Three Words

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It's time to think of my three words for 2018.

I picked up this habit from Chris Brogan who writes, "Every year, at the beginning of the year, choose 3 words that have personal meaning to you that you will use as guideposts for your chosen path forward in the coming year. Make the words such that they influence your choice of actions, encourage you to decide in favor of your goals, and guide you towards lasting results that you want to experience throughout the year."

Even though Chris suggests picking three words at the beginning of the year, he picks them earlier and posts them at the beginning of the year.

I've found that for me I do better if I begin the process at the beginning of the year.

Starting New Year's day I think about what three words I want to use in the coming year.

Chris shares strategies for choosing your words. Many of them are based on years that he tried something that didn't work.

I like words better than resolutions - but you can make resolutions too.

You can choose more than three words or use short phrases (I think last year mine were "Make it Yours", "Make it Theirs", "Make it You").

Years ago I taught in the Upward Bound Program at Oberlin College. The original residential director stressed what were then referred to as the seven principles of blackness. You see them now called the seven principles of African Heritage or more commonly the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

When we took our students to an Upward Bound Olympics, they rallied around the cry "Kujichagulia" which means self-determination.

I considered taking three of the principles as my words for this year. They are all good principles to embrace and live by but these three stand out for me.

Ujima is collective work and responsibility. It tells us that we all live in the world together and build our community together. To me it means that we support social programs that help those that need them and we are generous in ways that may not directly benefit us. We look at the problems and challenges around us and realize that they are our problems as well. We spend some part of our time making the world around us better.

Nia is purpose. It has a particular meaning in the seven principles which may not seem to apply to me. It's what gave me pause about choosing these three words as I worried about co-opting something that had specific meaning and diluting it.

Kuumba is creativity. I love that I get to spend so much of my day on creative endeavors - but I need to dig deeper.

I love these principles and try to live "my versions" of them. But those aren't really the idea of three words. I'm not going to come to the end of the year and say, "that's it, I'm done thinking about others."

I think I've got my three words - I'll share my first word tomorrow.