Key words for your 2013

At the end of each year, Kelly and I reflect back on the year and fill in this blank, “This was the year of _______.”   We’ve completed it with all sorts of words – blessing, birth, transition, pain, death (not the most fun year), romance (ok, that was a fun year), growth, and opportunity (2012′s word).  Chris Brogan, one of the leading internet bloggers, looks ahead to each year and crafts three words that will frame his work and perspective.  In 2010 they were ecosystems, owners, and kings.  2011 saw him focus on reinvest, package, and flow.  He picked temple, untangle, and practice in 2012 and for 2013 his three words are Walt, Ender, and Monchu.  

I like Chris’s concept better than resolutions.  These words provide positive prompts forward, not lines in the sand where the moment you break them you feel like a failure and give up. [If you haven’t read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck yet, put it on your 2013 list]  I like Chris’s concept of ecosystems – finding the 3-4 buckets that our work needs to fit in.  That’s helpful for everyone, but especially those who have a multi-faceted schedule each week (yes, like youth workers!).  I’ll talk more about ecosystems later.

So, if you were to pick 3-4 words for you for 2013, what would they be?  What 3-4 ideas do you want to marshal your work around for this year? As you can see by the ones Chris picked for 2013, they can be unique and are usually quite personal.

Here are my four for 2013:

MARGINS – In 2012-2013 I discovered the margins to my work capacity.  I couldn’t do more in my work hours each week and I couldn’t work more hours.  It wasn’t a stressful year, but it was a very full and busy year.  I learned that there are margins to what can be fit into a calendar year and I can’t go past them and be healthy.  MARGINS prompts me two ways – make sure I do what I need to do within the margins and then make sure I make the most of that margin space.  It can’t be squandered.   More on margins later.

CHARACTER – This isn’t the most creative word, but it’s survived the first two weeks of the year as I’ve thought about it.  I want to continue to grow and mature, developing foundational qualities in my life that affect my life and seeing character in action.  CHARACTER means that I’ll be reading more intentionally, working with greater precision, and diving deeper into my relationship with Jesus Christ so that I reflect his love and grace and character in appropriate ways.  More on character later.

ARTISTRY – I can’t draw.  Ask any student that’s seen my in-class illustrations; it’s not pretty.  But I understand the need for illustration and so I continue on.  I want to work on my artistic flare this year, to push into new ways of seeing the world and communicating with others through word and image. I’m excited for the iPad app Paper to help me doodle better and more often. (I am also excited to try a few of these creative apps too)  ARTISTRY means that I will develop my creativity, something I’ll need with three manuscripts on the schedule for the year.  More on artistry later.

FRIENDSHIP – It took the passing of a mentor and friend to remind me (again) of how short life is and how work is secondary to community (though it’s difficult for Americans to live that out).  And I’m “blessed” with the most individualistic of all personalities, an INTJ, so I’m just pedal-to-the-metal working and missing the larger connections.  And I work with the people I like most – at Bethel, at YS, in my various organizations, and at my local church.  FRIENDSHIP means that I’ll spend more time with friends!  Simple, eh?  So, why don’t we do that more then?  Don’t wait for a dear friend to pass away for you to make this happen.  More on friendship later.

Ok, those are mine. What are yours?  What 3-4 words will serve as prompts for you this year?