Five Words for Your Life and Leadership

I love watching my children color.  They do it with so much focus and pure creativity (in other words, while they’re in process, they leave judgement at the door).  Rarely do I hear them freak out that their creation didn’t turn out just as planned; instead of crying over a bad choice, they simply turn it into something new that works.

Recently, they were playing with overlays and noticing how an overlay of a new color can completely change the picture.  When colors combine, there is a shift in the way you see the picture without fundamentally changing what’s present.

  • Put yellow over a predominantly blue picture… you have green.
  • Put pink over the same blue picture… purple.
  • Put green on top of the blue… gorgeous aqua emerges.

Shared experiences are not always the same experience. Why?

Think about two friends that both go to see the same movie.  One walks out and says, “That was awesome!” while the other walks out and says, “That sucked.”  Really?  They both watched the same thing?  What was the difference?  It comes down to expectations and attitude.  They had different overlays.

One way to mind the expectations gap is with your attitude. Regardless of your circumstances, your attitude is always a choice that is fully in your control.  Moreover, I propose that your attitude is deeply tied to your intention. OK, lots of coach-speak there.  What does that really mean?  You decide what you most want, your aim (intention) and you also get to pick your mindset (attitude).  Together, they are like overlays that filter your experience in positive, or negative ways.

Words, like colors, attitudes, and intentions, are overlays to your experiences.

Words are truly powerful and when we use them as our filter, or overlay, they can help us to experience the world in meaningful ways and guide us from our smallest choices to ourbiggest leaps.

In 2013 I decided to kick off the year with a mantra to guide my actions and choices.  My mantra for 2103 was to make it the year of the stretch.  I was excited about what it would look like to go to the edge and take risks that I shied away from in the past.  What I discovered was that the stretch was not only found in the big leaps but in the small steps, the adjustments, and in discovering a new more centered way of being.

Risk is relative.  Not every leap is outward, leaps happen within. (Click to Tweet)

In an effort to simplify, I decided I’m going minimalist – one word to set the tone for the new year.  However, I invited my kids and husband to pick their words for the year too. Their choices both surprised and inspired me. In practice, I’m going to do some heavy borrowing of their words and make them my own.

Five Words, One Powerful Year

One word can be a touch-point that connects us to who we most want to be. (Click to Tweet)

1. Play – This is my word for the year.  I wonder, how can I transform work and stress with the perspective of play?

2. Challenge – My daughter did not hesitate when she picked this word.  She asked, “How can I challenge myself in new ways? How can I keep getting better?”

3. Love – My son sang out his answer with glee.  He shared that leading with love means he’ll think about others and not only what he wants.  A perfect practice for servant leaders everywhere.

4  Create – My husband, tired of fighting against the confines of the status quo, realized that this is his personal doorway to make the leap.  When you create, you no longer wait for permission or for things to change… you change.

5. Yours… So, what’s your word?  What will your overlay be for your choices and experiences this year?

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