Hands in shape of heart

I always share my word of the year (sharing is great for accountability!) but this year I felt more awkward than usual in doing so. It’s a word that we don’t frequently use in the world of work.

My past words of the year felt safer to announce and talk about. Words like grateful, listen, release, enough, abundance.

For 2021, I had originally been thinking about a word like opportunity, since I want to be the type of person that is open and recognizes opportunities in all their many forms. But on reflection, that word felt too small and me-focused. It wasn’t the right word for my year. Then, I changed the question from “Where do I want to go?” to “What is needed most right now?”

As I thought about that question and the year we all just lived through together but apart, only one word came to me.


Love is what is needed most in my family, my work, and my world right now. It’s not that I don’t need or want opportunity, but I believe I’ll be able to create different and better opportunities through love. And one month in, I’ve already seen and felt a difference this year.

Love changes the way I respond to people. Love changes the way I show up for my clients. Love changes the way I assess what’s going on in the world, but more importantly, love forces me to take action to change what I can’t accept.

This is why I love (see what I did there?) choosing a word of the year! It permeates everything I do, both in ways that I expect and in ways I could never have imagined. Having a word of the year creates an intense focus and a growth that has been transformational for me over the past 6 years. There are many advocates of having a word of the year and you can’t really go wrong. If you’re curious, I started with Jon Gordon’s approach. 

#PositiveAction If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to choose a word of the year. You’ll be amazed at the giant transformation that can happen through one word!


Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

Should I start out this mid-summer post by saying something to the effect of “Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2019?” Or does it feel like it’s already been exactly 212 days since the start of the year? Some years feel slower and more challenging than others, but the fact of the matter is, time flies, whether we’re having fun or not. 

So instead of time, let’s talk about progress (and if you like progress, you’ll enjoy this post on progress vs. perfection). 

With the exception of leap years, we each get 365 days to make progress on those things that are important to us. Being that we’re halfway through the year, how’s your progress been?

For me, I made the switch a few years back to focus on a word of the year, rather than on a list of goals. It’s been transformational, in that the word tends to infuse itself into every aspect of my life, even though I had originally intended it for improvement in a specific area.

My word for 2019 is enough. It started out as more of a clutter free / minimalist / simple living sort of mantra to start asking the intentional question of do I have enough of x? It’s funny sometimes how a simple question can spark profound change. It quickly morphed from do I have enough plates, shirts, or books to an inquiry around enough of everything. Am I spending enough meaningful time with my family? Do I have enough work? Am I contributing enough to my community?  My word of the year is a lens that I can filter all my decisions through to decide where and how to best focus my energy and time.

So am I making progress this year? Yes. Is it noticeable? Yes. Am I improving in dimensions that are important to me? Yes! Is it a goal tied to a specific metric that has a color on a dashboard? No.

And I’m ok with that. I’ve had enough (see what I did there?) experience hitting specific targets and delivering results. As is often the case in work and in life, numbers don’t tell the whole story. 

When it comes to your career journey, only you can decide how you feel about your current role and when it’s time for a change. Maybe you know where you’re headed, but aren’t there yet, sort of like that hot air balloon picture above. That’s fine, as long as you’re making progress. Today’s a great time to take a look at your progress and see if you need to adjust for the rest of the year. I promise you’ll be reading articles starting with “Can you believe it’s the end of the year already?” before you know it!

Note: There are several folks who advocate for a word of the year (or even a life word if you want take the long view!). Check out Jon Gordon, Evan Carmichael, or this article from Inc if you want to dig a little deeper.