My One-Word Theme For 2011: Commitment

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Compass - SuccessEach year, I choose a one-word theme that becomes my guide throughout the entire year. Something magical happens in choosing just one word: the word helps guide my decisions and also activates the “law of attraction.” It’s as if all that resonates with my intent with the word comes to me effortlessly.

In 2008, I chose “FOCUS” as my one-word theme, and I mainly focused on establishing myself as a trusted go-to source for Facebook marketing and a leader in social media. I attracted a vast range of opportunities, interviews and joint ventures. (My favorite acronym for “focus” is, “Follow One Course Until Successful!“) To achieve success in a specific field, I believe it’s important not to dilute your efforts with too many extraneous ventures, interests, and web links in your bio/social profiles, for example, and to keep much of the content you share online directly related to your field of expertise. (Of course, we need to also mix in personal elements too!)

Ripple Effect - Influence In 2009, my theme was “INFLUENCE and, whew, was that ever a landmark year!! My mantra was, “Who and what am I allowing to influence me?” Early in the year, I made a difficult personal decision that had been troubling me for several years prior; my primary relationship was no longer influencing me in a manner that supported my highest good. By choosing a different path and beginning a deeper spiritual journey, the floodgates opened up. Ultimately, I created one of the most successful years of my life by living into my deepest truth.

The greatest gift you can give anyone, is the example of your own life working. ~Orin

2010 – The impact of Team!

This year, my word has been “TEAM.” I’d gotten to the point where I had as many as seven VAs (Virtual Assistants) and a local intern. But, I discovered that I’m not that great at managing more than a few people, and spent much of my time doing just that: managing my team vs. focusing on my strengths and passions. I also simply prefer to be able to meet with team members in person vs. virtually.

So, when I chose TEAM as my 2010 theme, what I ended up doing is firing my entire virtual team and enlisted the help of a local recruiter. Previously, I would hire people because I liked them and wasn’t that thorough in writing out job descriptions and carefully matching skills. Working with a recruiter is one of the best things I’ve done for my business! She helped me create the ad (which we placed on Craigslist), screen about 200 applicants, short-list and interview four, then set up in-person meetings with me.

Team Mari!

Lori, Mari, Susan – partying at mi Casa

I’m delighted to say my two local assistants, Lori and Susan, are exceptional and an integral part of my successes in 2010. Lori is my Executive Assistant whose official title is “Client Happiness Director.” And Susan is a wonderful Administrative and Personal Assistant. I also have many other part-time team members who I work with on an as-needed basis for specific projects.

2011 – Bring it on!

For the past several years, my one-word theme has come to me easily. As early as mid-November, I begin to meditate and ruminate on what would serve my highest good for the following year. This year has been very challenging to settle on my next word. I kept circling back to the word “COMMITMENT” but was concerned that it would be misconstrued or taken out of context. (Ha, as if I could control that aspect!).

How ironic I struggled to commit to “Commitment” – would I lose face if I publicly committed to something and later dropped the ball? Could I completely trust myself to follow through on all commitments? (See the piece below by Dr. Chérie Carter-Scott for more on this).

In any case, because I had such difficulty choosing “Commitment” as my word, I knew I had to.


“Determination is often the first chapter in the book of excellence.”

My 2011 theme of Commitment means:

