I recently participated in a word of the year reflective webinar with Anna C. Seidel an expat coach from @global_mobility_trainer (Instagram) that was really quite insightful.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I saw that someone else I follow on Instagram, Vanessa Paisley, an English trainer and intercultural coach at Paisley Communication was joining in for the second year in a row so I thought I’d give it a go too.
Anna walked all of us participating through a step-by-step reflective practice to help us determine our word.
I had no idea at the start what my word would be. After about 25 minutes, I thought I had it. However, by the end of the hour, I had chosen a completely different word: deliberate.
Deliberate is an adjective that means to do something consciously and intentionally or carefully and unhurried.
Common synonyms include intentional, careful, cautiously, measured, and purposefully.
I realized during this guided training that all the internal and external work that I’ve been doing, especially during the pandemic, has been leading me toward being more deliberate with my time, energy, attention, and intentions.
Life during the pandemic has been one push-pull for me in general. I’m thankful for the ability to work from home, but because I use a screen for work, staring at it for hours on end has really deteriorated my ability to pay attention. I am thankful for more free time in some areas of my life but have been far too often upset with myself for not using that time better, say with my family.
What is the point here?
What even is the point of an exercise like this? According to people who do this exercise annually, it should help bring increased clarity and focus to who we want to become as well as what we want to accomplish.
A few years back I read “Drop the Ball” by Tiffany Dufu (I highly recommend it by the way) and one of her personal and professional goals is to help advance women and girls. As she explains in her book, she looks at all of her professional decisions in that light, “Does this allow me to help advance women and girls?” She will flat out say no if the activity does not. On a smaller scale, this is the exact action your word of the year should help you with, advancing your goals, whether they are short or long term.
What areas of my life do I hope this word impacts? That’s a good question that I am not wholly prepared to answer other than to say, all of it.
Having decreased attention means I haven’t been as astute as I think I am in non-pandemic times. There are fewer distinct blocks of time devoted to work, commuting, family, etc., which has really cut into my decompression/ mental preparation time between these blocks.
In December 2022, I hope to look back and celebrate having been more deliberate in my actions and behavior. At the moment this means having more meaningful conversations and time in general spent with friends (and maybe family, if we’re able to see them in person again sooner than later). Professionally, this equates to developing my business craft with intention. In 2021, my goal was to figure out a more definite direction after achieving goals I had long put on the back burner. In 2022, I hope to develop that direction with greater intention and focus.
Additionally, this also means to cut the mindless scrolling or swiping down, way down. In the last few months, this has only increased. I am not happy when Apple sends me my personalized ‘weekly report’ to tell me how much screen time I have abused across my devices. When I stop to think and compare how I felt in January 2021 and how I feel now, it is markedly different. Last year at this time I felt so alive and energized with direction, even if I really didn’t know where I was ultimately going. This year, I feel rather overwhelmed at the sheer tasks at hand presently in front of me. I hope this will subside in the coming weeks, however. The nature of my work is tidal, it is nothing new. I have not yet hit on what in my life is creating this feeling. Year three of the pandemic, maybe – but I doubt that is it entirely.
Choosing your own word of the year
To help you choose your own word, you could follow these five steps:
- Reflect… (on the previous year and the year ahead)
– What did you do that you want to do less of?
– What would you like to do more of that brings you happiness or joy?
– What is something new you want to try?
– What characteristics would you like to inhabit?
– Which characterists would you like to change?
– How do you want to feel?
Try to visualize your perfect day. The whole day, from moring routine to the time you are getting into bed to sleep. Focus on the feeling first, then what is happening in it. Are you at work or somewhere else?
- Create a list
Spend about ten minutes just writing down words that come into your mind. Do not edit them.
Look at the list you’ve created. What two or three words stand out to you and why? Circle those words. Throughout the rest of your day, play with those words in your mind. Which one is your favorite? Go with your gut.
- Ask yourself one final question…
After thinking about your potential words, which one could you really commit too? For example, if your word was fulfillment would you want to commit to asking yourself in the future: “Does this activity or action bring me fulfillment?”
– Yes, this is a loaded question that sometimes you are likely to answer no too, but that is the point. Unloading the dryer might not lead to fulfillment, but seeing your child in their sport uniform dominating during their competition probably does and having the correct, clean uniform is a part of that. On the other hand, if doing the laundry takes you away from your goals, perhaps you should see if it is possible for you to outsource it to another family member (for free) or to an establishment (for a fee).
Now, if this is something you are interested in and would like to actually work with a coach to help you determine your word, you could contact Anna at Global Mobility Trainer.
What about you?
Have you chosen a ‘word of the year’ to help guide your year before? What do you think of it? Do you find it helpful?
If you’ve never chosen a word of the year, why not? Would you be willing to try it? Let me know in the comments below.
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