Since 2006, I’ve been using a different method for planning my year than resolutions. I always felt that resolutions were a little too push and not enough pull, and I wanted something a bit more compelling to pull me towards the future. Basically, I come up with 3 or so keywords that tie to goals and work from that.
In 2006, my three words were “Ask. Do. Share.” Everything I did, I tried to filter through the mindset of asking people for help, or asking if I could help them. Doing seems self-explanatory. Sharing was making sure that I shared opportunities with others, that I shared my learning with you, and that I kept myself open to sharing the possibilities.
In 2007, I blogged about seek, frame, build, bridge. I’ll admit that it wasn’t as easy to keep that in mind all year long. I still worked towards it, and it still made a difference.
In 2008, I blogged about my three goals being “believe, loops, and farms.” Those are a bit more abstract, but they actually did help me through 2008.
Set Three Words as Goals for 2009
If you want to try the process, it works something like this: think of how you want to be successful in 2009. Then, try to think in even broader terms. Extrapolate on the broader terms, and find one word to hang the idea on.
Meaning, don’t think as much “I want to lose 50 pounds and get back into my high school pants.” Try thinking “Fitness means I’ll be able to cover more ground.” From there, you can say “ground” might be your word. And then, when you look at that as a word, you see how it can open you up to even more meanings. “Ground” can remind you to get fit so you can cover more ground. It can mean to be “grounded,” like someone who feels calm and at rest.
Look for three words that will help you frame your challenges and opportunities for 2009. Don’t think about where you are this exact moment. If you’re without a job, setting a goal in 09 to get a job might not be very useful. Once you’ve got the job, then what? Instead, you could think about setting the goal of “Alignment,” where you ask yourself, “does this fit with everything else I intend for myself in this year?”
Try setting your three words far out on the horizon, but such that they can lead you to your goals every day. Meaning, can you use the same word to get you started, but have it still be relevant when you’re almost at the big goal?
My 3 Goals for 2009
Here are my three words for 2009:
Equip . Armies . Needles .
Taken out of context, those all look terribly wrong. But I know what they mean. I’ll share with you.
Equip – Equip and educate people to solve their business communications challenges in 2009. It’s what we’re using for a theme for New Marketing Labs, from our events to our social media agency practice, that’s the goal: give people the tools and skills to tackle everything from online marketing to internal collaboration. My goal here is to equip you to do what you wish with the information I share.
Armies – I’ve learned a lot over the last few years and I shared as much as I could. That’s great, but if I don’t start building armies of people who can execute and do similar things, then I’m still just one guy, and the scale isn’t all that useful. I’ve started off the year by hiring Justin Levy as my General Manager at New Marketing Labs. His role is to build armies of people who can execute social media in some way (blogging, community management, listening management, blogger outreach, etc). At the same time, everything I learn and share in 2009, I’m going to try and teach even better, so that I can equip more people to execute. That’s why we built New Marketing Bootcamps.
Needles – Simply, the work I do in 2009 is not about theory; it’s about moving needles. I mean to say, when we work with people, it’s not “gee whiz, the Internet is cool.” We’re working on “reduce customer service escalations by X%, improve lead funnel by X%, improve engagement stats by X%.” It’s all about needles in 2009 for me. If I’m going to work on something (at least with clients, not so much for just my pure research), it’s going to be about moving a needle for them at some point. Why? Because social media for businesses feels like a lot of talk, if we don’t show a concrete change for it.
Share Your Three Words
If you come up with a set of three words to frame your 2009 goals around, please feel free to share them. I bet your ideas will inspire others, and I know that I’d love to see what you’ve got in mind. Oh, and because my goals are to equip and build armies, please share the concept liberally. I’d love for your communities to learn this from you, and for them to find the same results I’ve had for the last several years since working in this mindset.
So, what are your three words?
Photo credit Hokkey