  • First, commitment to myself and my truth. A willingness to share more of me and not allow any limiting beliefs or concerns about others’ opinions to hold me back.
  • Commitment to my daily self-care routine, no exceptions. I’m blessed to have an amazing trainer and am committed to my regime whether I meet with her or not, whether I’m at home or on the road.
  • I’m committed to helping more leaders in their own emotional, spiritual, personal and professional growth – to all of us uniting to make a bigger difference on the planet together through social media… no matter how scared I might get at times for “putting myself ‘out there’.”
  • Commitment to keeping my word 100% of the time – if I say I’m going to do something, you can count on me to follow through every time. (On that note, in early January, I’ll be relaunching my social media consultant training program Mentor With Mari v2.0 which was a huge hit in 2009).
  • Even simple things like when I buy a book*, I commit to reading it vs. skimming it now and then.
  • Commitment to asking for help when I need it and then receiving help graciously.
  • I commit to bringing my “A game” to all that I do… even more so than before! And to sharing more abundantly my experience, wisdom and guidance to mentor others’ success.
  • I will set realistic goals and achieve each one, such as:
    • I commit to publishing two blog posts per week (I’d like to publish more, but know I can manage two. I have so much content on my hard drive for blog posts, I think I’m all set for the first several months of 2011!). Be sure to also subscribe to – I’ll continue with my guest blog posts there (I have a very large post on Facebook business apps coming out tomorrow!)
    • I’m also writing two books in 2011 which will both be published by John Wiley & Sons. One will be on the topic of relationship marketing; it’ll be my seventh published book, but my first ever solo-authored book which I’m very excited about! Plus, I’m co-authoring v2 of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day with Chris Treadaway. I commit to doing all I can to make each one a bestseller!

I look forward to sharing many more goals with you on my journey! The above is what my friend, Darren Hardy, calls a “PDA: Public Display of Accountability!”

*On the subject of buying books, I’m a big fan of SUCCESS Magazine’s book summaries product!

What happens when we commit?

My spiritual teacher, Esperanza, introduced me to a beautiful piece on Commitment by Dr. Chérie Carter-Scott. Here’s a small excerpt:

Commitment is what turns dreams into realities. Your choice is what you want, and your commitment is what allows you to have it. This is the process: 1) You look to see what you want. 2) You choose it. 3) You commit to it.

Commitment makes choice real. Commitment means: “This is going to happen, and I am going to be the one who causes it to happen.” It means doing what you say you will do and having what you want, no matter what the obstacles.

You can commit to anything: a person, a job, a way of life, losing 10 pounds, or a way to spend your weekend. It doesn’t matter what you commit to. What matters is the relationship you develop with yourself by committing to what you want. For people who have a strong investment in not getting what they want, Commitment is extremely uncomfortable and sometimes painful. The painful part is letting go of the attachment to not getting what you want.

You may need to read that last paragraph several times – I certainly did the first time I came across this piece!

I’m committed to making 2011 the absolute best year of my life so far, in all ways and to teaching and touching the lives of as many people as I possibly can. (And, this may resonate with some – 2011 is the final year before the big shift in vibration in 2012 that has been talked about for so many years. Because of this, I feel that 2011 is a very symbolic year).

Mountain Climber

Providence moves too

You may also be familiar with this wonderful piece by William Murray; it’s so true that “Providence moves too” when we truly commit ourselves.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!’

William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

What’s your word?

Now it’s your turn. What one-word theme deeply resonates with you and inspires you? And, what will you commit to in 2011? Please share in the comments below, I’d love to know. Of course, you don’t have to choose just one word (Chris Brogan has an annual ritual of choosing three words) and certainly it’s important to also have a vision, mission and “SMART” goals too!

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Mari Smith

Forbes Top Social Media Power Influencer | Facebook Marketing Expert | Globe-trotting Speaker, Author | 'Mari like Ferrari' | Bubbly Scottish-Canadian!

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  • Mari you always know what to say to inspire someone to no end! I LOVE Commitment for your word – it is one I struggle with as well. I chose FOCUS as I feel the reason I have not achieved some of my goals has merely been from lack of focus – not from lack of skill or desire. I am very excited about this year! Thank you so much for all that you do!

  • Jim Everett

    Even though I haven’t spent time thinking about this, I know the best one-word theme for me for 2011 is ‘Relevance’.

    Talking about topics that are relevant to the people I can best serve. Relevant to their fears and frustrations as well as their dreams and desires.

    Working on projects that are relevant to those same people while being relevant to me doing my best work, making an impact, and having fun.

    Not letting my attention and energy be consumed by things that are irrelevant to me or the people I serve.

    My big, repetitive, decision-making question will be – “Who does this really matter to, how much does it matter, and why does it matter?”

