Seeing Chris Brogan, Deb Ng and many others post their “three words for 2013” got me thinking that every year I read other people’s lists and never really consider making my own list. While I like to revisit the past year and reassess what I did, where I could improve, and what needs to change going forward, the idea of making a simple list to aspire to seemed hokey. This upcoming year I think it would be nice to have three simple but deep things to focus on instead of just looking at the larger picture all the time.
I won’t lie here. The other reason I thought it was time to pick my three words is because of this year’s Doctor Who 2012 Christmas special “The Snowmen”. The show had a scene where a character was being asked questions to determine if she was truly in need of the Doctor’s assistance. The stipulation was that her answers be only made of one word that would convey every single aspect of the answer and situation. That’s really hard. To me, that is a good example of what my three words should be. Words that mean so much more than the singular definition and have a unique meaning and application to me.
Every year I, along with millions of other people, try to get in shape and eat better in the new year. I’m not going to focus on diet or exercise in the traditional sense, but rather becoming well. To say that 2012 was a pretty bad year as far as my health goes is an understatement. Last year I racked up two surgeries plus I had to stop going to the gym and a personal trainer because of the surgeries. I was under a lot of stress and ate poorly because of it.
I need to take a concerted effort this year and beyond to be take care of myself. Eat for health. Stretch. See if I can figure out some yoga and stretching I can do from home. Find ways to reduce and release stress before it eats me alive from the inside. I have already made some improvements over the past year but need to focus more tightly on creating my own wellness. That brings me to my second word…
I really have a hard time focusing on projects for any length of time. I’m easily distracted and tend to want to work on what I ‘feel’ like at the moment. Deadlines are my best friend because I work extremely well with them. Without structure, I wander and daydream, taking my work with me on a la-la trip to explore things I am interested in at the moment. It’s a great quality for brainstorming and figuring out solutions to deep and difficult problems, but it’s a bit tough for me when I need to hunker down and start, build, and complete a specific task without mental distractions.
A good number of people / friends have suggested I have “adult onset ADD” but I think the world self-diagnose way too easily, and is even more excited to diagnose other people. My ‘problem’ is that I have too many brilliant (in my opinion) ideas and projects in my head at any one time. It’s noisy in my brain! Sometimes the only way to stop the internal chatter is to be able to write it down or start implementing the ideas. While for my own projects I have lots of things in the works, it is rare that I actually follow through to the end. I tend to use the Pomodoro Method when working on ‘work’ projects, and find that very productive. A lot of it is because my own work doesn’t generate revenue, only client work does. I need to concentrate on the things that make money and that doesn’t leave me a lot of time to work on the projects and ideas that will grow ME professionally and start to generate my own streams of revenue. With the things that take longer to see the fruits of my labor, I need to find ways to focus and plan so I can finally reach my third word…
Flip-flopping around between non-work projects means that not many of them actually produce results. I get 30% through a project, stop, and then work on something else. When I get back to the project, I’ve decided to re-architect it and have to start over. I’m also very guilty of making things much more complicated and data-heavy than they need to be. I want to finally be able to work on a project or course and see it through to the results. This will include transferring the offline courseware and training I have to online ‘self serve’ style so I can produce some residual income without having to reinvent the wheel every single time. It’s also about realizing every project I decide to explore will not have immediate results. The Internet has trained us all to look for instant gratification with downloadable books and Amazon Prime shipping. Learning not to be disappointed when it takes me a solid week alone to write a product description for my own offerings is something I need to get better at. I will never see results if I give up when I don’t get results by the end of the day.
In the end it will be up to me to keep myself accountable and on track. Learning to think about these three words with every piece of work I take, every event I agree to, and every connection I make should be top priority for me in 2013. I won’t make it all the first time – or year – I try. Failure is fine too, so long as I take a look at WHY and try to course adjust going forward.
Who’s with me?