What began as a simple task of reflecting on the year that is about to be behind us and preparing for the year that is before us is evolving into much more of an integrated exercise of intentionality. This overall process has brought me today to the point of identifying one word that will help me create an overarching sense of purpose for the activities and actions that will form the body of 2019.
And that word is — Mindful.
How did that word come to embody my aspirations for 2019?
I am a fairly introspective person by nature. When you look at the results from my original Emotional Intelligence profile from TalentSmart, it shows a high level of self-awareness. That component was higher than the self-management score. But that is a topic for another time. As I have reflected back on 2018 and as I look toward 2019, the one thing that keeps creeping into my thought process from every angle is the need to be more “mindful” in all that I do.
We must first come to realize that this entire process is one of intentionality. It cannot be done haphazardly nor while flipping through Facebook or LinkedIn on our smartphones. It requires specific times that are carved out of our daily allotment of 24 hours.
Set aside a time of reflection and self-awareness — This part of the process is a solo activity. There will be times for sharing a little later. But, this part is intended to be done alone and in whatever setting creates the greatest sense of peace and quiet focus. For me, it is at my desk at home while listening to soft jazz as a sound backdrop. This not always easy as my house if full and energetic. But, it can be done. And I have done it.
Use a tool — I am not one to reinvent the wheel. And there are tools out there that will help you focus your thoughts on arriving at a word to represent the coming year. All of these tools have the same things in common. They provide a series of reflective questions on the year that is ending. These questions help us remember the good, the bad, and the unexpected. And they help us to draw some inspiration from the good, bad, and unexpected. They show us lessons that we have learned and areas that we should emphasize as we grow and develop as a leader. The output of these tools will be a theme or a word that we can then put front and center throughout the year.
Distill the theme into a single word — The tool may have produced a theme or a phrase. So now is the time to distill multiple words down into one word. This may be harder than it appears. My brain operates in pictures and pictures are often abstract and must be identified with several words. But make every effort to reduce any abstract concepts to simple pictures that can be identified by single words.
What and who will support that word? — What actions will support that word? Who among my cohorts will support that word? And how can I bring those actions and cohorts together to help me embody that single word?
Tell somebody — All of the steps are important. But, this one may be the most important step. It may be the most important because this step provides an aspect of accountability. You have publicly, or maybe to a select few, stated the one word that will be the hallmark of your year. And no one wants to have an end result that does not match the indicated desired outcome. Just telling someone about the word causes us to be mindful (Oops, there is my word) of our activities and helps us make the minor adjustments along the way that keep us focused on the word.
I am already ahead of some of you as we all work through our year end and beginning of a new year rituals. In fact, I am at the final step and this article is a big part of my “Tell somebody.”
Once you have your word for the year, I would love to know it. I would love for you to share it with me and to tell me why that word is your word for 2019. Feel free to share it with me. You can even share it via your social media network. Feel free to include my hashtag, #TheEALeader, and I will see it.
Join me in being more “mindful” in 2019.