    Mari, thanks for getting me thinking on this important topic.

  • OK – it came to me in my meditation! Re-Organization. I’m going to make my (upcoming) Facebook Page my ‘blog’ and turn my WordPress blog into a two-page (mostly) static brochure site for my Consulting and Training programs, and then do all my social conversation over at as I enjoy the clipping/commenting structure they use. And Twitter – I will keep as my go-to for Twitter Chats (which I love) and for personal conv

  • OK – it came to me in my meditation! Re-Organization. I’m going to make my (upcoming) Facebook Page my ‘blog’ and turn my WordPress blog into a two-page (mostly) static brochure site for my Consulting and Training programs, and then do all my social conversation over at as I enjoy the clipping/commenting structure they use. And Twitter – I will keep as my go-to for Twitter Chats (which I love) and for personal conv

  • Jane

    Hi Mari,
    This really pushed the buttons with me. I had been reflecting on the past 18 months since having a stroke and leaving the corporate world, and asking my self if I had really given my business a “red hot go”…and I know that I haven’t, I’ve been playing. So I am choosing BELIEF,
    believing in myself that I can be an entrepreneur, believing that I know what I am doing and what I don’t know will come to me, believing that I add value to my clients, believing that I can be what I want to be.
    Thank you for sharing and your inspiration.


  • Word of 2011: Connection.

  • The Franchise King

    Mine needs to be, and is; Focus.

  • Nice idea! My one word theme for 2011 is: Excel

  • Jonathan R. Rivera

    Mari, this year I have committed to the word, “No!” As a matter of fact, I believe NO is the next killer business strategy.

    ….to clarify, I mean Say No to FREE. I am no longer giving away my work for free without a real strategy to monetize it (seems contradictory, right?) We’re in a time where sentiments are changing and people are expecting to pay for things online as long as they get “more than they pay for.”

    So its our job as marketers, to over deliver and charge for it 😉

  • Sondra Boroff

    I have thought about this quite a bit. I think that for me 2010 was all about the word Learning. I think I was a constant student. For 2011, I think I am focusing on Abundance. I want to build a personal and professional life that is rich and full. I think of Abundance more than just a financial point of view (of course that is nice :)), I think for me having present and connected relationships in my personal and professional life will really impact the year ahead. This is what I am focusing on for the year. Thanks for this great lesson and one that will help get the year off to a good start!

  • Hi Sondra – yessss, beautiful!! I love Abundance as a theme, that is awesome!!! I’m excited for you!!

  • Jane!!! How are you my fellow tall blonde friend? hehee Hope you’re doing awesome in the fabulous land down under. I love what you wrote here – amazing the wake up call you received to leave the corporate world and bring your gifts to the bigger world through your own enterprise. You are very talented and have so much to offer. I’m excited for an amazing 2011 for you. (Btw, I love a quote I heard from Les Brown once – “any time you struggle to believe in yourself, borrow someone else’s belief in you until yours kicks in!” Just know that I believe in you!!!)

  • hehee, you can have as many words as feels right for you!! I actually started choosing a one-word theme for each quarter too – hm, I omitted to say that in this post! So, Q4 this year was “Success Habits” – I was so determined to get all my fitness, self-care, financial-tracking, goal-setting, accountability and personal rituals solidly locked in place before 2011. So far, so good. Got ten more days to go. lol!! 🙂

  • Dear Esperanza – your comment here means so much to me. Thank you for your kind words of support. I love being your friend too — I pushed myself to write this post and say all that I did… but it feels really solid and right now. I’m excited to illuminate the whole world in 2011 as we go higher and deeper in 2012!!! Much love. xxx

  • Wonderful!!! Focus is an perfect word to choose – it’ll be come a mantra for you and you’ll find yourself attracting all the right opportunities and gaining greater and greater clarity on what you wish to achieve. Well done!!!

