The Power of One Word
“Instead of creating endless goals and resolutions, choose One Word to be your driving force for the year. No goals. No wish lists. Just One Word. One Word creates clarity, power, passion, and life-change. The simple power of One Word is that it impacts all six dimensions of your life – mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual, and financial. Simply put, One Word sticks. There is a word meant for you and when you find it, live it, and share it, your life will become more rewarding and exciting than ever.”
At the start of the year, we continued an annual tradition with our Someone To Tell It To team of choosing one word to live by for the year. Sure, we set goals. Yes, we plan ahead! Do we vision? Absolutely! Together, we dream of a better world, a better future, and of how we can be a part of making it a reality. But we also intentionally focus our attention on one thing — one driving force, one north star — to guide us for the long year ahead.
The words appeared in our inbox, one after another. It didn’t take long before we noticed a common theme: taking life as it comes, living each day, each moment, to the fullest.
“I spent so much of last year constantly looking ahead. I’d like to be more PRESENT this year, not projecting into the future so much, but resting and living in the moment as it comes.”
“My word is FOCUS — making sure that I spend more time on what’s important, not letting distractions cloud my focus, giving full attention to ONE thing at a time, and less multitasking.”
“I have finally decided on my word for the year and it’s TODAY. Today is enough. I will be content and focused on what is happening today and absorb what is in front of me. And the reason I chose that word isn’t so much that tomorrow isn’t promised. That’s a given. For me it’s because my usual focus is on ‘what’s next?’ And because of that I miss opportunities to connect or I miss details or I dismiss information that I should remember. And I think by reminding myself to pay attention to the present moment, today, that I can better notice new discoveries and joys that I might miss if my mind is always looking for ‘what’s next?’”
“JOY — Joy, not something that is dependent upon my circumstances, but something that is there all the time, a peace, a reassurance, a sense of calm no matter what comes.”
“I had a hard time deciding, but then, as it seems to every year, my word arrived. CLUTTER. A few weeks ago I was driving through a local community, one of the more beautiful communities in Central, Pennsylvania, when a man driving in a van, opened his window and proceeded to throw a bunch of trash on the road. I’ll be honest, his actions frustrated me. But the more I thought about that image, the more I realized that, I, too, am much like that road. I have a lot of clutter in my life, in my head, in my heart; Saying ‘yes’ to everything, not wanting to disappoint people, feelings of anxiety about the future, harsh judgments, resentments, negative thoughts, and the ‘have to’s’ and ‘want to’s’ that keep me from receiving the good things in front of me. Clutter throws me off balance when I let it take over my mind or my emotions.”
To be fair, 2020 made us all feel a bit like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, spinning wildly out of control, ending up in a world we didn’t recognize. Many of us had to, and continue to, pivot (we hope we never have to hear that one again!), like we were dancing to the Macarena, turning, and turning, and turning once more, however uncomfortable, leaving us thinking to ourselves:
“Life will be back to normal when we get a vaccine.”
“As soon as our kids go back to school, life will be settled.”
“Once the political scene shifts, the world will be unified and at peace.”
By no means are we trivializing anything about 2020. Over the past year, we listened to stories of ongoing systemic racism, of unexpected health concerns, of immense sorrow, of political dis-ease, and of lives upended in immeasurable ways — and we continue to do so. But our team at Someone To Tell It To wants to hold this truth to be self-evident: Human beings have an innate need to be heard, and Someone To Tell It To provides a compassionate presence and a listening ear, envisioning a world in which everyone matters, everyone is heard, and loneliness is diminished.
One of our team members shared a story about a neighbor of hers who is transitioning: The time period during which a person begins to live according to their gender identity, rather than the gender they were thought to be at birth. She shared about how her neighbor calls her on the phone almost every day to do nothing more than, “give a homily of her daily life.” She said, “Since being a part of Someone To Tell It To, I’m learning how to be more present, to simply listen, to express genuine interest in the ongoing drama of my neighbor’s life journey.”
In her sharing, we were reminded of one of the tips on our 10 Tips for Listening that we offer to individuals and groups:
Be present and curious rather than thinking of how to respond. Steven Covey is often quoted, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. They’re either speaking or preparing to speak.” Being present means being focused on the other person, curious about them and their story. When you are present and curious, the conversation will be more meaningful for you and your partner.
This principle applies to so much more than simply listening to ‘Someone’s’ story: Being present and curious as each day and each moment comes gives us the opportunity to find more meaning and more satisfaction in what is before us. It helps us to know ourselves more and to know those around us. This year, the common thread throughout our team for their One Word is to simply receive: To receive what has been, to receive what is, and to receive what is yet to come, as it comes. We hope our “Word” inspires you to maximize the moment, the experience, you find yourself in.
If you would like to learn more about The Power of One Word, visit: https://www.onewordchallenge.com/
In addition, leadership expert Jon Gordon will be coming to speak at our Annual Gathering next fall, stay tuned for more details!
Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash