My 3 Words for 2016

Three of HeartsLate last year, Chris Brogan challenged me (and everyone else who follows him for advice) to select 3 words to help us define our personal and business goals for 2016.

While I came up with my own 3 words months ago, I’m just getting around to sharing them with you here. The exercise helped me focus on those things most important to me this year, and I return to them from time-to-time when I need guidance on difficult decisions. Done properly, this kind of thought work should help me make decisions all year long.

My 3 words for 2016 are:

  • Family
    For a long time following my divorce, I felt I didn’t deserve to make family a priority in my life. I had ended my marriage and created a physical, and sometimes emotional, distance between myself and my kids. I felt guilty for that and later for the time I spent with my biological kids while my wife waited to fly back to Florida to see her daughters (who live with their dad during the school year.)  #damnedifyoudodamnedifyoudontI can’t afford to think that way anymore. Family in any sense is important. I can create my own personal hell around decisions I could have, should have, would have made differently, or I can appreciate my life as it is and those people who are in it. My wife is important to me. Our kids, mine and hers together, are important. My parents and her parents are important… even our ex-spouses are a part of our extended families.
  • Creativity
    For the last several years, I’ve let my creative muscles atrophy.  I struck out on my own again this year to pursue creative projects, both with clients and on my own. I don’t have to write a book or paint a portrait, but I want to use my mind every day in a way that creates meaning and adds more value to the world than it had upon my waking.
  • Stability
    I have felt financially insecure most of my adult life. A lifelong smart kid, I bought into the outdated idea that good grades and hard work would pay off in the end.That economic promised land failed to keep pace with the student loans I took out to find it, and a bankruptcy following some bad business decisions and the recession of ’09 sealed the deal. I’ve since ridden the roller coaster of emotional scarcity for seven years. That scarcity mindset presented every new opportunity  to me as a potential risk instead of a potential reward. It helped to keep me in a job well past my expiration date and, I believe, ultimately has limited my exposure to life experiences I would have at least enjoyed, if not used to thrive and grow.In this new job/lifestyle I’ve fashioned for myself, I won’t pursue half-baked pipe dreams with reckless abandon; however, I will explore solid opportunities for personal growth and income generation as they present themselves.

Taken together, these 3 words give me a rough map to guide my actions in 2016. I will create stability for myself and my family through the creative potential I commit to unlocking within myself this year.

What goals are you working toward this year?