It’s that time of year again. I honestly feel like I just did this. Time is seriously moving at light speed these days. I had my word all ready to go weeks ahead of time, and I was looking forward to blogging again. But here we are in the middle of January, and I’m just getting around to it. Yes, I’m a bit later on this post than I would have liked, but it fits in with the word I chose for this year. As I mentioned in my first #oneword post from 2018, I’m not one for resolutions or even the typical sit down- write- it- out -goal setting. I like to take a more holistic approach to improvement.
Last year I chose the word focus. I wanted to spend time doing the work that was really important to me, the work that would make the world better. Ok, maybe that was a bit too big, but I wanted to do meaningful work that was making a difference for someone somewhere in the world. Upon lengthy reflection and beating myself up a bit about not doing enough. I came to the conclusion that yes, I did fulfill my intention for my annual word choice.
It was through this reflection process that brought me to my word for 2019. It started with the first question I asked myself and my immediate answer. My word was “focus,” so I asked myself the simple question: did I honestly stay focused? My response was no, not even close. But this was my response as I was neck deep in a project that had an impending deadline that I had been putting off.
I stepped back, and I tried a different question.
What did you do this year? And I started listing everything from places I had traveled to conferences where I presented. I shined a light on the big things like starting a business and moving to the other side of the world. Did I miss a few blog posts? Yes. Did I accomplish as much as I set out to achieve? No (But let’s be real, I set out to change the whole world. Rome wasn’t built in a day). All throughout this focus on consulting, on speaking, on making connections, on moving, on writing, on traveling (I’m sounding like Santa and his reindeer now) I was being really hard on myself.
So my word this year is “balance.” It will be to first and foremost cut myself some slack. Sometimes things take longer than I want them to. Sometimes I can’t take every opportunity or go to every event (this one is particularly hard for me). Throughout all this focus, I moved to an exciting new country and have barely seen anything outside of a 2 block radius. That is going to change.
Balance, for me, will include saying no and pulling back so I can continue to focus on the work that means the most. But it will also mean saying yes to learning a bit of Mandarin and visiting the Great Wall. It will mean, hopefully, that I will dust off that novel that I wrote a few years ago and finally get it out to publishers even if it never gets accepted. It will mean that I will still pursue all of the exciting and boundary-pushing opportunities going on in my work life too just with a bit of forethought on how it aligns with my life.
I think, for Americans, and probably for a lot of other people around the world too, balance is one of the hardest things to achieve. We have unrealistically high expectations of ourselves to do more, to be more, that sometimes we lose our identity in the process. Sometimes that happens; it happens to all of us I would imagine. One of the reasons I like the #oneword exercise is that it forces me to take a minute to do a personal inventory not just on what I’ve done and what I plan to do, but how I feel and who I want to be.
I wish you all balance, health, and happiness in this new year.
What’s your #oneword? Share in the comments below. And if your #oneword is “write,” I would love if you shared a story with the JRNEY community.