My 3 Words For 2018

Like many in the entrepreneur space, I’m a Chris Brogan fan. A few years ago I got a hold of a very cool practice he does where he picks three words that as he says, “act as guideposts for the coming year.”

I have found these work great IF I actually revisit them daily as part of my goals and target reviews.

My words for last year were better, brave, and simple.

This year there is a clear shift in my focus and it’s reflected in my three words… honor, no, and finish.

My First Word — Honor

My two favorite definitions for honor look like this…

I think about honor in 2018 as honoring God, myself, my family, my business partners, and my clients. And when I think about all of those, I think about “regarding with great respect”.

For example, in 2018 I was pretty ugly to myself. My self-talk was brutal. Never in a million years would I have said those things to someone else or allowed someone else to say them to me. I was so busy being critical of myself and my path that I overlooked the many wins and successes that deserved some honor instead of me chopping them down with criticism. I’m committed to honor the process of my path in 2018, warts and all.

When I think about honoring others I think about my own failure to show honor to key friendships by simply staying in touch. Making a focused, scheduled, effort to stay connected with others that matter to me and to dedicate time to building new relationships is a key area of honor for me in the new year. I’m committed to honoring key relationships more in 2018.

I also can’t help but think about honor in my marriage and family. 2017 was marked by more catty arguments in my marriage and more chaos in my family than ever before. Most of this stuff folks would just call normal activity in a family of five and a busy work life. That’s true, but I know for a fact I could have honored everyone in my family a lot better by choosing my words a lot more carefully, being a lot less dramatic, and treating everyone with “great respect”. I’m committed in 2018 to honoring my family with my words and with my ears, by actually listening to them.

Finally, in the honor department, I think a lot about fulling obligations and keeping agreements. I did that in 2017 but it was sloppy. Often the thing I said I would deliver would be late. The instructions to a client were 98% complete but not all the way. Part of this is being fixed in 2018 by better systems but a big part of the solution is in focus because I’m using one word a lot more in 2018.

My Second Word — No

When I look back at 2017 I see a long list of half-baked projects, ideas, and distractions. And it was largely self-inflicted because I didn’t say no more often.

There are a few key things I’m saying no to a lot more in 2018.

I’m saying no to social media.

I’ve taken all the apps off my phone and am limiting my time on any social platform with a nearly religious dogmatism because the amount of time I wasted on social in 2017 was massive. But more importantly, I can’t point to much of anything in the non-business social space that added any real value to my life at all. I’m saying no to being tethered to my phone and hunting for the next notification.

My use of the platforms will be as a creator not a consumer in 2018 and even then with strict limits and rules.

I’m saying no to new projects.

This is really hard for me. I’ve never been a one project guy but in 2017 I felt the pains more and more of having too many tabs open in my brain. Podcasts, businesses, affiliate programs, course design, client work, outside sales, ministry… All things that are interesting to me but simply way too much to handle effectively. Saying no to new projects means saying no to others but more often it means saying it to myself.

Not every crazy idea deserves airtime. It deserves a note in my journal with a “someday maybe” label and then it’s back to work. I’ve made a living out of having a lot of irons in the fire, I’m interested in making a better life in 2018 by having few lines and more focus.

I’m saying no to incidentals.

My 2017 can in many ways in business be described as the fierce organizing of trivial minutia. If nothing else can be said of my 2018 I hope I will say that I neglected a lot of little things and focused on the big stuff. Entrepreneurship has chaos in its DNA. I don’t need to spend the next year continually trying to reign that in. It’s part of it. The desk won’t always be clean, the papers won’t always be organized, my accounting won’t always be perfect but I will produce bigger results simply because I’m putting the major’s first.

I’m saying no to 24/7 access.

I’ve spent way too much time checking my phone, answering Facebook messages, emails, and text from team members and clients in 2017. This is the customer service guy in me that needs to die. This pressing need to get everyone a fast response. Not everyone deserves a fast response. Actually very few things really do. Making sure everyone is happy at my own expense is a 2017 problem. Not in 2018.

I’ve let folks know, Facebook Messenger is not the place to talk to me about serious things. I’ve also let them know what my email and response rules are and in 2018 people will wait and some won’t even get responses because again their question or comment doesn’t merit one.

Because in 2018 I have to do one thing better than all other things…

My Third Word — Finish

One of the best things about 2017 was I finally got coachable. Part of that was having some key people give me feedback and act as accountability partners. One thing that came up more than once towards the end of the year was the concept of finishing.

I started a lot of things in 2017. I finished a lot of little things, but many of the big things were not finished.

I looked at my life as I reviewed the last year and I noticed that many of my friends and business peers suffer from this same tendency. Hot, fast starts… weak finishing skills. Finishing takes times. Finishing takes persistence. It’s not always clean and often requires growth, change, and hard work.

I’m committed to finishing in 2018. It can be as simple as finishing the workout, finishing the work for a day before closing up shop, or finishing the big goals simply by staying in the game and not quitting or stalling out.

Those are my words.

I would encourage to come up with your own and I would love to hear what they are or if you write about them, drop me a link.

While picking three words won’t make everything great, I know for a fact that taking the time to identify what yours are and then keeping them in front of you daily is a beneficial practice.

Wishing you a prosperous 2018!

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