This morning I came across a wonderful blog post from Chris Brogan called, My 3 Words for 2013. He explains that, each year, he selects three words that serve as a focus, regardless of the more specific goals. Rather than paraphrasing him, you can read the entire post here, and even join in sharing your three words in the comment section.
I turned forty in 2011 and decided to try something a bit different for my goals. I had a long list of goals to accomplish by the time that I turned thirty, but in my thirties I just set up random lists of goals each year. Largely, my thirties were devoted to completing goals that I had not finished by the time that I was thirty (running a marathon, finishing my doctorate, completing a graduate degree in the humanities, etc.). When I turned forty, I decided to choose forty things that I want to do forty times in my forties. It has been a fun and interesting journey so far (although I”m less than two years into it so far). The list includes experiences, new things to learn, new things to accomplish, etc. It was a bit daunting at first to see this list of what is essentially 1600 goals, but it also allows me to break up larger goals into smaller segments (as many as forty).
There is something missing with such a list, and Chris’s idea resonated with me right away. So, in 2013, I am going to try his three word suggestion. Here are my three words.
Flourish – What I love about the word is that it has a measure of humility to it. It doesn’t claim to be in control of all life circumstances, but it does invite me to consider what it means to flourish amid the many circumstances of life, while also creating, influencing and expanding circumstances when possible (or potentially possible). I also read Martin Seligman’s book by that name this year, and I treasure the idea of devoting 2013 to flourishing.
Bless – Dr. Gene Veith’s work on the teaching of vocation (calling) is a powerful one. It speaks to the idea that one has many callings in life, and our purpose within those callings is to love our neighbor. We use what we have and our situations in life to the benefit of others. As I am thinking about it, it is about living in a way that addresses the needs of others, that benefits them, that offers them the gift of kindness.
Befriend – This year I want to spend more time cultivating new and old friendships, and I use the word “friendship” in the broadest possible way. In fact, it may be more accurate for me to write it as two words, “Be Friend.” In 2013, I would like to invest more thought, time and effort into “being friend” to the people I meet, even seeking out new people to befriend in both the digital and offline world.