Slow. My word for this year is slow. The people who know me have a similar reaction when I tell them. It’s a raised eyebrow with a hint of a smirk. I am not slow. I am fast, efficient, productive. I get stuff done. But, along with a lot of other people who are ditching traditional New Year’s resolutions and replacing them with One Word, I embraced this practice a few years ago, and it has been transforming my life, one year at a time, one brick at a time, one word at a time.
The first time I heard about One Word, I was in a mid-life funk. Over coffee one December morning, I watched a talk show host do a brief segment on the One Word concept in lieu of traditional resolutions. Intrigued by the idea of picking one word to guide my year, I was hooked.
That first word came easily: True. I settled on it because I wanted to be open to the truth, to speak what is true, to be challenged by truth, and to recognize what is not the truth. Once I made the decision to explore this word, it popped up everywhere I went. It was in the books I read and in the music I listened to. I was constantly asking myself, “Is that true?” I replaced untrue limiting beliefs with new ones. My commitment to deeply understand and intentionally seek truth for that one year grounded me, and helped me move forward with my life.
And this year, I am picking Slow. When the word first came into my mind, I recoiled. I mean, a whole year of slow? Boring. It’s not sexy! And from a business perspective, how can you scale slow? I wracked my brain for a better word – Intentional? Uplevel? But the word kept coming back, Slow. From a deeper place, I knew slow was what I needed and wanted.
I imagined what slow would mean for me – less work. More rest, and more play. So in December, I reduced my client load and changed my schedule so I would be home in the afternoons before my kids got home from school. Slow afternoons are extraordinary. Our afternoons used to be episodes of a rushed, stressed, grumpy, I wonder what’s for dinner, and who needs to go where next sitcom. Slow means rested and ready when the kids get home. Slow is meeting them at the bus with a relaxed presence and smile, walking home together and enjoying a snack. Slowly.
And just like the other word years, my word is finding me. Reading Present over Perfect by Shauna Nequist reinforced my decision, and Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner encouraged me, too. Both authors are speaking right to me and are shaping my experience. I’m on the right track.
My business continues to grow and exciting opportunities have presented themselves already this year. I love the excitement and potential of new opportunities so it is hard for me to say no to anything that lends itself to growth and achievement. But when it starts to feel rushed, demanding, stressful, I’m saying no. Even though they are great opportunities, they don’t all fit with Slow. I have come to realize for this year, my greatest opportunity is Slow. If I chase too many priorities – even with success, I’ll feel like I missed out on the most important one – the opportunity to go slow. To find out the gifts of slow. The lessons in slow. This helps me say no. Not no forever, but no for this year. Because I’m laying another brick in the building of my true purpose and they all fit together perfectly–Truth, Generosity, Connected, and Slow.
Do you have a word? One that will ground you and help you grow in a meaningful way this year? Try it out! Here are some questions to ask as you consider what your word might be.
Why is important to me now?
What would be different if I had more in my life?
How can I be more or incorporate more in my daily routine?
What would be the best part about having more in my life?
Who do I know who embodies , and what can I learn from them?
Here is a link if you want to learn more about One Word or join the One Word community! http://oneword365.com/