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You’ve probably been hearing lots of chatter about having a focus word of the year and letting that guide you for 2020. You may also be wondering why in the world you need a word of the year and what it has to do with your direct sales business.
I’m going to quickly walk you through why you need a word, how it can improve your life and business, and how it can help you stay focused in 2020. I’ve also got a free planner that you might want to snag at the bottom of this post that will walk you through all the steps from choosing your word to putting it into action.
Why I Don’t Do Resolutions
Before we dig in, I want to give you a few reasons why a focus word is much better for you than a new year’s resolution. When you think about resolutions, they’re usually crazy big, life-altering goals like lose 40 lbs or workout 5 times a week at the gym or stop drinking coffee. GASP!
The numbers don’t lie. Most people who have these big hairy, life-changing resolutions are completely done with them by the end of February. And when I say “done”, I don’t mean they’ve completed it. I mean they have completely forgotten about it. They are back to their old habits of grabbing a Snickers bar at snack time, and their checking account is still being pinged for that monthly gym membership well into the fall.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in big, scary goals. I usually have them. But a big scary goal without a constant change in habits or focus just sets us up to fail.
Let Your Word Be Your Guide
This is where a focus word for the year tends to work sooo much better, because it’s simply a guide. It’s not a hard and fast rule. It’s a filter that we run every activity we do and every decision we make through. It focuses on how we want to improve our lives, improve our businesses, and how we want to feel at the end of the year.
Because new year’s resolutions tend to live and die in the first 3 months of the year, they are short term. Focus words tend to be longer reaching than that. Think of a focus word as a long term strategy. Let me give you an example…
In 2017, my word was “intentional.” This was the year that I got all sorts of intentional about growing my team. I also got hyper-focused on training and developing new leaders. Every decision I made for my family and my business was done with intent, nothing was willy nilly. That year we became of the fastest teams to make it to the executive level in our company.
In 2018, we were coming off a year of rapid growth so my word was “simplify.” I worked to streamline everything from training to meal planning. Anything I could automate, I did. Anything that I could get rid of, I did. I cleared away all the clutter that was happening in my head, home, computer…literally everywhere.
In 2019, my word was content. I felt stretched beyond where I wanted to be for our family and our current stage of life. Our kids were getting older, still are, and I wanted more time to spend with them. Even with streamlining I was spending more time working than I wanted to because I had big, scary goals. But the big goals weren’t making me content with my business or my family. So I had to shift. I cut back my goals and honed in on what I wanted my family and business life to look like. It was the year that I forced myself to be content with what I could and couldn’t do in the time that I had.
So you see, focus words can have a much greater impact than just one year. I can easily see how my focus from each of the last 3 years led me to where I am. They forced me to learn new things, change habits, and grow. I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without those words guiding my decisions and actions.
Reflect and Evaluate
Your first step is to reflect and evaluate. Think back over the last 6 to 12 months and think about where you wanted your business to go. What about what you wanted your life to look like? Ask yourself a few questions. (Don’t write the answers down yet. That comes later. Don’t worry. I’ve got a planner for ya at the bottom!)
- What could I use more of in my life?
- What would I like to feel more?
- What could I do less of?
- What characteristics do I want to be exemplified in my life?
- When people think of me, what do I want them to think?
- At the end of the year, I want to feel _________________________________.
You’ll notice this process focuses a lot on feelings. It’s less about numbers, because it’s not a goal. It’s a driving force in your business and family life.
Create a List
Once you brainstorm and mentally answer those questions, you’ll need to create a list. (Again, grab the planner at the bottom.) Don’t overthink this or get paralyzed by perfection here. It’s just a list of words and don’t worry, we’re going to edit it. As you were answering those questions, what words popped into your mind? What feeling words did you think of?
Don’t stop writing. Just keep going until you just can’t come up with anymore. You might even want to pull out a Thesaurus for ideas. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers here. Just write it all down. A long, healthy list is going to help you choose the perfect word, so don’t skip this step.
Narrow It Down
Now that you have your list, narrow it down. Look at the list. Study it. Now circle three words that stand out to you. You can circle a couple more if you want to, but make sure you circle at least three words, but don’t circle the whole list. You can’t be #allthethings in 2020 as much as you’d like to.
Hang out with it
The final step is to try on your word of the year like a brand new pair of shoes. Let your word hang out with you for a few days. Write it down. Put it on some sticky notes and slap them on your bathroom mirror or the dashboard of your car. Put it in your wallet or on your phone or write it on a whiteboard in your office. Make sure you put it in places where you will see it.
After you’ve been staring at it and thinking about it for a day or two, if it doesn’t feel quite right, it’s probably not your word. If it doesn’t make you smile and nod your head, you might need to go back to the list. Just choose another one and let it hang out with you for a bit and see if you like that one better.
Sometimes our word just finds us. Sometimes it’s literally everywhere we turn and you just can’t get around seeing it and hearing it. If a word happens to find you, still plan to mull it over for a day or so to make sure it’s the right one and not a distraction. And for the love of all the words, do not use someone else’s word just because you think it could be good for you. Take the time to think it through for you, your business, your family.
Create a plan
Once you have your word nailed down, create a plan to keep it in front of you and use it to guide your decisions during the year. Ask yourself the following questions –
- How do I want to implement my word throughout the year?
- What actions am I going to take to make sure that I stay focused on my word?
- What will I stop doing to make sure my word is my guide?
- What will I start doing to make sure my word is my guide?
- How will I keep this word in front of me?
If you’ve been around for a bit, you know I love a good planner. Make sure you grab our free Word of the Year Planner that not only walks you through finding your word but also helps you brainstorm ways to use it and fun, creative ideas to keep it in front of you throughout the year. Comment and let us know if you’ve found your word for 2020!
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