The Power of One Word


As 2018 dawned, I spent a leisurely morning scrolling through the kinds of fun and lengthy Facebook posts I often skip. Happily, I landed on an entry from one of my favorite yoga teachers, Colleen Saidman Yee, who said that instead of resolutions (remember my last post?!) she asks her friends, students, and family to choose a word for the upcoming year that will reflect their desires and help shape their intentions and actions. Without missing a beat, the word “Now” came into my head.  I’m going with it!

“Now” is exactly the word I need, well, now.  It embodies so much of how I wish to be in the world, and what I hope to do this year. It encourages presence, action, focus, courage and a sense that I have – and am – enough. No delaying, excusing, frittering away the moment or missing the opportunity. It feels brave and responsible.

Since that morning, I’ve asked each of my clients to choose a word for the year. I’ve told them not to think or process, just to give voice to the first word that comes to them. The results have been incredible. Among my favorites so far are “strong” and “fun.” For each individual, they are perfect, and contain both an aspiration and a reflection of how far they have come in their lives and work.  

Now it’s your turn. What is the first thing that comes to you? What does this say about your desire? Can you commit to making it real in 2018? Who can help you (hint, a coach is great, but so is a loved one, friend or colleague). I’d love to see this put into practice across organizations as well, and can see a scenario where dry performance goals are spiced up with one-word summaries of an overarching theme that captures the essence of where and how we want to be.

Sure, this is a game, but it has important repercussions. When we don’t censor ourselves, some pretty fantastic truths come out. Word!