As we settle into 2022, and get past the rounds of resolutions and goals, we are focusing in on where we want our energy to go, not just right now, or even in 2022, but for our growth and future opportunities, both personally and professionally. Over the last few years, it has become more common to hear people choosing a word of the year, and it is something that we've been doing for awhile over here.
We started the word of the year when setting resolutions felt limiting to how we focused our energy, confining us to improve our workout routines or drop a few pounds, or maybe find a new job that year. Shifting to a word helped shift the mindset about the year, about what we wanted to work on and where we wanted to invest our time and energy.
Like any goal or priority or habit, choosing the word can feel like the hard part and the fun part, searching for one word that will encapsulate the year, before the year even starts. It's like the moment when you choose the perfect presentation outfit or decide what running shoes you are going to buy - if you are like us, you research and debate, make lists and identify the pros and cons of each choice you have identified (guessing a few of you can relate to that style of process!) Once you settle on your decision, you feel that relief and excitement and it might move into doubt and uncertainty from there, questioning whether it was the right choice, if there is a better option or even feelings of dislike and desire to make a different choice in that moment.
The process of decision making is really what we go through - whether it is to set a goal, choose a word, decide on those running shoes or pick what's for lunch today. And we have learned a few valuable lessons through the word selection process over the years, including:
Overthinking is our default, but there is truly no wrong answer in this process! This one took us a minute to remember and to embrace. We can give overthinking more energy than we should, and we often do, but we reminded ourselves that this is about defining our focus and being intentional about where we put our energy. The word we choose matters WAY less than the mindset we create in focusing on how we will manifest it throughout the year.
Defining a word for the year is a framework, not a solution. When you choose something to focus on, you are inherently acknowledging that it is an opportunity for growth and learning. We like to say that the word of the year reflects both values and aspirations. So, we believe in the tenets behind the word, and that we reflect those tenets in our actions, but that we have aspirations to integrate those values in a more seemless way, which brings us to the concept of habits.
Once we choose that word, we view it like we do a new habit. We think about how we can make it easier to do on a consistent basis, we identify small steps we can take toward incorporating that word into our daily routines and we identify systems we can put into place to ensure we have more success than failure, but that we also learn from the failures along the way.
One of the most fun and interesting parts of the word process is the reflection at the end of the year about how that word was reflected in our actions, how that word showed up in unexpected ways and what we learned that allowed us to see possibilities and opportunities that we might have otherwise missed.
Fun story - the year we started our business, which we started toward the end of the year, and did not even know each other at the beginning of that year, INTENTION was the word that year. It showed up in so many ways throughout the year, and when it came time to choose the name of the company, we kept coming back to intention and the importance of helping other leaders learn what we had learned - when we take action with intention, we create greater outcomes.
Now, we know you are probably wondering - SO, what is the 2022 word of the year? And, we are going to share it, but first we want to remind each of you (and ourselves!) that the best outcomes from our word have everything to do with the mindset and growth we create over the course of 12 months. You can choose any word but the real impact comes when you do the work with intention, are open to what is possible and learn from both the successes and the failures.
So, our word for 2022 is AUTHENTIC and the definition that resonated most with us is: true to one's own personality, spirit or character. Here is what that looks like for us right now:
we will show up authentically in conversation, interaction and engagement, which includes being honest, asking questions and being intentional in those experiences
we will be authentic in our emotions, which means that we will embrace the 50/50 of life (a concept we have not always embraced!) and that we will allow the AND of emotions - it can be hard AND fun, bring joy AND pain, and so on
we will continue to learn, engage and challenge ourselves to grow, collaborate and innovate
We are so excited to see how AUTHENTIC shows up for us this year and how we will continue to evolve as individuals and as a company on that journey.
We would love to hear about your word of the year if you have one, and how you are incorporating that into your focus and commitment this year!