This is the second year I have chosen a word to guide me throughout the year. I first heard about this from my scrapbooking friends – One Little Word is a class taught by Ali Edwards, who is kind of a big deal in those circles. While I haven’t taken the class, I like the idea of creating a personal ‘word’ and reflecting back on it all year.
So this year, I hadn’t yet settled on a word when my world was rocked. On January 8th, my part-time position with a national nonprofit was suddenly eliminated. We had gone through a restructuring the year before, and I was still hanging in. So admittedly, I was surprised when my grip was loosened. Stunned. Felt the floor shifting under my feet. It was a great job and I thought I would be with that company until I retired. Surprise! Not so. Nope. Not today.
When I regained my footing and got some clarity, I created my one little word for 2016. It is:
I realized I was going to have to make sure this business of mine brought in a full time income, rather than a part-time one. It mattered now whether I had clients who stayed with me, new clients to replace the old and tax money put aside all along the way rather than at the end of the year. My fears and anxieties would have to be pushed aside or dealt with in order to do my best at this and be successful.
What fears do I have? Oh there are a lot of them. I would tell you about all of them, but that would give them voice and I try not to let them talk a lot. It’s easier that way. But here’s an example.
A lot of people who know me know that I am an introvert by nature. Yes, I can act as if I am an extrovert, but at my core, being alone and coaching people one-to one energizes and delights me. Networking? I don’t Prefer it. But I learned long ago to tolerate it. Some days, I even embrace it.
Let’s just say, I chose this word and then what happened?
- Embrace networking? Enter new clients who bring me weekly opportunities to network with people I’ve never met.
- Create an LLC rather than a sole proprietorship? Enter an opportunity to learn a lot of information that confuses and frustrates me, but keeps moving forward, step by step. And allows me to work with and learn from people I genuinely love.
- Expand into a new market? Enter the opportunity to drive into New Orleans and Mobile to attend meetings and meet with referral partners.
These are the ways I have to continually get into the framework and action around my one little word.
What I’ve noticed is that once I set my intention around this word, all sorts of opportunities have shown up for me to prove that I’m committed. Beyond opportunities, the word shows up in articles, conversations, songs and just everywhere I look. There are two songs that have been in my iTunes playlist for years– one is Brave by Sara Bareilles and another is the song Learn me Right from the original soundtrack of the movie Brave. (This one is really special to me because it was gifted to me by a client who thought it described what she got out of coaching with me.) When I shuffle my songs, both of these songs ALWAYS come up. And let me tell you, I have a large iTunes library. So the odds are like 2 in 4589. And they didn’t used to show up quite so much as they do now.
Today, I was actually inspired to write this post about my one little word because I was reading a book by Thomas Leonard, considered by many to be the father of coaching. He wrote this book called The Portable Coach to help people be more attractive and create a strong personal foundation using these 28 strategies he thought were critical to practice. I decided to take a look at this book again since I hadn’t read it in many years. Strategy number one already reminded me of how brilliant he really was, but this quote really got me. It’s on the Very First Page! Seriously. I can’t make this up. So here it is – get ready:
“Because fortune really does favor the brave, and the brave are guided by their own lights.”