I was introduced to this concept about four years from a former principal of mine. I found it quite intriguing simply because I have never been a person about making resolutions simply because, like most, I could never keep it. I even used this to start the year off in my classroom and have students choose their own word, and I found it to be quite useful in help promoting a positive culture. After taking some time in self reflection this past month, it was pretty clear as to what I wanted my word to be.
I want every person/situation I am involved with to get the best version of me. The funny thing is that this is not coming from the standpoint that I have slacked or found myself in life’s rut. In fact, 2016 has definitely been a year a change for me. My wife and I gave birth to our first child in April. I had been told by many that having a child changes perspectives, and they were not kidding. In some ways, it has totally reshaped my thinking, and having our first child has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me personally.
Now, to start this journey to find my word, I have to rewind a couple of months ago. Like any normal day minding my own business, I was flicking through my Twitter feed when I came across a quote that stopped my dead in my tracks. Many times, like many of you, I simply glance over quotes without really ever thinking about it other than liking the quote if I happen to agree with it. And then I came to this quote that someone randomly posted. The quote read:
I had been frustrated with myself because I had not really seen any growth within myself for some time, and I couldn’t quite place what was wrong. That was until I read this quote, and then the weight of what I had missed entirely hit me like a ton of bricks. This quote began the process of self reflection of where I truly was in life and where I wanted to be.
If I’m wanting to grow, I have be willing to intentionally put myself in situations that I am not 100% comfortable with. That goes for my personal, professional, and spiritual life. With that being said, in order to grow, I feel like I have to embrace three key components in order to live into my word for 2017. I know it sounds like my one word just grew into four words, but I feel that without these components, my word will never become reality.
#1 – Passion
I feel like if I do not embrace this component, I will never be able to get the other two components off the ground. I am not a person that lives the “fake it until you make it” life. What you see is what you get. I cannot be one person in one facet of my life and someone completely different in another. This year I will have to create tension that continually ignites the passion. As a mentor once told me years ago, “There is no growth on the mountain top. Real growth lies in the valleys of life.” My biggest challenge is going to be searching to find my own intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic. Sometimes all it takes to ignite the fire is a simple word of meaningful encouragement, but in turn, I can be my own worst cheerleader. I’m going to have to work on this if I want to see growth.
#2 – Discipline
This is going to be then one where I will struggle the most because I have always been one to start an task with fury only to burn myself out before the race is over. If I were a runner (and I’m far from it), I could never see myself running an endurance race. To quote Baz Luhrmann, “Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, the race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” I will have to continually remind myself of this.
#3 – Service
It doesn’t do anyone any good to focus 2017 around growth to only contain it within. If that’s the case, then really what’s the point? It’s just the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30.). The entire point is to take what I’ve learned and give back. It’s not about self promotion, it’s about humility in putting others before me. It’s about serving in such a way that people around me become better versions of themselves. This final component will require action. Not thought. Not reflection. At some point, you just have to get “you know what” done.
Finally, if you haven’t figured it out by now, you can say that I have a plan for a plan for a plan. A little OCD I can be for sure. What I’ve learned especially after having my first child is that my word and its components sound great in theory, but sometimes the plan gets shot to heck. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches that life throws at you. I promise I am not a master of this one word business; however, what I can promise is that I’m just a normal person trying to figure out life and hopefully make it a little better for the people around me.