How many people would miss my work if I stopped contributing it?*
That’s the question that’s been nagging at me as I enter 2013 — but I’m approaching it in a positive way. It was a challenging year; I ran into a lot of roadblocks as I tried to create content that customers would find helpful or answer their questions, as I tried to create processes that would enable us to anticipate and mitigate risk, and as I tried to help my blog and Twitter followers.
It’s time for the annual 3 Words exercise that Chris Brogan created a few years ago. Here’s his three words for this year and you can easily find what others have chosen like Chris Penn, Mitch Joel, and C.C. Chapman.
Chris describes it as the “three words that sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year. It works best when the words are positive in spirit and not negative. ..the idea is to look deeper than a single goal and try to give you an entire mindset to contemplate. The Heath Brothers in their book, Switch, talked about needing three elements to bring about change: a rider (your plans and intents), the elephant (what your mood will do no matter what your plans say), and the path (the environment within which you intend to implement those changes). The concept of the three words is like the path. Think of a word that gives you the HUGE picture, not the small picture.”
So here are my three words for 2013. There’s a bit of an echo from my 2012 Words, but I think that’s OK unless you’ve decided to make a huge change in direction:
- Publish. This is a holdover from last year but reflects a greater understanding of what it takes to do that. Publishing is not just about the writing process; it’s about getting approval/endorsement. That may be client or boss approval. It may be business-partner approval. Or it may be approval from the Legal/Compliance/Risk people. I truly believe that the lawyers generally want to say yes and support the business. But there are people out there who don’t want to be pushed, who aren’t as comfortable in the execution phase as they are in the “talking about it with lots of people” phase. Publishing in 2013 for me will be about getting past the inertia and convincing people that the potential impact of what I’m working on is bigger than other things they might be working on. And in those cases where it’s not, moving on rather than pushing back.
- Legacy: Full disclosure on that question in the first paragraph: I’ve been thinking about this conceptually for the past month or so, but Seth Godin — as he often does — put my angst into very simple terms. I turned 53 a few months ago and am starting to think about how people will remember me. Did something I created make a difference to others? Am I rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic or am I working on things that truly matter? For me, legacy will be about prioritization, about taking more time on important projects and less time on the stuff that doesn’t matter as much. More and more lately, I’ve been asking people, Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze, on different projects. I think that’s a question that helps determine your Legacy. For me, Legacy is also a word I’m going to use to help me determine whether I’m in the right role for my skills and passion (i.e., do I leap out of bed in the AM) and how I’m dealing with my wife and kids (i.e., trying to be a better parent and husband).
- Now. I can be impatient, particularly if patience may result in a lost opportunity. But this is more about seizing opportunities — or perhaps recognizing opportunities when they rear their heads. It’s about letting go of the stuff where the juice isn’t worth the squeeze and just publishing and moving on. But it’s also about embracing the sales process rather than screaming into the wind. It’s also about “being present” with my family and about reading all those books I’ve downloaded for my Nook and actually leveraging the great advice.
After I hit Publish on this post — many weeks earlier than I did last year — I’m going to think about Metrics that will go with my three words. I want to be able to assess my progress, in part to keep me focused on the path. I sort of “forgot” about my three words at some point in the middle of the year. My challenge is to keep them front of mind so I can stay on track throughout 2013.
What about you? What three words are going to drive your 2013 success?