Every year, Chris Brogan writes down “three words that will be [his] guiding pillars for what [he] will focus on in the coming year.” This year, Chris chose. Reinvest. Repackage. Flow. Others followed suit:
- C.C. Chapman – Create. Inspire. Teach.
- Tom Webster – Inquisitive. Daring. Discriminating.
- Chris Penn – System. Shatterpoint. Leverage.
In 2010, my 3 words were: Marathon. Sideways. Backpack. As you’ll see from the publish date on last year’s post, I was a bit late to the party. So this year, I figured I’d jump in before the end of the first week of 2011. However, that’s easier said than done. You have to actually block out time to think, right? I’ve never been really good at that. Last night, I was having trouble sleeping (very rare for me) as I had a lot on my mind. I saw a bunch of words floating around in my head (think flux capacitor from Back to the Future). I happened to have my iPhone sitting next to the bed, so I fired up Evernote and wrote down the following:
Just like that, I had my 3 words for 2011.
One of my biggest strengths as an employee and a human being is that I care. I care a ton. Some have told me that I care too much. At times, it’s manifested itself in passion and moved the needle on a professional project or personal goal. However, it’s also caused me frustration and stress as I tend to care about things that I have no control over. A colleague and good friend (hint: one of his 3 words is “shatterpoint”) has advised me on a few occasions not to stop caring but instead to refocus my caring to the stuff that matters, the stuff I can control. Thanks for the listening and offering sound, actionable advice, Mr. Penn!
Seth Godin wrote about unrealized projects in January of 2010. In that article he said that, “One key element of a successful artist: ship. Get it out the door. Make things happen.” We talk about it a bunch at Blue Sky Factory (my employer). Chris Penn calls it getting stuff done or burning down. Whatever term you use, shipping is all about finishing projects and getting them out the door. It’s not sitting on a project. It’s not wasting time on stuff that doesn’t matter. It’s working, finishing, and sending off … then starting again on a new project. In 2011, I will make things happen and ship!
We all know the sayings: Take time to smell the roses. Live in the moment. Etc, etc. We know them. We can recite them if prompted. However, how many people actually stop and breathe? We just keep going. Why? Well that’s how successful people become successful, right? Yes and no. My friend Scott Stratten gave an incredibly inspiring, heart-wrenching, humorous, powerful, make-you-really-stop-and-think (breathe) TED Talk, Keep Going Until We Stop. I implore you to take 15 minutes (right now) to watch that video. If it does not change your perspective on taking time to stop, to breathe, I’m not sure what will. This year, I will breathe. I will stop. I will take time to enjoy life – the stuff that matters – more.
There you have it. My 3 words for 2011 – Care. Ship. Breathe. What about you?