Three Words For 2013

A new year has arrived and that means it’s time yet again to choose three words to help guide my efforts in the coming year. Over the years, these words have served as a gut check for the overall vision of my life as well as the goals, projects and actions I undertake.

Last year, I went with Build, Connect and Deepen. So how’d I do? Well, I’d say good, but not great and Build was certainly the weakest. I made things happen this year, but I’ve spread myself thin. I planted a lot of seeds, did a lot of work, but don’t particularly feel like I’m walking away from 2012 having created something that I consider to be tangible. As you’ll see, this drives a lot of my decisions for this year’s words. As for Connect and Deepen, I feel I did far better on this front. I feel fortunate to have developed several of the relationships I did this year. I feel more invested in those I surround myself with, both personally and professionally.

Make – Much like “Build” was an evolution of 2011’s word “Focus,” I’m looking to (forgive me for even writing this) build on “Build” in 2013. Much as I’m happy with the work I put in this year, I’m not thrilled with the output. In 2011, I built up my foundation. In 2012, I put in the work. In 2013, I want to walk away feeling like I made something that I’m proud of. I love this site, I love the podcast work I’m doing, but I’m yet to figure out exactly what it is I’m looking to do here. Which brings me to my next word…

Align – I’ve talked before about the great dichotomy between my work and my web life. I need to start making that dichotomy a little less “great.” As I said, I’ve spread myself thin. I don’t feel like I’m lacking in effort, but I do feel that much of that effort is misaligned. I need to point more of myself in the same direction. How do I plan to make a blog about self-improvement and productivity jive with a marketing and operations job in jewelry? I have no idea whatsoever, but hopefully I will by the end of 2013. I don’t feel like I’m ready to give anything up (especially the family, I’ve grown rather attached to them, even the adorably loud tiny creatures), but I also know that I can’t keep putting this kind of strain on my family, my career and myself.

Deliver – I’m great at starting. It’s a gift. I have no lack of ability for getting passionate about an idea and taking steps towards making it happen. I can visualize a successful outcome, develop a reasonable plan for achieving it, I can even achieve many of the small and medium sized projects, but if I’m being brutally honest with myself, I tend to lack when it comes to delivering on bigger, harder and longer goals. The clock is officially ticking on 2013 and I’ve set some serious deliverables for myself. It’s time to get through the dip and actually make big things happen.

As I said last year:

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.

Having gone through the process three times already, I stand by this. We GTD-loving folks talk a lot about the goals, the projects and the next actions, but these words strike at the heart of the terrifying part, the vision you have for your life. I’ve failed time and time again at resolutions and even when I succeed, it’s rare those resolutions make a serious impact on my life. These words have been different. I always manage to make progress (in spite of any/many shortcomings) on my words. They always lead me somewhere a little better than the year before and this year will be no exception. These are some big scary words for me, but I think/hope/pray/wish/believe that I’m ready for a big and scary year.

Here’s to a great 2013 and thanks as always to Chris Brogan for introducing the concept.

  • Mike Wilson

    Thanks for the great thought provoking post

    • http://michaelschechter.me/ MSchechter

      Glad you enjoyed it! Happy New Year!

  • http://frankdickinson.me/ Frank Dickinson

    Hey bud! What a great post. I had just finished reading Brogan’s 3 words and up popped your email notification. I just posted on Twitter and Facebook that I am still working on envisioning 2013 for myself. I’ll let you know what I come up with :-0

    Happy New Year!

    • http://michaelschechter.me/ MSchechter

      Thanks for checking in and for the kind words. Looking forward to seeing what you “look like” in 2013!

  • Tony Green

    Hi Mike. I’m taking this post as an opportunity to say thanks for some great work in 2012 – I have really enjoyed reading your stuff, and much of it has inspired me, made me chuckle, made me think, and perhaps even more importantly, made me do stuff. Yours is one of the few blogs that I subscribe to and look forward to reading. Love the podcasts too by the way, especially the new Mike Techniques :)

    Keep up the great work, and hope our paths cross in 2013, and that it is good for you and the family.

    • http://michaelschechter.me/ MSchechter

      Thanks Tony, that really means the world. I just keep trying to share what’s working for me and I’m really glad some of it has worked for you. Have lots of fun stuff planned for 2013, so hope to keep proving to be worth your time. Hope we cross paths as well!

  • Zach Harper

    As always, excellent post. I know your a GTD kind of guy, but this idea is basically a feature of Agile Results. With AR, you set your goals in 3s for the year, Month, week, and day. If you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend looking into this productivity ideology.

    http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Results-Agile-Way-Personal/dp/0984548203

    • http://michaelschechter.me/ MSchechter

      I’ve heard great things about it. Probably is about time I check out the book!