Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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My Word for 2017

vertical-logo-w-taglinelargeThis year’s word was easy, peasy! I saw it coming from miles—actually, months—away, and I’ve been very excited to share it with you. But it took way more prep work than usual.

The word, you ask? SIGNIFY.

And that is because it’s my new business name! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may remember that I left my full-time job last May to start my own company. Now, I serve cause-focused organizations through writing, consulting and strategy. I want to help these purpose-driven companies improve their marketing and business communications so they can focus and shine. And I especially love helping small businesses get noticed and grow. You can read more about the background of my business here.

Since I’ve been practicing a word for the year tradition for a number of years, I used the same criteria to choose my business name: I like single words with multiple meanings in the form of a verb. It took me several months to figure out my organization’s name, but I’m very happy with it. And the website just launched yesterday, which is the prep work I mentioned. It’s been quite the adventure so far, and I’m sure that will continue!

So, basically, even though I had this business the latter half of 2016, this means that 2017 will be focused on getting this business off the ground and running. I have been very blessed to have spent the first seven months working for friends, and that sustained me. But I knew that wasn’t realistic for the long-haul, so that meant building a website and all the bells and whistles that came with it.

My verse for the year is one I hold very near to my heart. It’s one that continues to inspire me, has influenced my business, and especially seems like a good motto to live by these days.

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

There you go! That’s it. My word for the year. As always, I can’t wait to see what the year has in store, and how I’ll view it through the lens of SIGNIFY.

You can read about last year’s word, RENEW, right here, if you’d like.

Did you choose a word for 2017? If so, I’d love to hear it!

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If you’re new to this whole word for the year thing, it is basically a way to take a proactive stance to the year. Instead of just arriving in December and taking stock of what happened, having a word of the year is a way to be proactive. We all have goals, wishes and hopes for our year, and sometimes those happen, and sometimes life gets in the way. Having a word for the year helps me to be intentional with my days and my time, and sometimes it also helps me make decisions that help to define outcomes. It’s a practice that some of my friends and I have done for probably almost 10 years now, and it is always a highlight of my year, especially when we’re able to discuss them together.

If you haven’t done this before, and want a little more guidance, here are a couple of resources to help you out:

One Word That Will Change Your Life

My One Word

Wishing you a joyful and productive 2017!

 

(Amazon links are affiliate links.)


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My Word for 2015

466850191Well, 2015 is officially underway! Can you believe it! I work in event marketing, so we’re always a year ahead on the calendar. But nevertheless, when said year shows up on my doorstep, it still seems pretty surreal.

The New Year means a lot of things to a lot of people: new goals, new diet, new budget, etc. For me, one thing is always consistent. It means a new “word for the year” or theme. I love everything “new” (and a theme) so it’s always an exciting time for me to choose my new word. I usually start thinking about it sometime in November.

My word for the year is a very cherished tradition. My friend Daron had the idea to take a word and use it as a lens to view your year. Post where you can see it regularly, and it helps guide you navigate each day. This way you can look at a year proactively, instead of coming to the end of the year and only reacting to what happened. You engage your year more along the way. So a group of my friends and I have done this for years, sharing our word and accompanying Bible verse, checking in with each other throughout the year to see how it’s going, and then evaluating at the end. It has changed my years!

For 2015, I had an idea in mind, but couldn’t quite figure out how to articulate it. I came up with the word in December, but I had to let it marinate for a while to see if I’d keep it or find something more suitable. But as the end of the year came to an end, it seemed a good fit. And that word is FRAME.

Weird, huh? Yeah, I thought so too. It was out of the ordinary for me. I always try to pick a verb because I like the notion that it keeps me in motion, moving forward. But FRAME allows me both a verb and a noun—a two-for-one kind of word!

The original idea came from the concept of “margin” which I’d loved since my friend Mark retaught an Andy Stanley sermon series on the subject years ago. Create space, or boundaries, around things like time, money and relationships to allow for a buffer when the space is pushed beyond what you’re comfortable with. It’ll help you bounce back, or not make decisions you’ll regret. That’s kind of a lousy explanation, but hopefully you get the gist. So, “margin” became part of my group’s vernacular. It’s something I’ve since striven for, with sometimes good and sometimes not so good results. But I keep trying!

