How one word can shape a year…

I started using the One Word challenge in 2011 thanks to the inspiration of the #wlsalt community. Previously, I had set specific goals and due dates. It was very scripted and I set out with fervor each year to accomplish the goals. Overall, that process worked very well through the years and I accomplished many goals that way.

When I moved to the One Word challenge, I’ll admit I was probably just jumping on the band wagon. It did seem like a good idea but I had no idea what it would mean to pick a word that was meant to guide an entire year. Think about that…one word, defining an entire year. No specific goals, no deadlines. Just a word. For this strategic planner and type A personality, I wasn’t quite sure how it would work.

The past two years have shown me more about myself and how the one word I selected manifest in my life each day. Now that there was one word constantly whispered in my ear, I held it closer as I made decisions. Looking back, I picked the perfect word to frame each year without knowing what was to come. I cannot imagine more perfect words than the ones I selected to guide the last two years of my life.

Let me share.

Lotus Flower

The Lotus flower’s unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul.

In 2011, I chose spirit. That was the start of the year that I was coming off of the Women’s Leadership Institute and a 2 week trip to India. Those experiences touched the depths of my spirit and helped me feel alive again. I wanted to keep the fire inside my craw (that’s a good ol’ southern term my friends!) going. I wrote, “Spirit is the place from where I draw my courage, passion and agency to impact the world.” I knew it, I felt it and I wanted to live it.

fearNo wonder I chose fearless for 2012! I felt courage and passion and was ready to be fearless. Thank goodness I did! I had no idea how important that word would be to me in 2012. Let’s see, the year included: securing a promotion and negotiating successfully, defending my dissertation proposal, being elected to my sorority’s International Council, quitting my job and moving across the country, and becoming a full time doctoral candidate. All in one year. I can’t tell you how many times I listened to the fearless playlist that many of you helped create! When I needed a reminder to be courageous and go after my dreams with fearless abandon, there it was- my one word. Fearless.

As 2013 approaches I am contemplating what word to choose. I am going to let the chaos and noise just fade away and listen for a moment. My spirit will whisper something softly…


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