How to Pick a Meaningful Word for the Rest of the Year
It was my intention was to start the podcast at the beginning of 2020. We ended up launching in April instead. I was going through episode ideas we'd had, and I realized that some of those ideas for the beginning of the year would also be very helpful in the midst of the pandemic. Many of you are coming out of this, or you're soon to be coming out of this, or you've already come out of this, and it feels like a reset… a restart. Last week we talked about five things that you can do to restart the year off right. Today I want to talk about how to pick a meaningful word for the rest of the year.
I know some of you are already picking words of the year, and I think that's awesome. That's fantastic. It might be a really good idea to revisit that word and make sure it's still serving you, in the current environment. This word is a rallying cry for me. It's the first word I see every morning because it is the name of my alarm. It's really something to help rally you and motivate you to do the things that you need to do.
My process for picking a word
My process for picking a word is this: I review my last season. If I'm picking a word of the year, I review the last year. As I reevaluate my word, I look over the last five months to see if my word served me well. I reviewed some things from the last year or the last season. What are some characteristics that I exhibited that I wasn't really thrilled with? What are some characteristics that I wish I had exhibited more of?
I was very reactive in 2019 and I became extremely reactive during the pandemic. I felt, like I'm sure like many of you did, that I lost a lot of control. I was just reacting to things as they were coming at me rather than being proactive. I think we all wish we had more control. I think we all wish that, especially in all aspects of our business.
The biggest thing, in talking to other businesswomen, they felt like they had no control because everything was being pushed at them. Homeschooling was being pushed at them, business closures were being pushed at them, all of these new stay-at home-orders, grocery stores were closing earlier, and it just made everything feel much more compact.
Why I picked this specific word
I tell people the reason that the Northeast is so much more crazy and hectic than the Midwest or the South, is because everything closes here really early. We don't have a lot of 24 hour Walmarts in New England. Stores close at nine and we have less time to get things done. We're running around like crazy people because the stores are open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, but you have to be at work at 8:00 AM, you get out of work, and by the time you pick up your kids, it's 6:00 PM. We don't have a lot of time. That's why things are so hectic.
In New England, they said restaurants have to close at eight. So, restaurants are closing at eight, grocery stores close at eight and for a lot of people, everything became more hectic. The people I know who are still working, the essential workers, the time they have to get things done is greatly decreased because of the changes in store hours.
That change compressed everything in. I've got 24 hours in a day, and in those 24 hours I need to homeschool my kid, I need to work, I need to go grocery shopping, or I need to have groceries ordered, which in itself has its own difficulty. Trying to hunt down the supplies that you need, trying to do all the things, everything takes longer. And it just feels like everything is compressed in.
Then, at least in my business, dealing with the SBA loans and the PPP loans, and I know lots of you applied for those, and it was super frustrating and it's taking forever and, it was just really, really hard. Think about how you responded, how you reacted. What do you wish there was more of in that space instead?
For me, I don't want to be reactive. I want to be proactive. I want to take control of my schedule. I didn't like “control” though. I didn't like the connotation. Originally when I set my word of the year back in December, my word was “intentional.” I wanted to be more intentional. But, I felt I needed something stronger than that, but not as strong as “control.”
My word of the year
My word became “command.” I want to take command of my schedule. I want to take command of my life. I want to take command of my self-care. “Command” really seemed much more appropriate for me.
That's my word . I've been using this word since February. When my alarm goes off in the morning, it says “command.” It’s powerful. When I go to a new word for 2021, I think my alarm is still going to say “command” because there's something about seeing that when my alarm goes off, I see “command” and I get up, and I get out of bed. It’s a reminder… take command of your day. Are you going to sit here in bed or are you going to take command of your day?
It really helps me when I feel like I'm about to go back into that rut of letting things happen to me… like over-checking my email and responding to what other people need before doing what I know I need to do. It helps a lot.
Pick a word that will help you become the person that you want to be. That's really what you're looking for in your word for the rest of the year. If you haven't done this little exercise, I really encourage you to do it.
How to pick your meaningful word for the rest of the year
Review last year, or review this year so far. When I do that review I think about things that bothered me in that time period. The example I use is I was really reactive and I didn't want to be reactive. I wanted to be proactive.
Ask yourself which characteristics you wish you exhibited more. That's probably where you're going to find your word is in one of those. I find it really helps to write it all down. That's super helpful because you're going to find as you're writing it down, something is going to jump out at you.
You can pick a word and live with it for a little bit, like a roommate, or like you're dating, and see if it is serving you the way you want it to, or if it needs a little bit more oomph. Thesauruses are really good to help you find the right word if it doesn't feel like your word is really doing it for you.
That's how “intentional” was for me. It wasn’t quite right. “Intentional” for me meant that I was going to be more intentional. So I would think more about taking that walk. I would be more intentional about my schedule.
“Command” was a little bit more for me. It was stronger, and it applied to more buckets. I'm going to take command of my health. I'm going to take command of my self-care. I’m going to take command of my schedule. I'm going to take command of my email. I'm even going to take command of getting out of bed in the morning. I think it was just much more appropriate for me to use that word.“Command” is my word of 2020. I think it has served me fairly well.
How to use your word of the year
Once you set your word, you want to make sure that you have it all over. I told you it's my alarm when I wake up in the morning You might want to have a couple of alarms during the day that go off, just to remind yourself to take a look at it, and remind yourself to refocus on it. It's like when you set goals. If you set goals and you put them in a drawer and you never look at them again, they're not going to be helpful.
I would recommend that whatever you set your word to be, that you have it in important places. Have it somewhere in your office, maybe on a sticky note on your computer, or on the bathroom mirror on a sticky note. Put it in where you feel it is going to help you be the person you want to be, where it's going to help remind you that this is a recentering word for you.
I hope that that's helpful. I'd love to know what your word is. You can leave it in the comments below, or share it with us on social media.