  • Lynn Rose

    WOW Mari – you weren’t kidding about how POWERFUL this blog is. BLESS you for putting it out there so powerfully and ooooh-weee, has it ever inspired me! xox

    I’m inspired by your level of commitment (and have copied and pasted that quote on ‘commitment’) AND, I got inspired by your idea to have ONE word as your theme.

    Mine is… “Surrender” – as in “Sweet Surrender” by John Denver – that song just says it all for me – surrendering to the moment, to trust, to the NOW, to your purpose and letting go of attachments but choosing to enjoy the journey, and trust in it, here and now instead.

    LOVE you, you amazing lady and sending love, light and committed friendship, appreciation and support your way.



  • Awesome, Joel!! You Go guy! 🙂

  • Oooh, I like that one, Lisa!!! 2011 will be a powerful year for you!

  • Bless you dear Lynsey – thank you kindly and I’m so excited for this coming year for you. Big holiday hugs!!! xxx

  • Woweee, Phyllis – sounds like a lot of fun!! I know the peeps at Amplify are awesome!

  • Wonderful word, Tim!!

  • Amen, my friend!!! It’s so important to declare our own value and set boundaries and simply ask for the business!! 2011 will be an amazing year for you!! I’m excited to stay connected.

  • Niiiiiiice!!!!! Wow, Jim, this really rocks – I love how you’ve chosen a word that really resonates with your personal values and taken it to the next level with a mantra question!! Tony Robbins says the quality of our lives is determined by the quality of questions we ask ourselves! I look forward to seeing how your 2011 unfolds!!!

  • Myrna Godfrey

    Thank You Mari…this is the first time I have read your blog and I am so grateful I did….”when the student is ready the teacher appears”. My word is ACTION….and I know it is the right word for me for 2011 because I get butterflies even writing it…I feel it. I have spent years learning, growing and evolving and letting go of many things that were not serving me for my highest good and now I AM READY to take ACTION… to put into ACTION all of my knowledge to transform not just my life but he lives of all of the people who I will touch.
    Thank you for helping me get crystal clear.
    Wishing You Warm and Wonderful Holidays!!!!

  • For 2011, I’m all about determination and hard work. I think it’s about time I double my efforts. I thought I did great this year but I definitely need to step it up for 2011. There’s no time for games. Great Post!

  • Hi Mary.

    Commitment is a excellent and great challenge to live by. I am sure you will achieve your goals for 2011.

    Was working here to find a word that would describe my goals for 2011. Advancement was one word that I was playing with for a little bit, but I know that one of my goals for 2011 is to take a real Leap Of Faith so I needed to go for the gusto. So my word for 2011 is Conquering..

    I will conquer all my fears in 2011, and find the real ME of ME. Gary Vaynerchuck says it is about your DNA. I would say it is also about getting in touch with your crazy bones and take massive action towards your own dreams. And Gary also add in a portion of passion and family.

    My favorite book is written by a gentleman from Yazoo City here in Mississippi, Zig Ziglar. His book Top Performers – How To Develop Excellence In Yourself & Others is my motivational bible.

    Marry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Cheers.. Are 🙂

  • Loooooove your word, Myrna!!! You go girl!

  • Oooooooh Lynn – I looooove your word. Wow, gave me the tingles and moved me to the core. I have such reverence for that John Denver song; it’s a perfect fit for you!! Beautiful. 2011 will be an amazing landmark year for you too, my sweet friend. I’m honored to know you. xxxx

  • Thank you kindly, Ram!!

  • Mari what do you think about spectacularly focused theme for the year from a spectacularly talented and spectacularly dedicated, advanced and courageous leader in Mari Smith? Quite a question given the climate of the times, isn’t it? Thank you for taking the time to share your life, your concepts, your insights and your enthusiasms; and, for leading us toward being committed in 2011.

  • Love it, Mari! Thrilled to see you commit in all you do. This is a real line you cross — and on the other side is the opportunity to help even more people!

