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Inspired by many of the online movers and shakers I’ve been reading (this one in particular), I decided to choose what three words define my aspirations and experiences for the coming year. Of course most people came up with their three words right around the first of the year, sort of a resolution antidote. Distill it down to just three words and live by them.

Well, in my typical fashion, I’m almost to the last day of the January and I’m still playing with words. Only three? How can I narrow it down?

I’m facing the same dilemma as I wrestle with defining just what are my core values. Someone asked me this recently, and I was flummoxed to realize that I really had never thought that through. Sure, I have a vague idea of what my values are all about. But, coming up with specific words to define them? Never took the time.

Of course, discovering and naming these values can act as sort of a life compass when I look at the myriad of directions to step toward. The idea is here to come up with about three and no more than six ‘core’ values. Well, I started with more than 20 and I’m still working on distilling those values down.

You’d think choosing a few words for just this year would be easier, but oddly I’m finding it much harder. What if I decide on three words and then have an epiphany the next day and realize one of them should be changed? What are my true priorities for the year, and how can I express them in just three single words?

With the idea of these words being a lighthouse or compass to guide me (and my secret idea that I can revisit these words at the beginning of each new season and perhaps adjust or refine them), here are my words for this year:

Risk

I take some chances in life, but more often I avoid risk like the proverbial plague. I don’t like getting hurt, I don’t like failure and I don’t like feeling foolish. But a truth has been pounding on my heart of late. Without risk there can be no growth. I must be willing to fail, to take it in the chin once or twice. So – rephrase that:  I am willing to risk failure.

Now I’m not talking about bungee jumping here (I doubt I will ever take that particular risk), but about pushing past my self-doubt and just going for it. When I look back on the areas of my life that I feel the most proud of – they all involved taking risks. So bring it on!

If I use “Risk” as one of my compass words for the year it addresses these goals:  courage, self-confidence, challenge, push, dare, stretch myself.

Connect 

This is the time. Inner and outer connection. Connect with my unique passion and superpowers. Share these and use them for a greater good. Connect with others from a heart-centered place. Allow myself to be open, to be authentic and to share vulnerability. These are components of true connection.

I’m already connecting with a diverse group of people from different corners of the planet – many of whom have opened my eyes to ideas and possibilities that I never would have imagined a year ago. As a person who has the odd personality trait of being a shy extrovert, these connections both excite me and scare me. I often have to push myself to reach out and make a new connection. I’m always glad when I do.

To me, to connect also means to collaborate, and I envision the possibility of some life-changing collaboration. Dare I say world-changing? Maybe this year will just be the time to nurture some seeds of collaboration. Maybe more. Who knows?

Create

It’s time to set down that old, tired story that “I’m just not that creative.” It’s worn a pretty deep groove into my brain, but it ain’t doing a thing for me! On an intellectual level I understand that creativity comes in as many forms as creations. I don’t have to paint breathtaking paintings, sew a dress to rival a designer, or even draw an eye-pleasing mandala to be creative.

It’s not really about art and it’s not about craftiness (although I welcome each into my life and invite my inner critic to zip it on that particular topic.) It’s not even about writing a book (but of course it could be!) Create means so much more than any of these things. I’m read to embrace the creativity that resides inside of me, unleash it, and see where it takes me.

As a compass I use this word to create some tangible ‘things’ – pieces of writing, products, a business perhaps. But part of the creative process is to allow what is bubbling inside to unfurl, let loose, and be shared. To allow it to be a mystery for a time. The word create embraces these aspirations and intentions: transformation, focus, align, confidence and unfurl.

Three words. Yes, I like this way better than resolutions. Even if it did take me 30 days to come up with my three.

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