When my friend Jon Gordon wrote a book about choosing “One Word” to help individual focus on improving their life, it appealed to me. I liked the purity and simplicity of choosing a single guiding word and used the practice myself to great effect. About a year or so later I was introduced to Chris Brogan’s variation on the concept in which he chooses not just one word, but three. I found it worked even better for me.
Ben Franklin even used a similar technique of focusing on multiple areas for improvement each year, specifically a list of “thirteen virtues”: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility. You can read more about Franklin’s process here.
Using Chris Brogan’s variation of three words allows me to sort of “triangulate in” on desired end results from multiple angles. I still find it helpful to use one word as a priority of focus, but the other two serve as a sort of funnel or directional arrows to keep me headed in the right direction. Like Franklin’s list of multiple virtues it also allows me a variety of focus to keeps things fresh and prevent the effort from stagnating.
Though I’ve been choosing three words for about 3 or 4 years now, it was just last year when I decided to add a creative twist of my own — I use the number of the year to find the corresponding letter of the alphabet and I pick three words that begin with that letter. For example, in 2016 the corresponding 16th letter of the alphabet would have been “R” so I selected three focus words that began with that letter. For this new year of 2017 the 17th letter of the alphabet is “Q” so my three words begin with the letter Q.
Here are my three words
Quest: This word is my primary and cornerstone word of the year. It reminds me of a couple important points, first that life is an adventure and the best game ever, and second that I want to pursue projects that have a high risk of reward and are out of the ordinary, exciting… even noble. It appeals to my fantasy-book-reading nature and Arthurian fantasies. Plus, I don’t mind tilting at a few windmills or putting the “Don” in “Don Quixote”.
Quantity: In the back half of the year I slacked off on writing blog posts, but took a turn at creating a daily podcast which I felt justified the diminished written words. This year I want to set a personal-best record for content output. This includes adhering to a more reliable blog writing schedule, not just on this site but on a couple others I am launching/relaunching. I also have big plans for my website www.fivebuckbrainstorms.com. Rather than waiting for a topic to be suggested by a client or producing a brainstorm when the mood strikes me — I will adding a new brainstorm every single week in 2017. I will also likely produce a weekly podcast, an email course/30-Day Challenge type project, and I’m all-in on another full-year of daily posts at www.bigyellowsticky.com. I’m planning on a some big things for that site in the coming year as well. The response was really good on the daily podcast, so I’m thinking of doing a daily video series. Nothing too defined or organized, just me turning on one of the live video options (Facebook, Twitter, or Periscope — do you guys have a preference? Leave it in the comments below!)
Quarterback: I the last quarter of 2016 I had the opportunity to work with some pretty bright thinkers who asked for my help and advice in making their own projects more successful. Several asked about options for ongoing sessions to further develop their projects and personal brands. The word Quarterback is to help me focus on helping them drive their project further down the field toward victory. To be in the game with them, act as their biggest cheerleader and provide direction and ideas by passing them a few ideas to help them reach their personal goal line.
What are your three words for 2017?