    I also use a sole focus to build my year around and facilitate a quicker “no” and bigger “yes” 🙂

    This year was Community – and saw the launch of my Best Life Design community.
    My focus in 2011: Collaboration. Excited about plans to collaborate with other experts who are passionate about helping people make more money in a way that fuels their health, relationships, and life, and allows them to make the difference they are here to make.

    All the best in the New Year!

  • Shelley Taylor-Smith

    G’day Mari from downunder!
    My theme for 2011 is Results Focus = Authentic Shelley
    And I too will make a commitment to live the next 365 days authenticly.
    Cheers Shelley

  • Outstanding, Shelley!! Wheee – you go girl! 🙂

  • NICE!!! Love your word for 2011 – totally awesome. Big hugs to you, dear Mollie!! 🙂

  • Woweee, Barry!! I absolutely love what you’ve shared here. Congrats to you for such deep work. You’re such a gem. 🙂

  • Outstanding – love this word for you, Lauren!! Happy 2011 and may all your dreams come true!! 🙂

  • Wonderful!! Glad to read your thoughtful response, Jessica! Many thanks for your kind words too. Happy New Year to you – may 2011 bring you much focus and prosperity as a result! 🙂

  • Oh dear, Dan – presumably this is in jest?! 😉

  • Ohhhh wonderful!!! I love it, Margaret! 🙂

  • Ohhhh, I LOVE Freedom as a theme – that is totally awesome. So many ways that will impact you. Hopefully you’ll mostly have the freedom to just be YOU! 🙂

  • Nice!! I like the word Consciousness for 2011!!

  • Aw, I love that, Ellen!!

  • Hehee – excellent choice!! There’s a great book, “In Praise of Slow” you might enjoy! 🙂

  • Oooh, very nice, Melinda!! I’m digging the three rhyming words!! )

  • Awesome choice! 🙂 I’m imagining a big “Refresh” button you get to press any time you need to!

  • Fantastic choice!! 🙂

  • Yay, Lewis – I love this theme! Growth by itself could be limited for you; but add in Passionate and I can really see you flourishing in so many ways! Congrats and Happy New Year. Hope 2011 is your best year yet. 🙂

  • Hi there Milt – thanks a mil for adding your comment. Glad to connect with you here and congrats on getting rid of all that no longer serves you – that’s a very cathartic process!! I’m excited to see what’s in store with your super-organized 2011!!! 🙂

  • Hiya Sue! Thanks for stopping by. Ahhhh, Simplify – what a wonderful theme for the year!!

  • LOL – you go girl!! 🙂

  • That’s awesome – so many ways to apply. Congrats!

  • Thank you Mari for the great inspiration to weed out the noise and stick with one word for the year. I’ve been doing this for the past several years (albeit unconsciously). I decided to stop writing New Year’s resolution lists a few years back because they hardly work if the focus is lacking in the first place.

    Since then I have been concentrating on one major “focus” every year.

    2007 was the year of “Dedication” for me. I had to stop trying to cook with too many fires (funny enough that’s quite a statement since I used to be a chef) and 2007 was the year I morphed into my copywriting business.

    2008 was the year of “Business.” Simple. I needed to sharpen my focus to sack the boss and run a full-time business from home.

    2009 was dedicated to “Client Acquisition” and keeping my clients happy, so they come back for more. It worked because most of my business is either repeat or referrals. Yay! I know that I can’t rest on my laurels, so I keep on pushing my boundaries. 🙂

    2010 was dedicated to Outsourcing. It exploded my business to levels I never thought possible.

    As you might know, outsourcing brings its own set of challenges and issues that need to be refined and systematized to simplify the daily management of a business.

    Therefore… thanks to your post and a major brainstorming appointment with myself I have settled on “Focused Tasking” for 2011. I’m excited! Woohoo.

    Thanks for your wonderful tutorials. You rock Mari!

  • Beautiful – I love it, Carrie!! And I like the process you went through to let your word gently surface. My spiritual mentor, Esperanza, has a wonderful saying: “The most important relationship in the world is the one you have with yourself – everyone and everything is a direct reflection of the quality of that relationship.” With your focus on self-care, I’m sure this will be an amazing year for you!!!

