So why a Word Of The Year?
It’s certainly not for everyone, but people I coach have found great support and great motivation from it. The key is making time for contemplation and being prepared to dig deep and figure out what you want to be or become (and be known as).
Unlike specific goals, strategies or actions, a word of the year is big and bold and helps you think about the 12 months to come and get brutal with distilling your plans into one defining theme. I can almost guarantee once set, you won’t forget your word.
Having done this 5 years in a row now, I can promise when the really hard decisions or choices pop up, if you go back to your word of the year, you’ll quickly guide yourself to the right choice or in the right direction based on the plan you set out to achieve.
Now, Dr. Fox’s words are way cooler than mine, but you can watch his video about ‘why’ here: https://youtu.be/lQDMvJI9sv0
A history of my words with a little bit of context on why I choose them at the time:
2018 – Bloom (I was newly engaged, a huge tech project – MyMerivale – and some other cracker People projects had just launched so it seemed like the right time for everything to flower)
2019 – Balance (I just found out I was pregnant and knew I needed to juggle family and health as well as career when Zest was just launching)
2020 – Boost (Zest was growing – like a weed – lots of elements were going from good to great and so was my first born Lincoln)
2021 – Consistency (the previous year’s boost (growth) went a little too well, I wanted to start being more equal with what I applied my time and effort to and following through consistently on all life fronts, especially adding another little dude, Levi to our family in this year)
2022 – Focus (rather than be consistently ok at a lot of things, I wanted to laser in on the things that mattered and really prioritise and stick at them)
In December 2022, I spent a week doing Gallup’s Global Strengths Coaching Course (accreditation incoming…) and had a huge lightbulb which had oddly never occurred to me. Looking at my previous three year’s words, I noticed they reflect CliftonStrengths themes. Boost = Maximiser, Consistency and Focus. All these themes represent Lesser Themes in my profile. Maximiser at #29, Consistency at #34 and Focus at #21.
My ‘a ha’ moment was: Why was I, as a Strengths based practitioner, not practising what I preach? Why was I trying to force myself to use talents that aren’t at the top of my toolbox; the ones I’m most gifted at and that give me the most energy?
And, as someone with Communication as my #3 strength, the actual word is very important.
So, using a strengths-based approach, where did I land for my 2023 Word of the Year?? It’s Enterprising.
Enterprising defines as:
“thinking of and doing new and difficult things, well”
“an independent energetic spirit and readiness to act”
“ready to undertake projects of importance or difficulty, or untried schemes“
“energetic in carrying out any undertaking”
Synonyms include assertive, ambitious, fierce, adventurous, resourceful, bold, original.
This word absolutely aligns to my top strengths, particularly Activator (#1), Achiever (#4), Strategic (#8), Positivity (#9).
So in 2023, you will see me:
- Bringing an independent and energetic spirit and a readiness to act to my coaching clients
- Tackling projects of importance or difficulty with bold resourcefulness for the businesses I work with on people consulting
- Launching new and exciting initiatives that I’m working on with great mates (watch this space)
- Thinking and doing new and difficult things well, in my Board and advisory roles
- Continuing to tackle the challenge that is maintaining balance in life with some approaches I haven’t tried yet.
- Making time for enterprising adventures with my family and friends
I was messaging a colleague about the Word of the Year and she said ‘I like the idea of a word for today that serves you as long as you need it as opposed to a defined period or making a permanent habitual change with investment in time’.
I also remember reading a very interesting article last year about ‘If you had to write one word at the top of your page for the rest of your life, what would it be?” – that seemed too far off for me to fully commit to and not want to change.
Assuming you’re like me and your ‘years’ start and finish fairly cleanly, let’s stick with the Word of Year but know that if your time orientation is different for whatever reason or due to current life or work circumstances, a shorter or longer word will work for you, then do it.
So, if you’ve got a coaching session booked with me in January or February, you should fully expect me to have a chat with you about your Word of Year and set you some homework to introspectively spend some time in your cave, reflecting on the year ahead and the person you will project throughout the year.
To all our Women Leading Program Alumni, it’s time to dust off your Career Map and add in your 2023 word.