How to Find Focus in Extreme Circumstances
“Guess we’ll have to wait and see” has become a running joke at my house.
My wife and I will be discussing something we plan to do in the future. First, one of us will abruptly stop. Then we’ll start laughing, and in unison, recite, “Guess we’ll have to wait and see!”
It’s been one of those years when extreme circumstances put everything in a state of flux and uncertainty.
At least in my part of the world.
First, there was extreme heat. B.C. Heat Wave Shatters Canadian Record
Then extreme wildfires. BC Wildfires 2021
Then extreme flooding. B.C Flooding
If all of the above isn’t enough,-There’s been a spike of existential angst due to a resurgent pandemic. Pandemic Heading into 2022
No wonder many of us feel like we’re muddling through day by day and looking at life in slow motion through a foggy windshield.
We don’t fully understand the impact of what we’re going through right now, but at some point, there’ll be ramifications from kids losing gobs of in-school time and access to peers. Adults are becoming more insular while grappling with the stress of long-term uncertainty. Close-knit families are being torn apart by the fierce vax/anti-vax personal politics of COVID.
I’m happy to report that I’m still standing and in relatively good spirits despite all of the above.
I sincerely hope I’m confident enough to keep on trying and humble enough to keep on learning.
With this brief prologue, I’m once again diving into some of my aspirational hopes, dreams and goals with “my three words” focus exercise for the year ahead.
What Are My 3 Words About?
Well, it’s simple but never easy. My challenge every January is to come up with three words that represent the strategic directions for the year. Two isn’t enough, and four’s too many, so three’s about right.
There’s nothing magic or weird here. It’s just a way to incorporate a small success habit by bringing consistent intent, focus, and clarity to my decisions and actions in 2022
That’s why I’ve been taking the time to thoughtfully select three words that will serve as keys to my year. If you’re unfamiliar with this exercise, business writer and consultant Chris Brogan started this in 2006.
A lot of other folks are doing this. Just check out #my3words.
I spend time reflecting on the past year, what’s worked, what has not. Also, what was unclear and what was missing. But more importantly, I try to understand what I want the coming year to look like.
Sometimes, the words come out of my goals, so I’ll jot down words that capture my attention and accurately reflect my intention.
I usually talk through my goals and my three words with my wife and several close friends.
That’s always helpful.
It shaped my ideas into something more tangible. It also reaffirmed that we’re in this together, and no matter what goals I have or the words I choose, they are meaningless without mutual support.
I try to interact with my three words each day. For example, I’ll jot them at the top of my planner page or on top of my workout calendar. Doing this keeps them front and center, not only pointing me in the direction of my goals but grounding me in the interim work that needs doing to achieve them.
I’ve come to think of my words as three keys that unlock potential in the coming year.
So far, I’ve settled on:
Guide: It’s a noun and a verb that packs some intention into what I do. A guide fits my role as a coach and consultant. My job is to move ahead of my colleagues and clients, survey the landscape, assess risks, recommend paths of action, and communicate a cohesive plan. In my profession, that makes sense. The most famous guides in the real world were also very physically vibrant, so I’m piggy-backing my intention to stay strong and healthy into this word. It has to carry a lot.
Co-Create: This idea is a lot more simple than a guide: what do I intend to co-create with other people in any given situation? For example, when I work with the Executive Leaders and their teams, I survey and test ideas before meetings. When I talk to stakeholders or fellow board directors, I co-create a very different experience. Sometimes, with my grandkids, I get a bit lost in the actual intentions of the moment and just plain have fun, so this relates to me there as well. My job is to co-create scenarios where those around me can grow and thrive.
Demonstrate: This one’s the hardest for me to explain to you because I’m still working on it.
Recently I was helping my granddaughter sell her handmade toques at a Christmas Farmer’s market. When someone looked interested in a particular toque, we’d demonstrate by getting them to hold it, feel it, try it on and then take a phone pic to show them how good it looked. Most of the time, it resulted in a sale. (The kid cleaned up)
I know it’s marketing basics 101, but I’m learning how to scale up and maintain an online marketing presence to showcase and demonstrate my products and services. The enemies to this kind of intention are many: procrastination, fear of rejection, unrealistic negative self-talk, and on and on.
This idea, roughly, is to seek out small marketing wins in everyday opportunities. If I hit a wall or a roadblock, waste NO time, but instead go around, switch tasks, move to the next effort. If something unforeseen happens, shrug it off and find the next win.
This one will be the hardest of all 3, but it’ll make for an exciting year if I pull it off.
Review Them Daily
The more you review your 3 words, the better. I have mine scribbled into my daily planning guides and workout calendar. They help me decide stuff. For example, “Should I say yes to this project?” or “Well, how does this align with my three words?”
What Are your Words for 2022?
It’s your turn:
- Please shoot me a note or share it wherever you like to share.
- Use the hashtag #my3words to find other people’s shared experiences, and if you’re a last-minute person, don’t worry.
- Start when you’re ready.
I look forward to seeing what this next year has in store.
Until next time.
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