reflect back over these years with their respective themes, each time many significant shifts have occurred for me in my personal and professional lives.
2011 – The Impact of Commitment
I will admit, ironically, selecting Commitment as my theme this year was extremely difficult! As a society, we have so much charge around this word. As I reviewed the various commitments I set for myself when I wrote this post, I have managed to keep many of the commitments I outlined. The one I struggled to keep was publishing two blog posts a week. I realize I need better systems to manage my time and the time I spend on creating content. I’m already implementing systems now that will radically change this in 2012.
When selecting your one-word theme, it’s important to not beat yourself up if you didn’t adhere to the word verbatim throughout the year. Adopt the approach of “correct and continue.” Do your best to use the word as a mantra, an internal guide. Then let go of any attachment to how the outside world is supposed to show up for you.
What is interesting, though, is the fact that in the 11th month of this year, I just made a massive commitment to invest in very high-level support to grow my business in 2012 and beyond. So, it feels like the perfectly natural fit to select Growth as my theme for 2012!
2012 – Growth, bring it on!
For me, Growth this coming year will be on many levels. My primary focus of growth will be in the area of business; stay tuned for developments as I’m able to announce them. Meantime, I can share that my plans are to continue offering social media, Facebook marketing, and relationship marketing speaking services and training for entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as training for fellow social media professionals. Plus, I am building out a separate division of my business specifically to service the corporate sector, and offering social media consulting, training, strategizing, and management services.
And on a personal, emotional, and spiritual basis, I will continue my path in these arenas through my study with various masters, including my spiritual teacher Esperanza Universal. Over the past few years, I have found that the more internal healing, growth, and transformation I’m able to do, the more my outer world changed and improved as a reflection of my inner world.
I’ve even had colleagues call me up in the past to ask for the name of my marketing coach, PR firm, or publicist — to which I respond by smiling and simply explaining that my business and financial growth primarily came about as a result of healing my inner world and living into my deepest truth. Of course, I am proactive too — with masterminds to which I belong, and attending/speaking at select events.
Speaking of which, I’m actually writing this post on a short break while attending a special retreat at the incredible Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ. I’m here with a small group of forty leaders, teaching leaders about leadership! Our host is Stedman Graham (Oprah’s beau) – leadership expert and author of many books, including You Can Make It Happen. Growth has been a recurring theme here at our retreat.
Stedman talked about Growth as a vital component to success in his presentation on Identity Leadership. And, fellow attendee Sam Silverstein gave a short presentation where he talked about the importance of creating a VACUUM in order to grow. Sam used a wonderful example of clearing out his coat closet in order to house the beautiful big down jacket his daughters bought for him! I’m a huge believer in clearing out the old to make way for the new, in the physical world and mental world. Eliminating what no longer serves you is a huge invitation and opportunity for growth to come forth.
So, I’m VERY excited about what’s in store for 2012. It’s going to be a symbolic and significant year for the entire planet – all of us will be impacted by growth, in fact. Not to get too woo-woo on you (well, depending on your own belief systems!), but many prophets have been predicting for a very long time that a huge shift will happen in 2012. Apparently it’s the “end of the Mayan calendar” (I think they ran out of stone?! Kidding!)
But, the world is not going to end, it’s nothing catastrophic to worry about. What I do believe will happen is a BIG leap in consciousness. Collectively, we are being called to higher levels of caring, compassion, and kindness towards our fellow humans, to all living creatures, and to the entire planet. The massive prevalence of online social networking is tremendous evidence of our evolution, too. The world isn’t getting smaller, per se. It’s getting more connected. (A recent Facebook study showed that the six degrees of separation have been reduced to four, because of the connectedness of Facebook friendships. Amazing.)
Now, it’s your turn – what one-word theme jumps out at you to guide the coming year in your business and personal life? If you’d like to select two or three words, that’s okay! Let me know in the comments below.
[UPDATE 12/17/11: I recently came across this exceptional article on Harvard Business Review by Dorie Clark: Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012. Eliminating these five things that Dorie mentions - especially #1 (stop responding to email immediately it comes in) - feels like lifting a massive weight off my shoulders. In fact, my new business coach is helping my team and me to radically restructure our work days; to implement set times to respond to categories of emails, and to adhere to our scheduled work days even as "boring and predictable" as that might feel. What we end up creating is a much more solid foundation and freedom. Yes, that's right - a predictable, structured schedule actually gives you freedom!
P.S. I first wrote this post on December 10th and meant to save it to drafts during my Canyon Ranch retreat... but ended up inadvertently publishing it before I was quite ready. Oops! I just took time (12/17) to flesh out a bit more of the sections that I wanted to. ;)]