The Quest for the ‘One’ Word
Everyone loves, a good quest, right? This is about the quest for a single word to guide me through the year. Ok, so I know it’s March already, and these type of posts are traditionally published at the beginning of the year (you know, from when you’re meant to implement them), but I’ve been holding on to this for a while, to see how it sits with me. This is only the second year I’ve decided to dedicate a word to – a concept I came across via the very clever Dr Jason Fox – and, despite running it past a couple of people who love it, I haven’t been quite sure that it’s ‘right’. Know what I mean?
Anyway, in the absence of any further inspiration, I’ve decided to ‘run it up the flagpole’ as they say and put it out there. I guess it doesn’t really need to resonate with anyone but me, and, as Jason says, it’s good for your word to be a bit out there and edgy …. but he also points out that it should be something that people will at least relate to, so they can call you to account on how you’re progressing towards your ‘fuzzy beacon” … so I’m sharing with my network to see what you think.
Last year, my word was ‘Detective’. I wanted to embrace qualities like honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, belief, courage, strength, resilience, and vulnerability. But my focus was really about none of those things – and yet all of them together. I wanted to avoid words that were already so over-used they’d become naff and insincere. It also needed to speak to focus, perspective, facts, insight, clarity, and truth. It’s not an elegant word, but for me it captured all that I needed to be last year. I found an image, that depicted the essence of what I was aiming for and I saved it as a background on my phone and desktop as a constant reminder to stay focused and look for the truth in all things.
For 2016, I’ve chosen another archetype to aspire to. My word is ‘Alchemist’. It retains the detective-like qualities of clarity and truth, but for my first year full-time in my own business, it also speaks to the idea of experimentation to see what will create gold for me. I looked up a few definitions, and my favourite defined an alchemist as someone who:
“purifies, matures, and perfects certain objects”.
Says it all, really … As an alchemist, I will remain focussed on achieving this end result, but be open and accepting of all the different paths – or processes – that might lead me there. So, while I don’t want to get distracted and go off making metaphorical copper or zinc, I must allow myself to mix and distil and combine and experiment with things that might seem pretty unlikely at the outset, but that might just deliver the coveted prize. I need to constantly remind myself that there is no ‘right’ way to do things – it’s about what will work for me to achieve the result I am seeking. And I won’t know what will work until I try it.
What do you think? Does it work for you? Will you hold me to account when I see you next? And what about you – do you have a word that helps you to find meaning and navigate your year? Or do you have another ritual? I’d love to hear about it.