2021 Word of the Year

Last year I wrote an article about choosing my word for 2020. Some friends and colleagues had lovely contributions about how they choose or how the word chooses them.

My word for 2020 was ‘Ease’… chosen in January 2020, way before I knew what “the year of the pandemic” was going to hold for us.

I must admit that as the world changed in front of my eyes – fast and in unimaginable ways – my word disappeared into the background.

Waaayyyyyy into the background.

I saw it on my pinboard almost every day but it became part of the furniture… and as you know, we don’t notice the usual furniture anymore.

I regret not being more intentional or playful with my word during (what I consider to be) globally one of the hardest years in my lifetime. And hey, I have another chance this year!

Learnings

What I do with difficult experiences is to look back at them, process the hard stuff (with EFT, or a similar method like TAT or Sedona Method), which makes learning possible… and then I do my best to take the learning and implement something useful for a new experience.

Two learnings I noticed from my 2020 Word:

  • Be more intentional with my word
  • If circumstances oppose my word, that’s exactly when I could play with it (with the emphasis on play and being curious)

What’s my word for 2021?

I’ve been toying with it for a few weeks since a commenter on last year’s post asked me whether I’ve decided on my word yet. Nothing stood out. And then it hit me….

I love to finish things, but I don’t love to start. I’m a slow action taker. I like to think and think, and give it some more thought…. And then think some more, before I take action. In true introvert style. Given my ‘Activator’ talent on CliftonStrengths is stone last in the list of 34, it’s much more natural for me to think and feel, rather than act.

That’s not a bad thing! In fact, I teach my clients that our strengths are to be celebrated and embraced. And it IS harder to change the things at the bottom end of our strengths list.

And yet…. my reluctance to take action, start things, get going, do something as soon as I get an idea, has often had a negative and stressful impact for me.

I postpone things until it’s almost too late to take action… at great cost sometimes. It can lead to anxiety, stress, and things not going so well because I didn’t give myself enough time. I’m ready to experiment with something different this year!

So my word?

START.

And if I may add another word, it would be ‘simply’. Start simply.

It has 2 meanings for me:

  • I intend to start sooner on the important things, without the perfection, without knowing the full path. My default thought seems to be ‘I’ll do it later’ because I need to figure out how to do it ‘right’ …. And it can turn into forgetting, more procrastination, never doing it… and regretting it.
  • It’s also an acronym for:
    Schedule The Actions Required Today.

Getting a small action written into my calendar might help me in so many ways.

I have a tendency to overcommit because I want to do everything and help everyone … and scheduling actions into my calendar will remind me what I’ve already committed to. It’ll help me be more realistic with what my human 24 hours a day will allow me.

I notice it feels like I’ve already embraced the importance of this word.

There’s a big ‘why’ for me in choosing this word. If I look at my CliftonStrengths, ‘Belief’ is one of my executing strengths (which helps me to take action, tadaaa!). Belief needs to know ‘why’ I’m going to do things.

I’ve just written down some big reasons – and it’ll be helpful for me to come back to this post from time to time!

Intentional

I learned last year I’d need to be more intentional with my word, so I don’t forget it in the hard times. Here are some things I plan to help me:

  • Have it pinned on my corkboard
  • Every month, write/draw it on a fresh piece of paper, in different colours, and pin it in a different place
  • Make a monthly recurring calendar entry to remind me of the above (already done)
  • Ask my support group for ideas when I feel stuck on starting something (we meet weekly)
  • Write a 6 and 12 months-on post to report on progress (and I have already made calendar entries for those to remind me!)

Hello, 2021… let’s see how “start” can surprise me this year!

(Thank you to Rebecca Herder in my group for Introverts, for this lovely thought).

I’d love to hear about your word for 2021, and how it chose you.

Please comment below, and let’s have a conversation.

How do you remind yourself to use your word?

Liesel Teversham
Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.

She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.

Click here to read about the book.

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