As you are setting your new years resolutions – I want to share a practice with you that I have found to be effective for me. This is the introduction to my book – The Power of Influence, where I explain the practice of how to choose your word for the year – Enjoy –
As the New Year approaches I enjoy spending time reviewing my goals and my progress from the previous twelve months and setting goals for the next. I look at my life in four parts: Physical, mental, emotional & spiritual. I set goals in each. I think about what I want to be in each category, why I want it and how I am going to achieve it. It is one of my favorite times of the year.
Four years ago, I added something different to my goal setting session. I decided to choose a word: one single word that I would focus on throughout the year. It became the subject of my study, the focus of my thoughts, and it defined the trait I wished to gain in that year. Like Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues, my word would become part of me in that year.
Four years ago I chose the word communication. I always felt like I was a natural communicator but I wanted to turn a raw talent into a strength. At the time I wanted to become a professional speaker and was speaking regularly in building our business. I read books on communication, presenting, public speaking and story telling. I worked very hard to eliminate any filler words from my speech, such as um, or ah. I recorded myself every time I presented, either in audio or video, and analyzed what worked, what didn’t work, and how I might improve. That year my communication vastly improved and is something I continue to work on today.
Three years ago I chose the word Leader. I read every book I could get my hands on about leadership. “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield were my favorites. I learned that leadership is an attitude and that you can and should lead regardless of your title, position, or role in life. John Quincy Adams said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” From my friend Kevin Hall, author of “Aspire!,” I learned that the word leader means Pathfinder. Someone who has found his or her path and lives on purpose is a leader and I strive to do that every day.
Two years ago I chose the word Humility. Often called the mother of all virtues, humility is having the disposition to always be learning and growing. It is being open and willing to develop new skills, gain new vantage points and become more. It is learning to not take yourself too seriously (I’m still working on that) and being open to feedback. It is interesting because as I sought to learn humility, I experienced many false starts, setbacks and failures that year. It is like someone was trying to teach me humility through experiential learning. Humility is definitely a lifelong pursuit. ☺
At the beginning of this year, I wanted a word that applied to all my roles. In all of my personal relationships: as a husband, father, son, brother, grandson and friend. Professionally: as a speaker, author, entrepreneur, leader, salesman, marketer, teacher and mentor. As a neighbor in my community and as an involved participant in my church. In everything I did, I wanted a word that was relevant across the board, and the word is Influence.