Three words for 2012

It’s become an annual tradition to partake in Chris Brogan’s concept of choosing three words as a guidepost for the coming year.

Last year, I went with Focus, Target and Real. While they may not have been perfect, they were surprisingly useful. I took a smaller, more tactical approach to self-improvement and feel confident that the work I put out into the world is far more in line with who I am as a person. Could I have done better by them? Sure, but I feel I made forward progress on all three.

I want to continue to develop what I started in 2011, so with this in mind I’m using Build, Connect and Deepen for 2012.

Build – In hindsight, “Focus” was probably the wrong word. While I’ll talk more about this soon, what I really needed was a better foundation, a platform on top of which I can achieve more of my ambitions. While I may not have chosen the word, I took the actions and in 2011, I built the foundation I’ve been lacking for years. In 2012, I’m looking to build a lot more on it. I want to take the skills I developed that apply to just about anything and make something out of them.

Connect – Last year I started focusing my energies on whom I care about. I honed in on my growing family, but I also took a more specific approach to my professional and online connections. Rather than looking for influences to lift me up, I started looking for like-minded colleagues. I was fortunate to improve my relationships with people like Gini Dietrich, Dan Gordon, Todd Chandler and Danny Brown while beginning to spark new friendships with others like Yuvi Zalkow, Mike Vardy, Marcus Sheridan, some amazing Punks and more. This year, I want to figure out the best possible way to connect more and more of the amazing people who are crazy enough to tolerate me.

Deepen – Speaking of focusing those energies, one of the best ROIs, if you will, for 2011 was spending more energy on less people. Rather than a shotgun approach to relationships, I became a bit more of a sniper (but in a good way…). Last year I started focusing my energy on who I care about. Beyond my expanding family, I also took a more specific approach to my online connections. Rather than looking for influencers to lift me up, I started looking for like-minded colleagues to learn from. I want to continue to enhance the relationships I have (while cultivating a few new ones, of course) rather than simply putting things out into the world and hoping they come back in kind.

This may sound silly to some of you; you might feel that time would be far better spent creating specific and tactical goals, but having these three concepts can go a long way toward informing the actions we choose. They act as a great sounding board that we can hold opportunities and actions up to in order to determine if they are worth the time, effort and distraction they will bring into our lives. They help define who we want to be at the end of the year, rather than what we do at the start of it.

This will be my third year choosing my three words and all I can tell you is that taking the exercise seriously has gone a long way toward helping me make better decisions all year long. Along with my annual “One Thing” they help start my year off on the right foot. If you’re one of the many who have failed at your resolutions time and time again (don’t worry, I am too), choosing these three arcs for 2012 may just give you the direction needed to get where you want to go this year.

Thanks, as always, to Chris for introducing the concept and encouraging us to make it our own, year after year.

11 Responses to Three words for 2012

  1. Cool. I’d never heard of this three-word idea… I like it! And I’m not just saying that because my name appears somewhere inside your list :) There’s something simple and clean about just three words. I also like that number: 3. Short enough to keep in mind, but long enough to incorporate a larger vision. OK. Enough meta-analysis. I need to get to work on my three things… 

    • I’ve been doing it for three years now and silly as it might sound, I’ve found them to be helpful. Let me know which three you land on, bonus points if none of them are self-depricating jokes (I say this only because I had to eliminate my first three for this very reason).

  2. In fairness, the “three words” thing originated with the Greeks, and was based around the Calliope approach, where every word could be traced back to three similar words and meanings. Sorry – Greek history nerd. 😉

    Here’s to your Greek goals, mate.

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