Setting goals is what January 1st is all about. Over the last few years, I’ve practiced something I call “my 3 words,” where I come up with three words that I use as guidance for how I should conduct my efforts in the year to come. I set goals around these three words. I build deadlines and projects around these words. They don’t have to mean anything to you, but the process might prove interesting to you, especially if you’ve found goal-setting difficult in the past.
My 3 Words: Ecosystems, Owners, Kings
I won’t explain my words in detail, because they relate to me. I’ll share a bit and then, we’ll talk about how you set your own.
Ecosystems – Every project I work on has to fit into an existing ecosystem that I’ve created. I’ve got 4 potential buckets for this: me (as in my personal life), CrossTech Group (the parent organization of my company, New Marketing Labs ), CB.C (chrisbrogan.com and related), and Human Business Works (my as yet-to-be unveiled new project, which is picking up steam). If it doesn’t make sense to what I’ve outlined for goals for each of these projects, I’m not doing in 2010.
Owners – One area I could have improved in 2009 was to help people be owners of their projects. In the ecosystems above, that means that I am not empowering people that I work with in various ways, and I seek to help them feel more ownership of what we’re working on.
Kings – You can thank Marsha Collier for this word, because of advice I received one night at dinner with her. She said that I should “be kingly” with regards to managing criticism, and that essentially meant that I needed to maintain poise and balance and charm and demeanor when dealing with life’s unpleasant moments. I’ve thought of that phrase quite often since, and have evolved it to include my business passions, and so it becomes one of my three guiding words for how I conduct myself and business in 2010.
How You Can Set Your Own Three Words
What will your 3 words be? How do you choose?
Pick three words that help you the way a lighthouse helps a ship in a storm. Give yourself a word that guides you towards a powerful new opportunity, and that keeps you focused on what comes of this year. Use these words as starting points for tangible goals, SMART goals that can be measured and have dates to accomplish tasks by. These words sit above the actual goals, and set your guiding principles in place.
The words I use have larger meaning than the word itself. If I put the word “focus” down, it would be more of a reminder of an action, and not exactly a lighthouse upon which to set my goals. In the past, for instance, in 2006, I used the words “Ask. Do. Share.” They helped me get very successful, but they weren’t entirely large enough to be a flexible planning word. So, what I’m trying to do with the words is come up with something that would take more than a sentence to describe, but that when you think about it, the ideas explode out to fill your head with thoughts of how you might want to conduct yourself.
Side note: the new book Julien and I are working on does this in its title to big effect, so you’ll see this thinking echoed a lot in coming months.
I hope you give this some thought and consider sharing your three words here. It’s been very helpful to my success over the last few years, and I predict it’ll help me navigate the complexities of my upcoming 2010, as well.
Ecosystems. Owners. Kings.