My three words for 2015

The end/beginning of the year is a great time to find people reflecting on their lives and writing about their commitments. This morning, I was grateful to read Bono’s A-Z reflections on 2014. Most of the buzz is about his bike accident and his broken arm. But I was personally struck by his quote from Nietzsche, that “to do something great requires ‘a long obedience in the same direction’.”

This is probably the big lesson for my life right now.

For five years now, I’ve been inspired by Chris Brogan’s “My Three Words” exercise. I haven’t always written about it on this blog, but some years I have. http://robinmsf.blogspot.com/search?q=my+three+words

This year my three words are: True, Sustainable, Brave

I want to be true to my word. More reliable, dependable, consistent. And this means I have to be more honest with myself and others about what I can and can’t do.

And I want to stay true to the vision I have for my life and for the Religious Society of Friends, like carpenters use the word true, like Peggy Senger Morrison’s metaphor of God’s Love as a plumb line.

I have to keep seeking ways to make my life and my work sustainable. Managing my time, my energy, my resources, my happiness, to hold up over the long haul.

Life is not a sprint. Building a family (marriage, kids, aging parents, etc) and homemaking is a long term project. Being a real part of a local meeting is not something I can put off indefinitely. Taking time for health care and mental and physical strength building and stretching are necessary along the way, not just “when this [day, week, month, year, event…] is over.”

My job is not a sprint. Did you know that, at 3 and a half years, this is already the longest I have ever held a single job? And now I’m in the process of making plans for the next five years, not for my departure in the next six months or anything like that. It’s a little scary, and I’ve realized it means I can’t run flat out for the next three years. I’ve been working on this balance for the last eight months or so, but I have a long way to go to figure out how to do the best I can for as long as it takes.

And this word also leads to thinking about the world, and fossil fuels, and social justice, and what is possible in my lifetime and the long-term prospects for life on Earth.

I want to have the courage of my convictions, to lead confidently when that is my responsibility and opportunity, to do scary things when that’s my job (at home or at work), to finish things and say they’re done for better or worse, instead of letting them wobble on. I want to have the courage to admit my mistakes and correct course, and to say no when the opportunity is not right. And I want to encourage other people to be brave, about following their leadings, about telling me the truth, and encouraging others in their turn.

All of these will require the grace of God, and Jesus as an example to follow and as the Consoler, as I move forward, day by day and moment by moment, this year and for as long as I may live.  

So what are your three words for 2015?

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Anonymous MaryBeth Smith said...

Three inspiring words! I also read some of Chris Brogan's piece, and it raised a question: how did you generate these words? Through a writing exercise, a focused meditation, some other process? I'd love to know how you went about narrowing the field to just these three words. There's a lot of power here. Happy New Year!

1/03/2015 10:22 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

If you read some of Chris Brogan's earlier 3 words posts, he talks more about how to choose.

This year, I started after Thanksgiving to think about what do I want to do better at in the coming year. And then to look for one word that captures that whole sentence or paragraph for me personally.

I look for simple words that could have more than one meaning or interpretation, and see if all of the meanings fit. That helps me choose.

And since I've been doing this for five years, I've gotten faster at this exercise.

1/03/2015 10:52 AM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Last year, my words were Long, Grind, Encourage. I didn't manage to write a whole blogpost explaining them, but I thought about them all year long.

1/03/2015 10:54 AM  
Anonymous MaryBeth Smith said...

Thanks, Robin. Very helpful.

1/03/2015 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Eileen Flanagan said...

Thanks, Robin. This helps me feel connected to you and your lie, even though I haven't seen you in a bit. Obviously I don't know the details, but I know how hard it is to be a leader, a spouse, a parent and many other things simultaneously. It's also given me a good exercise to ponder. I think my challenge for the year has to do with showing up fully, but I'll have to think of the right word. It's more than presence. A stepping forward. Hmm.

Happy New Year!

1/03/2015 7:57 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Hi Eileen, yes, it would be good to see you again soon. I miss you at Green St.

Something that means Present and accounted for? But kind of the opposite of presenteeism. Let me know what you come up with!

1/04/2015 10:30 PM  

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