This past year really pushed against my boundaries, though, so I decided to make them a priority for 2015. I could take 30 minutes to explain the theme, and even make gestures to emphasize it with my hands, but until I came up with FRAME I couldn’t really condense it. And who has room for a soliloquy on their bathroom mirror?

FRAME gave me what I needed. And at the same time, in noun form, I think it helps me form a picture of what I want 2015 to be. See what I did there?

So, FRAME it is. And I think it’s a keeper. I’ve already started putting it into practice, and it’s doing it’s job. I’m really looking forward to the year ahead, and time to invest in this word along the way. Even though I don’t know what’s in store, I know it will allow me to give 2015 the perspective it needs.

And speaking of perspective, that leads me to my Scripture. I think this verse sums up how to FRAME my year.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33 (NLT)


 

Typically, I just choose my word through prayer, Scripture, contemplation and conversation, but this year I came across a few resources that were fun to incorporate. I actually had no idea so many people did this same “one word” thing! So, I wanted to list them here for you in case you’re interested in starting this tradition and want a little guidance. The last few are just some great advice for ending one year well and starting the next one strong.

  • One Word That Will Change Your Life – I stumbled across this book when someone posted about their four-day reading plan with the YouVersion Bible on Facebook. Their book only takes about 45 minutes to read, and I suggest it as an accompaniment to the reading plan. The reading plan on its own is a little abrupt to get the full effect, in my opinion.
  • My One Word – This book is about four hours long, and is great if you want more direction, stories and Scripture.
  • Andy Stanley’s Breathing Room series – You can watch or listen via iTunes to this four-part series on finding margin in your life regarding time, money and relationships. He teaches this now and again under different names with a little different emphasis, but I found this one most helpful for where I am right now in life.
  • 9 Actions You Must Take to Reach Your Biggest Goals by Rick Warren – This two part article is exactly what you’d expect from Rick Warren, practical and wise. A good read.
  • Preparing for a Fantastic 2015 – I came across this blog a couple of years ago during my SIMPLIFY theme. This couple sold all their stuff to travel the world. They talked about cutting the clutter to follow their dreams, and well, that was about the only sales pitch I needed to follow them. 😉 I include this post of theirs, however, not because I think everyone should follow their dream, but I really like how they take the time to sit and evaluate their year with a specific process. And of course, as a married couple, I could see the benefit of doing this with a spouse to get on the same page. So, an extra bonus there for you duos.

Hope your 2015 is off to a great start! May you find joy, and a little margin, in it over the next 11 and a half months.


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My 2011 Theme

Coming up with a theme for the year is a tradition my friends and I have done for the last few years. I really look forward to it, the process, and then looking back to see how it unfolded.

So, drum roll, please….

Word:
“Prioritize”

Now, let me explain….
I chose “prioritize” because I tend to get sidetracked pretty easily. Thanks, ADD. I am good at chasing rabbits down holes. So, I want to weed those other things out a bit better and focus. And I wanted a word to reflect both my personal and spiritual needs and goals for the year. The last couple years have been about being obedient and enlightened to this thing I now know as missional community. Everything else was in the background. While this is essentially not a bad thing, you all know I can be a bit of a workaholic, and that usually relates more to ministry than my actual full-time jobs. So, with priorities, I want it to pertain to the missional community but also my overall well-being. I need to be better at Sabbath. And my chiro, counselor and regular doctor have all told me over the course of the last year that I need to treat myself better and make me a priority. So, this is my attempt at that goal. And I chose “prioritize” over “priorities” because I wanted an action word.

Verse:
Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Song:
“I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin

Now, again, let me explain…
Funny enough, as the D’s know, this song was sung at Shannon Oaks on Sunday. It immediately struck me and I was pretty sure this would be it. I asked Chad after the service what the song was and he told me. So, I downloaded it and have been listening to it repeatedly. I feel like it encompasses the “head, heart, hand” aspect of spiritual living which I believe to be so important. And I think it still goes very well with “prioritize” on both levels. I’m really happy with it. After the church service, a woman came up and spoke to the D’s. She, like everyone else, tried to get me to move to SS. Uh, no. After she realized it was a futile attempt, she asked if she could say a blessing over me. Why, of course! Turns out she is the head of their prayer ministry, D told me later. Anyway, after meditating on what she said and the words of the song, they are very similar which I thought was another good sign. Margi and D, please thank Chad and the woman for me.

Give it a listen – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx_04LdPV_Q