Intermittently over the last 15 years or so, right around the first of the year, I’ve picked 3 words as guides or reminders of where I want my focus to be for the upcoming year.
For the years that I have picked these guiding words, it seems that there was more focus and follow-through in my life. And for the years I didn’t, let’s just suffice to say, “Not so much.”
I suppose my lack of consistency had also been part of the chronic and terminal perfect-imperfection of my humanness.
So what do I do with these words? First, I put them on the first page of my journal so I see them first and foremost and am reminded of them.
Second, if I find myself feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or wasting time (I can be quite the expert at that), I remind myself of my three words and it helps to center me and get me into more constructive and productive action.
Third, for some reason, I seem to operate better when I have something quick and simple I can refer to for some guidance. I think this is part of the entrepreneurial challenge in having all this amazing freedom and also being responsible for all this amazing freedom.
Why Connection, Affection and Reflection? As you might notice, they rhyme, which makes it easier for me to remember them, and I may very well use them in a rap song (kidding) or a poem to further cement their value in my mind.
But mostly I found myself with these 3 words because they fit for me.
Connection: I tend to be a lone wolf. I’ve spent the vast majority of my adult years either single or in uncommitted romantic relationships (which is most likely why they didn’t work), have preferred to travel by myself and have probably gone to the movies alone hundreds of times. I’m quite comfortable with myself, but I also long for connection with others. Therefore, I’m committing myself to make sure I connect with myself (goals, priorities, boundaries, etc.) AND connect with others.
For those of you who’ve been “following” me (feels like such a stalking term) on social media, you know that I’ve been in a committed romantic relationship for three years now. Part of my commitment to Connection is to be more connected to my partner.
Additionally, I’d like to expand my social network of friends and professional circles of influence. Therefore, I will need to make and keep more connections.
Affection: Since I’ve tended to be a lone wolf, affection isn’t something that’s been very necessary in my solitary lifestyle. Additionally, as a coach and counselor for over 30 years, I’ve had to maintain boundaries and parameters that have reinforced my lack of being affectionate.
However, much like my desire to be more connected, I also want to experience more affection in my life. As odd as it may sound, this feels quite vulnerable for me, but when I run into a vulnerable situation in my life, it usually means it’s an opportunity for growth.
The bottomline is that it’s time for me to let my guard down (some).
I just hope I don’t regret putting this in writing (Honey).
Reflection: Sometimes I go from one day to another and another and before I know it, a week or month has passed without me taking time to reflect.
It’s so easy for me to get sucked in the “bigger, better, faster, more, now” machine and not even take the time to ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.
And that’s exactly what reflection is for: for example, to reflect in the morning and be grateful for the day and all the many opportunities in front of me; to stop, pause and reflect if I feel myself starting to emotionally react; and to reflect at the end of the day, appreciating all the experiences, opportunities, and, yes, even the challenges, I’ve encountered that day.
Reflection, as one of my mentors once suggested, helps keep me reminded that, “the most important thing about the most important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing.”
Connection, Affection and Reflection. Those are my 3 guiding words for 2017. What are yours?
Want a good starting place? Marry YourSelf First!