Each year around this time I pick a word that will inspire me to be my best. I started this practice five years ago after my friends Dan Britton and Jimmy Page told me that for almost two decades they and their wives and children came up with a word each year that gave meaning and focus to their lives. Then they gathered on New Year’s Eve and made paintings of their words that hung in their houses to remind them to live their word for the year.
I was inspired and did it with my family. It was catalytic and powerful. My wife’s first word was INTENTIONAL. My daughter’s word was MOTIVATION. A great word for her. She needed it back then. My son chose FOCUS to the delight of his teachers. I chose PURPOSE because I knew my purpose had to be greater than my challenges. It wasn’t at the time and I was struggling. But once I remembered my purpose everything changed.
Each year since I have chosen a new word. SURRENDER. SERVE. PRAY. RISE. Each word has molded and shaped me to become a better person, father, husband, writer and communicator.
Dan, Jimmy and I wrote a book One Word that Will Change Your Life a few years ago and we’ve heard incredible stories of impact from countless people, schools, sports teams and companies that have discovered the power of one word. Several college teams put their one words on their lockers and practice shirts. NFL and NBA teams chose their words for the season and talked about them before games. Schools made t-shirts with all their teacher’s one words. Hendrick BMW even made a one word car. Click on the links to see pictures and examples.
It’s a fun practice and much more effective than New Year’s resolutions. In our busy stressed-filled world with tons of distractions, the research shows that 9 out of 10 people will fail with their resolutions. But one word sticks. No goals. No resolutions. Just one word that gives you meaning, mission, passion and purpose. One word that represents the essence of who we want to be.
You may not have any idea what your word is going to be this New Year. That’s okay. I still don’t have my word for 2016 yet. Give it some time. Dan and Jimmy say that instead of randomly picking a word they allow the word to choose them after reflection, prayer and listening to their heart. Your word will come.
I’ve had people email me saying, “I waited and waited and waited and one day, bam, the word hit me. I knew it was my word for the year.” If you are open the word always comes. There is a word that is meant for you to help you be all that you are meant to be and if you believe it you will receive it.
To help you get started ask a few questions. What do you want to focus on this year? Or what’s in the way? What do you need more or less of? What needs to change?
Once you come up with your word feel free to write it on one of the one word posters we created for you and put it somewhere you can see it. (Additional Posters Here) Or write it on a rock and put it on your desk. Or make it your screen saver on phone’s wall paper. Some have even made one-word jewelry to wear during the year. The ideas are endless. The key is to keep your word front and center so you can see it and live it.
Imagine if everyone reading this chose a positive word and lived it for the year. Imagine how much more powerful and impactful we would be. Imagine the difference we would make. The positive change inside us would help us create positive change outside us.
So, what’s your word?
When you know it I would love to hear it. One of my favorite things is to hear people’s words and why they chose it. You can share your word with me and others by leaving a comment below.
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