Each year on January 1, Chris Brogan states the three words he hopes to define his coming year in business and he encourages readers and friends to do the same. I’ve followed this practice for a few years now and I have to agree it is a much more meaningful thing to do for me than to set New Year’s Resolutions. I hadn’t really put too much thought yet into my three words for 2013, but this morning they were the first thing on my mind as I woke up. They are more spiritual than business oriented this time around.
2012 has been a very tough year for me both emotionally and physically. I managed to keep my personal life where it belongs, at home, and only shared certain events publicly. It all began at the very beginning of 2012 when I had learned my health condition was inoperable and there was no medication to make it go away. I was determined to live life with everything I had in me, not letting chances pass me by. It was a heavy burden to begin the year with, but as much sadness and heartbreak as I had in 2012, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there was just as much wonder and borderline miraculous events to happen as well. My hope for 2013 is that it is filled with goodness and happiness for everyone who has touched my life. Nothing less than that. Here are my three words for 2013 and what they mean to me.
This is a big word and something very hard for me to do. Over the years, a few people have come into my life and they didn’t act decent towards me. There was a small handful of people who used me as a stepping stone to get further in their own lives and once they were finished with what they needed from me, instead of just thanking me and walking away, they did some despicable things. They hurt my spirit, they said unkind things about me to others. I’ll never forget the moment I walked towards a group of women sitting at a table during a big conference to introduce myself to them (we knew each other from social media but had never met in person) and I overheard them talking about me, saying ugly things. I stood right next to them listening and they didn’t even recognize me or know who I was in real life, but kept on blabbing as if they knew me intimately, and events that happened in my life. The were repeating untruths someone else had said about me. We’ll chalk that experience up to life lessons and how some people mistook my kindness for weakness. I did introduce myself once they were finished talking about me, then I walked away and decided I didn’t want anything to do with that community.
Life isn’t a competition and this world is big enough for everyone to be their own authentic self to get where they need to be in life without having to act unkind to others, be it for personal or business gain. That being said, I forgive myself, because I will be the first person to tell anyone I am not perfect. I have made mistakes in my own life, as we all have. I’ve grown, I’ve learned, I’ve cut my losses, and I’ve moved on. Now it’s time for me to forgive myself and accept my faults, my strengths, and to just be me. And my heart just isn’t made for the cutthroat business world. I am too sensitive and choose personal happiness over material wealth.
And while I do forgive, some things can’t ever be forgotten (no matter how hard I try) and I thank those who taught me these lessons because it has helped me to be more wary than I used to be. I’ve also been able to recognize that I should listen to my instinct when it comes to people and not overlook the little nudges that help me determine whether to trust or walk away from situations.
I’ve always had this innate desire to please people, to make them happy, to make them smile. Being kind is an act that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Over the years, as I look back at events and the role I’ve played, I realized that my purpose is to be a catalyst of change for people. Feel free to make fun of my analogy, but it’s almost as if I’m a gardener, planting a seed of change/ideas for some people, and I’m there to nurture and watch it grow in the beginning. But when harvest time comes around, I have to move on to the next garden to plant the seeds needed there. It’s just not meant for me to be there to enjoy the material outcome of this process or even the recognition. And that’s okay with me because in my life, I always seem to have just enough in life to be comfortable. I don’t need anything more than that. And I feel really good when I see something big and amazing grow from a seed I planted. It makes me smile so big inside my heart to see other people’s success, growth, and happiness.
I’ll continue to act with spontaneous kindness as I always have, doing what makes me feel good in helping or assisting others. It might be a few coins in someone’s tip jar, or even realizing when to keep my mouth closed and to not offer my opinion or thoughts so candidly (this is an issue with me). Sometimes, people just need a listening ear, not advice and it can be a kindness to not be so honest sometimes. I really need to work on this.
While a very small number of people I’ve encountered in life weren’t kind to me, there has been an abundance of kindness and goodness directed my way from friends and strangers alike. There can never be enough kindness in the world, so in 2013 I will aim to increase my kindness level towards others.
I used to feel like I sparkled all the time and believed there was nothing but goodness and kindness in the people around me. In 2009 I learned that very hard lesson about greed and it tampered down my sparkle. Since that time I’ve tried to keep that little light glowing and have even tried to build it back up to it’s former glory. It never was the same, to be honest. Then 2012 did a bigger number on me and my sparkle died down to a ember, barely glowing under the ashes. I need to find my sparkle again, and I aim to find it in 2013.
Those are my three words for 2013: Forgive, Kindness, Sparkle. My life is taking a new direction as I continue this journey of life. Events have pushed me in this way and all I can do is enjoy the ride as it sweeps me along to the next place. I can’t control everything, all I can do is enjoy what comes my way and be happy with what is here in my life at this moment.
I’d like to encourage you to choose three words. Write them down somewhere, be it here in the comments, somewhere private, or on your own blog. And in the words of Chris Brogan from his talk at Disney Social Media Moms 2012:
“If you don’t write it down…..It won’t happen.”
2013 is the year I get my sparkle back.
Be sure to visit ChrisBrogan.com on January 1 and leave your 3 words for 2013 and read his wisdom for the coming year.