I am ready for a new year, how about you? 2016 was a whirlwind year with quite a few ups and downs in my world. Aside: not the least of these was a loss of about 20 pounds. I seem to lose and gain the same 20 pounds every few years!
From random conversations with friends and family and colleagues - all around the world - the consensus is that 2016 was tough. There are few anomaly folks where 2016 was amazing and awesome and that's great. But, I'm certainly thankful that 2017 is here!
Many years back, I started a process at the end of a year, and heading into the new year, where I reflected on the past and made some rough overarching plans for the new year. Through friends, I ran across Chris Brogan and his "my three words" blog posts roughly 10 years ago. You can read his past posts on the topic - and his 2017 words - here.
Why Three Words? To steal his language: "We choose three words so that you can use them for triangulation. One word seems to fade away from our memory too quickly. Two words sets our brain up to think of “this or that” kinds of logic. Three words gives us a way to think about the situations in our lives from many dimensions. "
I publicly posted my three words for a few years.
I stopped posting my words, and plans, in 2013. I shared them privately with some friends. I kept up with the process but did not want to deal with the public accountability of failing.
Last year, I wrote a passionate post about my 2015, and my 2016 plans. Again, I kept it private. And I'm glad I did. 2016 went nothing like I had hoped - at least the first half of the year. I was disappointed. I was hurt. I struggled with not taking everything personal and just giving up. Then I was distracted with a hard decision. Then I regained focus and sought out mentoring and public accountability again. Then I started into the 4th Quarter and found some routines to press through 2016 and finish strong.
Here are my three words for 2017 - Focus, Alignment, Cost
Focus - Here is the deal. I can focus. I can focus so deeply that I sometimes lose track of the world around me. I've lost hours. I've missed meals. I've missed sleep. Focus is usually not a problem for me. But, for 2017, my focus needs to be different. My focus is specifically on the "future desired state" of things. I am focusing on what I want to be as a dad. I am focusing on what I want to be as a husband. I am focusing on what the future desired state of the Research and Development team at Mirazon. I am focusing on the future desired state of Daryl - the man. I like who I am becoming. I recently read the following - and it struck me. I cannot forget it. "When your focus element is compelling, distractions and forces holding you to the status quo are suddenly minimized." Yup, focus. 2017.
Alignment - And, how do I achieve focus in 2017? I'm glad you asked. I am putting in place systems, and processes, and activities (things to do!) schedules (including things to don't!) and utilizing technologies to reach my focus. I am aligning the team I lead at Mirazon around certain focuses and technologies. I am aligning my dad-hat and husband-hat with sacred schedules and activities. I am aligning my service activities at Church to utilizing my God-given talents and strengths and gifts. I will not arrive and become aligned overnight. It will require several stops and checkpoints along the way. It will most likely require some small course corrections as well. That's okay. I'm ready to drive the needed/focused changes and new/different behaviors.
Cost - Oh yeah, but how much does this cost? Will it cost money? Time? Effort? Pain? Refinement? Diminished friendships? Preferred activities? Probably. Yes. All of that. The Bible states to "hold every thought captive" and that's something I cannot even begin to completely understand and unpack. But, I can extrapolate from it. I need to count the cost of my actions. I need to count the cost of my decisions. I need to count the cost of my words. I am focusing on the cost - of many things.
One of my friends at my former gig at LifeChurch.tv had a sign on his wall. It was written in Latin and said "Esse Quam Videri" which means "To be, rather than to seem." As I roll into 2017, and I Focus, and Align, and count the Cost - I'm anticipating great things. I am expecting "to be" not just "to seem."
What about you? What are you thinking about in 2017? Have you thought about it? Have you written it down? Have you told a friend?