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The Year of Professionalism – Choose Your Word

Scott Meyer

2016 is the year of professionalism.

Every year, I choose one word that is the summation of all of my goals. Even if I forget my specific goals, this one word keeps me on track.

Here’s how you can choose your word for the year (and why you should).

Create Your Vision for the New Year

Last week, I shared my annual review and the guide to conducting your own annual review. The three step version is: reflect, plan and brand.

Before you choose a word, reflect on the past year. From these lessons, you can create goals and a plan for the upcoming year. From these goals, create a vision for the new year. The vision statement starts with “At the end of 2016…” and highlights what will be achieved in the next 12 months. Finally, summarize this vision in a single word. That is the brand for your year.

Looking at my highs and lows from 2015, I felt that many of the lows were due to stretching myself beyond my limits: time limits, financial limits and skill limits.

In contrast, the things that went well were due to planning, working within my means and prioritizing what matters most.

As I look ahead to 2016, I want to maintain the efforts that I am best at and eliminate those efforts and stressors that don’t add joy to my professoinal and personal life. I tried to imagine what that looks like in practice, keeping in mind the different aspects of my life that I focus on every year (family and friends, business, service, writing, travel, spiritual, health, learning, financial earning/giving/saving).

After some editing, my vision for 2016 looks like this:

At the end of 2016, my business will be one of the top three in the world at what we do. My community involvement will be methodical and supported by a team. My family will support one another as we explore a new home, schedule and opportunities.

Create a vision statement based on your goals. This is a short statement that can, and should, be written and saved for frequent reference. Ultimately, the vision creates the path to a single word.

Choose Your Word for the New Year

It is difficult to summarize myriad goals from different aspects of life into a single word.

Do it anyway.

I am horrible at going back to look at my goals, but I always remember my word. That single word sparks memories of what my goals are and is a quick decision calculus. If the word for the year is consistency, like it was in 2015 for me, I can look at new opportunities and ask myself if they could be done consistently.

This year, my vision statement points to a need to be great, systematic and focused both personally and professionally. The best word that I could come up with to summarize this vision is: professionalism.

Professions focus on their craft. They know how they are going to do a task and exactly why they are doing it. Professionals know when to say no, when to ask for help and what is most important. I don’t know any “professional dads” or “professional husbands,” but in my mind, the people I most admire are mindful in their personal relationships and are reliable when caring for others.

I can improve on this. By the end of 2016, I hope to be truly professional in all aspects of my life.

What is Your Word?

Don’t wait for life to happen to you. Make life what you want it to be.

The best way to create the future is to visualize what you want it to be. Choose your word for 2016. Your word is your visualization of the year to come.

By reflecting on the past, planning for the future and branding the year to come, you have a North Star to guide you to the greatest year yet.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Thank you for reading, sharing and making this work so rewarding for our entire team here at 9 Clouds.

I ask you to keep me on track towards my goal. Feel free to share your word, and we will help you to do the same.

If someone you know needs help and inspiration throughout the year, invite them to subscribe to our blog. We will keep sharing big ideas on business and community here to inspire and challenge you personally and professionally.

Photo: Dan Francis Photography