Happy 2020! Since 2006, I’ve been recommending that people choose 3 words to guide their actions and choices over the year to come. With over 13 years of experience and more to come, I want to share with you how this works because I want you to choose your own 3 words and share them around. (We use the hashtag #my3words when sharing so that others can find your examples.)
What is My 3 Words About?
The My Three Words idea is simple. Choose 3 words (not 1, not 4) that will help guide your choices and actions day to day. Think of them as lighthouses. “Should I say yes to this project?” “Well, does this align with my three words?”
How to Choose Three Words
I started this process back in 2006. Back then, my 3 words were “Ask. Do. Share.” I picked these very simple words and they served me very well. One of my best years ever. When I asked questions, I learned. When I took action based on what I learned from asking, I made more ground and took over more of the universe. When I shared what I learned with everyone, I made connections and some friends.
Choose any three words you feel will guide you forward. I can tell you a few things about this:
- Don’t make it a phrase. “Publish the book” is a terrible choice. “The” is wasted.
- Try to make the words actionable. “Expand” is better than “bigger.”
- The more utilitarian the word can be, the better. These words have to be your compass.
- Stick with the 3 words all year. Every time I’ve changed one a month or two later, the year mucks up. I can’t explain it. But I can report it.
- Years where I’ve tried “fancy” words with layers of meaning, I lost the thread. Use plain words, maybe.
- BUT the words don’t have to mean anything to anyone but you. Don’t worry about explaining them.
Review Them Daily
The more you review your 3 words, the better. I have mine built into my daily planning guides and action stacks. I try using them for a mantra when I can. Sometimes on walks, I just repeat them over and over. I like to reflect on them and meditate a little with those words in mind.
Past Iterations of My 3 Words
2006 – Ask. Do. Share
2007 – Seek. Frame. Build. Bridge (yes, that was 4. It also was a less successful year.)
2008 – Believe. Loops.Farm
2009 – Equip. Armies. Needles
2010 – Ecosystems. Owners. Kings
2011 – Reinvest. Package. Flow
2012 – Temple. Untangle. Practice
2013 – Walt. Ender. Monchu
2014 – Lifestyle. Monchu. Black.
2015 – Plan. Leverage. Fabric.
2016 – Home. Shine. Win.
2017 – Move.Voice.Game
2018 – Ritual. Execute. Value
2019 – Station. Stacks. Movement.
And My 3 Words for 2020 Are:
Push – This one is so simple. Every day, push. Do something. Move forward. Push. Bring your efforts forward a notch. Even if it’s a little notch, do it. Contact some prospects. Swing the kettlebells. Make media. Push. I’ve got a good feeling about this word.
Structurequence – Yes. I made this word up. Yes, it’s cheating (kinda). Structure and sequence. The point is that structure doesn’t mean much without sequence. They go together. When I build structures for companies or myself, I need to bake the sequence into everything I create. Structure and sequence had a baby and this is it.
Package – I will do a much better job showing the labeling, the edges, the decoration, and the careful consideration of what I’m creating. This reminds me not to be so much an improv guy and instead be a polished guy. It tells me to put the extra effort in and wear the button down instead of the tee shirt. This one has been a long time coming.
Your Turn. What are YOUR 3 Words for 2020?
This process is a million times more fun if you share your 3 words as well. If you have a blog, I recommend writing a post and sharing it. If not, it’s okay. Just tweet or post on Facebook or whatever makes you cheery. Use the hashtag #my3words so that others (like me) can find what you’ve got to share. I love hearing people’s three words every year. It’s truly one of the best parts of every year for me.
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