  • Hey Tricia!!! Hope you’re doing super awesome and enjoying 2011 already. I love the word Grace – what a beautiful choice!! 🙂

  • Ohh, nice one!! Plenty opportunities for you! 🙂

  • Absolutely awesome!! You have a beautiful way of writing and communicating, Elizabeth – your words here landed very deeply with me. It’s a pleasure to know you virtually and I look forward to continuing to share this magical journey with you!!!

  • Awesome Lisa!!!! I love your choice for this year – gives me the tingles, hehee!! Action is a good thing, but when it comes through inspiration (to breathe into, in Latin!) it’s all the more powerful. Hope to see you again soon!! Much love, xxx

  • Hi Esther – wowee, I love what you wrote here!! Beauty is a wonderful word. The other day, I bought a gorgeous plaque with the following Chinese Proverb on it:

    “If there is Light in the Soul
    there will be Beauty in the Person.

    If there is Beauty in the Person
    there will be Harmony in the House.

    If there is Harmony in the House
    there will be Order in the Nation.

    If there is Order in the Nation
    there will be PEACE IN THE WORLD.”

    Amazing, eh?! 🙂 The plaque jumped off the shelf and into my hands. hehe! 🙂

    I’m sure your 2011 will be a truly magical year!

  • Milt – Congratulations on your commitment to organize. There are a number of outstanding resources available to help you on your path for 2011. If you are on Twitter, check out the lists of pros that I have: Organizers:!/StephCalahan/organizers and!/StephCalahan/organizers-2 (there are 2 lists because Twitter only allows 500 to a list) and Productivity Experts:!/StephCalahan/productivity-and-time

  • Mari – Read this post when you first published, but thought I’d come back and re-read. Good stuff here and I’m proud of you making a COMMITMENT TO YOU! For the last 2 years I have had themes for my year.

    In 2009 I was very ill (told I might not see 2010!) I am a recovering work-a-holic and it had taken its toll on me. So 2009 my focus was FOCUSED DISCOVERY. I’m sure that sounds odd, but I wanted to focus on figuring out the true cause of my illness rather than having doctors pump me up with meds. Good news is we found the multiple causes and began the healing.

    2010 my focus was CONSCIOUS HEALTH. I did not as work much this past year and really concentrated on putting learning and habits into place that would support me being in a position to be at my best. As different opportunities came up during the year, I would measure against CONSCIOUS HEALTH and then turn down the opportunities if they were not going to support my vision. They have been some of the toughest decisions I have ever made. Passing up opportunities is never easy.

    I have gone through some amazing transformations in the past two years and can happily say that I’m rolling into 2011 with excitement for life and raring to go! It is time for me to put into place all of those things that came up in the past two years. So, 2011 is DECISIVE PRODUCTIVE ACTION
    To your success!

  • Woweee Stephanie – what a success story. So glad to hear you took back control of your health and your life. We’re fortunate to have you here on planet earth!! Much love. xx

  • Hi Louise! Thank you for your kind words. I love your Success and qualified through your own special filters! Awesome!

  • Steve osagie

    That is great stuff, this so ties in to what i said i was going focus on this year. Commitment in all areas of my life , as a Social Marketer , as a father , as a brother , as friend.
    Also like the bit you said want what ever i say to be my Bond, so people can trust my word. So easy to say something , but ability to keep to that word is more so important so people do not think you just hot air.

    Glad i found this site

  • Hi Mari,

    As I reflected on my goals for 2012, I thought back to this post of yours from last year.   I really liked the exercise and wanted to share with you my new one word “manifesto” for 2012 – Simplicity.  To me Simplicity means a number of things but primarily focusing on the things that matter. It means making time for the people I care about.  It means creating my more of own content rather than just sharing the thoughts of others.  It means packaging information differently in my writing, speech and presentations so that it’s easier to absorb. I hope that by simplifying my effort I’ll have a “breakout” year in this social space.