It’s a habit I picked up from small biz guru Chris Brogan. I’ve found that it’s ridiculously  easy to lose sight of the “big picture” in my life and the direction I am headed when bogged down in all the permutations of the day-to-day. Having three simple, quick-to-remember words keeps me on track and also holds me accountable when I get to the end of the year.

My three words for this closing year (2014) were Focus, Connections, Impact. Here’s how I rate myself:

  1. Focus. Hmm…. It’s been a tough slog in this area, though I feel like I’ve really been focusing (ha!) on this in the last few months. I’m much more confident now about my current trajectory and will continue to strive to maintain my focus and not get sidetracked easily. Of particular interest to you, dear readers, is that is one of my top areas of attention!
  2. Connections. I’m actually quite happy about this word. I feel like I’ve made a lot of really awesome connections this year…better, stronger (and some new!) friendships, along with better business relationships. On the flip side, in a very few cases, I’ve had to let go of unhealthy connections, which always feels painful in the moment but invariably works out the best for all concerned. All in all, a definite win in this area!
  3. Impact. This is admittedly a tough one to measure. In terms of absolute numerical statistics, I could say that I’ve had middling impact this year. But on an individual basis, when I think about all the people I’ve personally been in touch with and the wonderful conversations I’ve had, my impact this year is as great as perhaps it’s ever been. So this is likely a win too, although my intention is to have a broader impact in the coming year as well.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

Which brings us to 2015. What are my three words? I spent a good deal of time carefully thinking about them, and I zeroed in on exactly what I want to be focusing on in the coming year…so much so that I’ve even mapped out an updated life plan based on them. They are:

Express. Publish. Perform.

Let’s break these down, shall we?

  1. Express. This manifests itself in two goals: (a) I want to feel free to express what God’s put in my heart and be me in an honest manner—warts and all—and (b) create safe environments where others feel free to do the same. This touches on the future of our organic church gatherings as well as other meetup/mentoring groups I plan to start in the coming year.
  2. Publish. No surprise here! 2015 is the year I “go pro” with my writing. Besides just what I publish on my own website and elsewhere online, I’m also working on the outline for a non-fiction book as well as a short ebook which will be a free gift for all my newsletter subscribers. I also have some very exciting events in mind to go along with this theme which I will reveal at a later date.
  3. Perform. I’m currently in the throes of working on a brand new live show under my Yarred moniker. With luck, starting middle of next year I will be doing a series of performances around the Northern California area. I also would like finally to release my solo albums on CD, instead of simply having downloads available. As much as it pains me to admit this, a lot of people only buy music when they’re at a live show, and in that case they absolutely need a CD. Especially if it’s hand-signed by the artist!

So there you have it. My three words for the coming year. Maybe you’re thinking wow, this dude is crazy! Yes, I admit it. I like to think big. Nothing worthwhile ever got accomplished by thinking small!

What about your 2015 words?

Now it’s your turn! What three words are you going to choose for 2015? How do you even go about such an exercise? Here’s how I like to approach the problem:

  • Review your long-term goals. This is a good opportunity to revisit what you have remaining on your goals list/bucket list/etc. and your life’s vision statement. If you don’t have long-term goals…well then this isn’t going to help you much! I highly recommend reading Michael Hyatt’s blog where he features many awesome articles and paid courses to assist you in goal setting.
  • Identify your current pain. I’ve found that oftentimes your low-level internal angst is a clear sign of your subconscious trying to tell you something. If you can get clarity on what’s really bugging you, you can begin to map out an appropriate plan for change.
  • Decide your word type. As you try to distill your various goals into the three words, think about the word form you should use. If your main objective is to feel different or grab hold of a tangible outcome, choose a noun that matches that desired state. If you want to accomplish something important on an ongoing basis, choose a verb that matches that desired action. For example, one of my past words (in 2013) was Value, a noun. I wanted to obtain and provide value. But another past word (in 2012) was Innovate, a verb. I wanted to be continuously innovating throughout the year. For this coming year I intentionally ensured all three words are verbs because I am attempting to be very deliberate about my actions in 2015.
  • When in doubt, ask around. You may find yourself waffling between a bunch of words or word phrases and simply can’t bring yourself to choose one over the other. It’s a good idea to bounce your selections off of a trusted friend or colleague. There’s much wisdom in the notion that other people can see traits and qualities in you that you might not even be aware of.

I hope reading this has inspired you to pick your three words for 2015. I would love to hear how you did!

Here’s to a fabulous and successsful new year!