It’s time to share my three words for 2021. At first glance you may scratch your head at what they have to do with business. Yet everything is interconnected:
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
They’re dang simple words but behind them is actually quite a lot of substance. It was hard to identify what my words should be. Initially I’d settled on attention and curiosity. Yet that’s already my focus. And an easy place for me to operate. These three words are surprisingly a little tougher because they require more vulnerability. So here’s how I’ve defined them:
Light is not just the obvious. Light is how I want to show up for you. And how I show up to myself. I can exist in a heavy space at times. The weight of the external world with the all of the crises bearing down weighs down my mood. Dampens my optimism. Increases my pessimism. As a result, it can be harder to rise above. Light is about rising above the noise and distractions. It’s about living light in the world which means light on the planet too. It’s about embracing Michelle Obama’s mantra that “when they go low, we go high.”
I want those I touch to feel lighter themselves for time spent with me. To have it feel effortless. Invigorating. And not in a superficial way (you’d see right through that). But in a genuine, subtle way you may not immediately notice. I believe that living this way will help me create more value for those I work with.
Light also reflects doubling down on making images. Something I’ve danced with much of my life. It’s the theme for my yearly 365 project over at Mundaily. It’s a daily photo where the subject is light. How it falls, how it recedes. The details it caresses. Some days the images will likely be terrible, just like any prior year, but gives this project some oomph. And after a decade of doing this, it needs oomph!
This one may sound cheesy and trite. It may make me look silly to put this out there. But I’m not going to worry about looking silly. Life’s too short for that. So here we go. Yes, I already care about others. I already like to be helpful and kind. But I’m also guarded. Even in my closest relationships. I hold back a little. Not intentionally, but out of habit. I am usually cool as a cucumber. Not one for expressing gushy feelings. Not that we should in business. And this isn’t about that. It’s about loving myself and in turn loving others. Showing up as a good human. Love doesn’t mean pushover. It means vulnerability. It means a willingness to be rejected. To fail and get back up again without fear. And to love deeply. That includes being present in the moment. Intentional. Smelling the smells. Seeing the light. And having gratitude for all that is working.
Notice a theme with these words? They build on each other. Just like everything we do is interconnected so are the concepts behind these three words. In the case of joy, it’s about moving from comparing everything I do with others to being in the moment and investing my energy in what I can create and celebrate. And having more appreciation for the little things and little moments. Joy is about living in the now rather than the past or future. Lest you think it’s reckless, living in the now doesn’t negate planning for the future. But rather focusing on what I can do today to influence tomorrow. I read where what you do today influences your outcomes in three years. The science is pretty clear that what we think about we manifest. Jim Loehr talked about how the best coach is the one if your head. The one that’s with you 24/7. And how influential that coach is. Negative self talk anyone? How does that make you feel? You can spiral down or you can spiral up. It’s up to you. He asks, would you give someone you’re trying to help the harsh, critical talk you give yourself? Probably not.
Joy is something we toss around at the holidays. We take it for granted. Making this one of my words means I won’t take it for granted and it will seed my creativity, curiosity and way of showing up in the world to myself and to others.
I went deep into my three words to encourage you to do the same for yourself. Pick words that are a stretch for you and that get you excited to live them. Try them one. Write your own meanings. Then go. Not only will these words help me and you in your personal life, but in your work too. I know that by embodying all that these words offer, I will create more value here and in all of the work that I do. Because when I love what I do and find joy in it, I make an exponentially greater impact. It’s all interconnected, remember?