This is the fourth year I am using Chris Brogan's "My Three Words" exercise to help achieve my goals for the upcoming year.
This is how it works: select three words that will guide your actions and behaviours toward achieving your goals for the year. Keep them visible, like taping them to your laptop or monitor, to ensure they are considered as you make decisions throughout the year – is this decision aligned with my three words and the goals they support?
This simple exercise has kept my goals top-of-mind and on track, increasing the odds of achieving them. They have also encouraged me to reconsider choices I have made hastily or without fully considering the consequences of them.
Looking at the words I selected over the years provides an accurate summary of my ambitions over time including some consistent themes and new directions:
Excite the people I work with to help them accomplish their goals
Create new mindsets, approaches and tools for managing change
Focus to minimize distractions, either time wasters or low-value activities
Choiceful in my decisions to align with my goals
New change support offers and different ways of providing them
Flexible scheduling so I leave room for unanticipated requirements and opportunities
Purposeful in everything I do to fulfil my purpose of helping people and organizations be more successful by working in new ways
Groundbreaking change support offerings and different ways of providing them that move me out of my comfort zone
Global clients and perspectives for breadth and universality
Some words have worked better than others. Last year, "excite" led me to taking on the most speaking engagements I have done in the five years of leading Change with Confidence. It was the best format to maximize the number of people I communicated with and expanded the number of industries I have worked in.
On the ineffective side, "focus" provided little value. It helped me realize that knowing I was unfocused wasn't enough to trigger an action to refocus me, something I have corrected for this year.
I have been considering my 2017 words over the holidays, replacing or refining ones that don't have the power to guide me. All of them will help me write my second book, which is a big goal for this year. Here they are:
Aspire to aim higher, moving beyond what I have accomplished before (I am best out of my comfort zone)
Prioritize my time and activities to keep me on my path and avoid detours
Permission to speak the truth as I see it because that is the best value I can provide
I am ready to succeed.
The "My Three Words" exercise is an excellent way to kick-off a new year: assessing last year's words helps you evaluate your accomplishments and shortfalls; selecting your new words builds inspiration and motivation; and following them keeps you on track by heightening the implications of the choices you make.
So what do you think? What three words will guide you to success in 2017?