My 3 Words for 2019

Evolving my use of Words in the years ahead.

It’s a brand new year. Putting the pomp and ruckus aside, what are we striving to accomplish in 2019?

We have an opportunity to reset and begin doing things differently to achieve our dreams. Dreaming alone, however, isn’t going to get us any closer to achieving them. We need to take action and Get Shit Done, or #GSD for short.

Taking action, however, is one side of a coin. We want to be the right kind of busy, so we need to take actions that move us closer to achieving our dreams. The traditional New Year’s Resolutions model is nice, but we can do better ;)

Ever since the discovery of a words-based approach for the new year resolutions, my actions began to align better. Don’t get me wrong, SMART goal setting is still important and builds off of the three words, but for the traditional New Year’s resolutions, my three words have kept me more focused, realistic and profitable. I attribute this to the unique flexibility it allows for the constantly changing priorities we face throughout the year that SMART goals alone cannot.


As a brief recap, SMART Goals focus on the structure of a goal in order to make it effective and achievable. This is an important step to take building on the 3 Words model.

Specific, significant, stretching

Measurable, meaningful, motivational

Agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

Realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T ime-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

Many people fail in life, not for lack of ability or brains or even courage, but simply because they have never organized their energies around a goal.
Elbert Hubbard

So how did 2018 go? Well, it was as entrepreneurial as it could get. I climbed in annual salary, and cut that in half to focus on my own business. The ideas kept flowing and I experimented to see what market opportunities could be profitable. I also took the time to explore what I enjoy doing and what is more like a tedious chore. I failed a few things, bounced back and fell a few more times on my face, then found a steady rhythm along the way.


The Entrepreneur’s Journey is like a rollercoaster, with lots of highs and lows (more lows than highs though), and unexpected fires (chaos) along the way. Here’s how a colleague once described it, which still sticks with me to this day.

To oversimplify the stages of a business from idea to success, here’s another visual.


But, as they say, “new year, new you.” My three words for 2019 need to take into account a few new changes in the coming year. In essence, the core basics are travel, video content, and managing multiple profit streams. Not so easy at first glance, but with a little thought here’s what I decided on for my three words in 2019.

Side Note: I skipped my three words 2018 and while I experienced a degree of success, I still felt it could have been even more successful compared to when I had used the words.

So, what do I choose for my words looking forward at 2019? What do I want to strive for and fight against?

I choose Cut, Evolve, and Give.

  • Cut means to reduce the things that aren’t working. It’s time to be data-driven and see what will provide the most impact for the limited time we have.
  • Evolve means to take things to the next level, to transform. Both personally and in my career, this means more fitness and scaling my value to grow and accelerate my business.
  • Give means to #GiveFirst, to provide value without expectation of a transactional benefit. To build thriving communities, whether in entrepreneurship (ESHIP) or business, we need to foster a #GiveFirst culture. It has been a core belief for more than a decade now, those who know me won’t be surprised by this one.

For some professionals, we always find ways to put on twist on things, our way to spice things up a bit. Here’s the plot twist* for the three words exercise: consider how your three words will impact those you serve. For me that means infusing a core mantra I picked up from a mentor, Frances Hesselbein’s “To Live is to Serve”, and putting the focus on others and not just myself.

*Thank you to Christopher S. Penn for the inspiration.

What we leave behind, our legacy, is not how rich we became, but rather how we affected others along the way. For me, it’s about sending that elevator back down for the rest of the community to get to where we are.

If you apply this twist, what do these three words mean for you?

  • Cut means to be more focused on how I engage with you. With less clutter and more clarity, I can listen more, react more, and engage more authentically.
  • Evolve means that what I share will be higher quality. The more I grow, the more effective what I share will become. It’s better to learn a few things from a wise person than many mediocre things from a fool.
  • Give means that to provide value, I need to listen and address your specific needs. This will likely work in tandem with the other words; if and when they succeed will serve to accelerate the success of this one.

What forms these words will take won’t be clear until the year progresses, but cut, evolve, and give will be my mantra and my mandate to serve you better, to help you more, to find ways to give you value. Thank you for being here, and let’s work together to make the new year our best year ever. Believe it!


A sneak peak at the book I am working on in 2019. And the writing begins…