My Three Words is an annual tradition started by unapologetically human marketing phenom Chris Brogan. Why three words? It’s way more effective – and easier to remember – than a long list of likely to be forgotten resolutions. It’s also a useful tool in the same flavor as Warren Buffet’s two list approach.
Hey, we also did a podcast version of this. Listen below for the real talk behind our respective word trios for the year and get a few bonus rounds for the trouble:
Last Year’s 3-Words
Human, Anchor, Flow
Balance, Scale, Loop
Drop, Change, Focus
So, how’d we do?
NATE: I made a lot of headway on the ‘human’ side of my life. Even started writing about it exclusively here and Seth and I podcast about it there. Flow is something that I’ve had to tackle more out of necessity than some intrinsic motivation. Shifting out of my shallow work default into a deep work ‘flow’ has been getting easier with reps, but still hasn’t become habit. I lost touch with my why in a huge way earlier this year, but had a strong finish creating some previously impossible(ish) to form habits.
SETH: I think I balanced my life *fairly* well in 2017 – Balance requires a lot of small readjustments over time so it’s an ongoing battle. Same with looping success back into itself. As far as “scale” goes – I’m giving myself a goose egg for 2017, but I am optimistic about the prospects in 2018. All that balancing and looping shouldn’t hurt either.
DAVID: My 3 words were *intentionally* all tied to my habits. Admittedly, I didn’t drop much (I still find myself hitting up the Taco Bell drive through once and a while, though I guess there are worse vices). I was able to achieve a change in my worldly perspective with a trip to Morocco and Spain. This spatial adjustment helped me dial in what I really wanted out of life, and therefore, I’ve shifted my focus to achieve these goals. I’ll take 2 out of 3 for now, and stay after it in 2018.
And now onto our three words – well a straight dozen to be particular – for 2018.
Our Twelve Words for 2018
Structure – A large chunk of my days are unstructured … I’d say 80%. Leaves too much room for ebbing anxiety, low flowing productivity, and on bad days – lazy binges on food and TV. Of course, I’ll need to make a deliberate effort to avoid letting more structure devolving into low-impact busyness.
Fight – the most useful advice I received this year was, “Your fight isn’t Nate vs. <insert villain here>. It’s actually Nate vs. Nate”. Framing my life in this way has helped me dodge the oh-so-dangerous blame game that erodes our goals and motivation.
Scale – Carried over from 2017, I would *still* love to add another member or two to our team to manage and deliver projects with the same level of quality our existing clients know to expect (or higher, why not?) so I can spend more time on long rambling newsletters and whatever else.
Recover – I always thought it was funny that the word “adventure” is just “venture” with a negative pre-fix thrown in. As though by definition an adventure will tax your resources. That said, this word is at least a half cop-out so I will remember to keep an eye on the daily balance of resources that were represented last year by the words “Balance” and “Loop”. Recover wasted time, recover spent energy, and then spend what you have reclaimed doing something awesome. If I’m going to roll with “Duff” as a word for the year, recovery, like breakfast, is not going to be something it is healthy to skip.
Aim – We’re all familiar with the classic, “Ready, Aim, Fire!” but it never fully resonated with me. If we’re talking firearms here, shouldn’t you aim until you’re ready, then fire? Anyway, my point here is to aim for an achievable goal, then when my sights are set, get after it!
Sharpen – No matter what you’re good at, whether it be skiing, fire juggling, or some insane combination of the two, you can always get better. I intend to work on all aspects of myself, the good, the decent, and the downright mediocre. I once read something on a gym wall, “You’re stronger than yesterday”. Makes sense, unless you’ve ever tried to double up on your weekly leg days…That being said, I intend to upgrade every skillset in my arsenal, making sure to have a healthy rotation to achieve overall improvement.
Push – Through I’m no longer 16 and ready to hit the ice and skate ladders until I puke, I’ve recently re-discovered my motivation to go further than “enough”. I’m not using this word strictly in reference to physical activity but in all aspects of my life. The easiest way to identify where I can go further is a heavy dose of self-discipline, easier said than done of course, but I’ve got to start somewhere. In the most disheartening of times, I find that I can sometimes trick myself with the “one more set, one more mile, or one more minute” tactic. After I hit that “one more” marker, I keep the mindset and push onward!
Lead – I need to shift out the “managerial” role into a stronger and more effective “leadership” posture. Vision to execution, instead of task to completion.
Me – Giving gets me into trouble. I’m the classic case of they guy helping everyone else put on their oxygen masks, before I don my own. And it finally bit me in the ass in 2017. I spent nearly two months of the past twelve battling illness. Kind of hard to lead anything when you are bed ridden.
Surge – Mediocrity is enemy number one in my world. True slow and steady usually wins the race. But in a competitor laden landscape, the ability to surge ahead as a team makes you unstoppable.