My three words for 2017

It’s been fascinating to look back on 2016. Many commentators would have us believe it was a bad year, what with so many celebrity deaths, political upheaval and widespread terrorism. However as rocky as it was at times, I also believe 2016 had a lot of positives, too. The Rio Olympics was a great success (particularly for Team GB!), the world of science experienced new breakthroughs and on a personal note I started a new job!

So as I look forward to the new year ahead I’ve once again thought about three words that will shape and guide my journey throughout 2017. Inspired by Chris Brogan, I always find this annual practice to be a challenging but fun exercise in really making me think about where my priorities and focus should be in my professional and personal life.

Before I outline my three words for 2017, it’s worth reviewing my three words for 2016 and how I got on:

Prioritise

I still struggle with the more limited amount of time in my life since I became a father. Juggling parenthood with a full-time job can be difficult at times but as I expected it’s forced me to be much more disciplined with how I spend my time.

Instead of watching too much TV or reading ‘light-weight’ articles or blog posts, I’ve focused on reading more long-form content from experts, books I hope will expand my mind and quality TV that is really worth it (although there’s nothing wrong with the odd bit of light-entertainment!).

Learn

Gaining more knowledge and a better understanding of the world is a never-ending process but something I enjoy tackling. I wanted to challenge myself in 2016 to build on my core skills and educate myself on new topics and areas of interest.

Starting work at PepsiCo has thrown me into the world of FMCG which has forced me to learn about the industry very quickly whilst working with some of the best minds in the business. On top of this I’ve continued to read about subjects beyond the world of marketing, including psychology, statistics and entrepreneurship, as well as start my first fiction book since summer 2014!

Patience

Last year I talked about having the patience to wait for the career decisions I’ve made over the years to pay off. Whilst at times I doubted myself, I always had the confidence that I’ve made decisions for the right reasons – to gain critical expertise, work with new and interesting companies and learn from different people.

Starting at PepsiCo was something I wouldn’t have imagined possible a few years ago. However I always felt I had the knowledge, drive and skills to make it and I now have an amazing opportunity to test my mettle in a very faced-paced industry with an organisation that is constantly challenging its employees to go one step further and better than the competition.

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My three words for 2016 are still relevant and I will refer back to them over the year. However it’s right that I select three new words for 2017 to help me focus on what matters most for the year ahead:

Act

I’m someone who naturally likes to stop, think and reflect. I enjoy learning new things, processing information and finding ways to implement this in the right way. I can’t change who I am however I recognise that I do have to adapt and learn to act when it matters.

Sometimes there isn’t the time to ruminate and thrash – a decision needs to be made to get the ball rolling and start making progress. Whilst I believe that hastiness is not an option, I do believe that a balance between weighing up the options and making a decision in good time is right in order to take advantage of new opportunities. As Facebook say: “Done is better than perfect”!

Innovate

The world is a noisy place and attention is at a premium. The only way to make an impact is to stand out and find new ways to get your message heard, otherwise you’ll be lost amongst the clutter (email, social media, TV etc.).

Finding a new way to be heard isn’t easy but it involves experimenting and looking for innovations. This is something I’d like to practice professionally, both with my colleagues (e.g. to demonstrate and educate them on the value of digital marketing) and in the work I do (e.g. innovative campaigns to build the brand). However I’d also like to innovate outside work, for example with my blog, fitness and personal education. What can I do differently to stand out, drive change and add value?

Challenge

In order to develop myself personally and professionally I need to challenge myself to go further. I don’t mean working more hours, exercising excessively or putting myself under undue stress. Building on Prioritise from 2016 and Innovate for 2017, Challenge is about choosing the right projects and priorities to really make them count.

I’d like to challenge myself to inspire people to think about their work in new ways, to put the things I learn into practice and to make meaningful changes inside and outside of work. I’d also like to challenge myself to learn something new but also to stop and reflect on my achievements instead of getting too bogged down in the nearest and next priority.