My three words for 2015

Three Degrees by Steve Maskell

It’s that time of year again for New Year resolutions and promises. However, instead of resolutions, I will instead continue to follow the ‘My 3 Words’ tradition that Chris Brogan has been championing since 2006.

The idea of ‘My 3 Words’ is to list three positive, meaningful and inspiring words that can be used to guide you and your actions over the course of the year ahead. As Chris Brogan himself explains:

“I created the “My 3 Words” exercise because most resolutions aren’t especially helpful. We decide something vague like “I’ve gotta get in shape” or “I’ve gotta quit smoking” or “I need to make more money” but while these are all great goals, they’re not really useful as ways to guide our activities throughout the year.”

Before outlining my three words for 2015, I think it’s worth briefly reviewing my three words for 2014 and asess how I got on:

Network

In terms of building bonds and connections with new professional acquaintances outside of my normal working environment, I don’t feel I did enough to really build and grow my network. This is something I’ll definitely need to review again in 2015 with an aim to improve.

However, within my place of work I feel I have made genuine progress networking with different people all across the organisation, allowing me to raise my profile and inspire confidence in me as a subject matter expert.

Exercise

As I explained last year, ‘exercise’ isn’t just about physical work – it’s also about exercising your mental muscles and developing spiritually and intellectually.

In 2014 I increased the amount I read and the subjects I was reading about in order to expand my mind and horizons. Through audiobooks, I’ve been able to learn on the go whilst at the same time reading physical books, blog posts and articles.

In terms of physical exercise, I made a conscious effort to improve my work-rate from around May onwards, and as a result I’ve lost nearly 10 kg (around 1 1/2 stone) in nearly seven months. Whilst weight-loss wasn’t my main goal (I try to take an intrinsic attitude to exercise, i.e. exercise should primarily be about improving health and well-being) the loss of weight gave me an indication of the progress I’ve made.

Relax

I still think there’s some work to do here. I often find it hard to ‘switch off’ and take stock of the achievements I’ve made which can consequently impact productivity and increase anxiety.

Nevertheless, with the help of a few very nice holidays and a conscious effort to take time away from work on weekends and weeknights, I have been able to take a step back to reflect on what I’ve done and to think about/ learn something new, which I believe has enabled me to come back to my work feeling fresher and more enthusiastic.

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I will continue to think about my three words from 2014, as well as those from previous years. However, for this year, it’s important to set three new words to guide me in 2015:

Meaning

Within the hustle and bustle of our daily work, it’s often easy to get lost in the detail of what we’re working on. Whether it’s the code, meta data and user journeys involved in digital marketing, or the follow-up calls and lead-generation needed for success in sales.

But whilst it’s important to maintain technical skills and expertise, it could be argued it’s even more important to be aware of the ‘bigger picture’. What are we at work for? How does what we do impact other people’s lives? I’ve talked before about why I work and my goal to ‘add value’ and to leave an impact on the world. To succeed at this, I need to continually think about the meaning behind what I do and how I can produce truly meaningful work.

Reflect

In many ways, this is somewhat related to ‘relax’, one of my three words from 2014. One can easily get caught up in life’s daily challenges and tasks and forget (or miss) the successes over the weeks, months and years.

In 2015 I want to consciously take quality time to look back and reflect on a regular basis. This will not only give me an opportunity to appreciate the good work I’ve done, but also allow me to constructively look at where improvements can be made so I can continually improve.

Transform

I think 2015 will be a big year for change, both personally and professionally, and in order to succeed I will need to adapt and transform, mentally and psychologically.

Change is constant and is something we all need to come to terms with. Whilst change can often be negative, it can often be positive, too. And change in any form can provide as many opportunities as threats. In order to meet my goals and live the life I want, I will need to transform and grow with change rather than fight against it.