Words have power. They have the power to shape our thoughts, to inform our actions, and to change our lives.
Words offer transformation, but we rarely think of them this way. How we speak to ourselves can be both a burden and a hidden treasure trove.
For example, the difference between an optimist and a pessimist lies in his use of words. The vocabulary paints the picture of two different worlds.
Since 2012, I’ve chosen words to guide my decisions and efforts. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I practice a ritual called “My 3 Words”. It’s a practice I’ve picked up from Chris Brogan.
The idea is simple: You think up three words that will help guide your choices and actions over the coming year.
How to choose 3 words
I started this process in 2012. Back then, my three words were: “Listen. Act. Inspire.” I picked these simple words and they served me very well. One of my best years ever.
I listened to others, and I learned something new. I acted on this knowledge and inspired others to learn from it, too. It was a cycle of personal growth.
Choose any three words you feel will guide you forward.
Make sure your words mean something special to you. Don’t worry explaining them to others. Also, try to make them actionable. That’s one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from doing this exercise over the years.
Want to see a few examples?
Previous 3 words from me
Here are my choices for 3 words over the past several years:
2012: Listen. Act. Inspire.
2013: Live. Learn. Do.
2014: Dream. Create. Explore.
2015: Wellbeing. Kaizen. Leadership.
2016: Start. Observe. Adapt.
2017: Growth. Self-respect. Contribution.
2018: Simplicity. Primility. Creativity.
My 3 words for 2019
These took a while for me to build. I did a mini-workshop around them. More so, I need them to deliver. And we’re almost in February, so here we go… It’s never too late to start. I think.
At first, I thought of “courage”. It’s a great word, but it’s abstract. Jump is much more concrete. It’s easier to check: Have I jumped today? How was it?
To jump, you must have energy. You should first bounce to get a better overview:
- What’s the other side like?
- Where are you jumping to?
- What do you need to make the jump?
- How much does it hurt if you fall?
All these control question will make sure you jump only when absolutely necessary — whether the leap is big or small.
Trust the process, trust yourself. Take a leap of faith: jump to the other side.
To master the art of improvisation, you can’t judge yourself too harshly. No time to overthink or overanalyse. It’s OK to make mistakes, you learn from them and grow. The show must go on.
To improvise means you come up with different options. As a general rule, you can’t say no, only “yes, and…” or “yes, but…” This skill will teach you to become a better listener because you have to hear what the other person is suggesting. As a result, you’ll be an excellent team player.
Great improvisers are resourceful and solutions-oriented. They scan the environment for useful props or they invent their own tools. But their biggest secret is that they are well-prepared for any disaster to strike. That’s what makes them truly great at improvisation.
More than anything, this word invites spontaneity and living in the moment. Enjoy it while it lasts. Be more mindful of the present.
Jumping and improvising takes up energy. You’ll have to recharge your batteries.
What do I need to recharge right now?
Check your energy levels and learn what/who gives you energy, and what/who takes energy away from you. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with energy thieves. Be smart and outsource draining tasks, if you’re able to do so.
You’ll want to recharge before the battery is reaching zero. Rest, exercise, meet friends, meditate, plan some downtime. Recharge so you can jump and improvise again.
And those are my 3 words for 2019.
Your turn: what are YOUR 3 words for 2019?
Sharing this exercise makes it a million times more fun. 🙂
So, drop by the comment section and share your words for the year ahead.
I look forward to seeing yours!
A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.Greg Reid