It starts out innocently enough. At the beginning of the year I choose a word that inspires me, needs my attention and gives me a focus. The idea is romantic like the scene in Eat, Pray, Love, where Liz is in Italy, nearing the end of her stay and she's sitting with friends at a beautiful dinner, wine and delicious foods decorate the scene. They go around the table talking about their words. "What's your word Liz?" She says "writer", they say, "writer is what you do, not who you are."
She thinks on it for a few minutes and decides she is a woman in search of a word. Well the way I decide on my words is not that spectacular, although it is just as thoughtful. I look at what is going on in my life, what challenges am I having. What learning or growth would I like to focus on for the year and the search for the word begins.
In those early days of deciding on my word for the year I'm not thinking about the implications of choosing one word to focus on, or all the glorious ways the word may impact my year. I'm thinking about a word that scares me a little, makes me a tad uncomfortable.
Then the word comes to me and I know it's the one because weight of the word is dense when I say it. It's a word with many meanings and applies to so many areas of my life. Truth be told, I know it will demand attention. Like when we ask to be patient, we don't get the quality of patiences, we get opportunities to practice being patient.
All year my word challenged me, in my family life, my friendships, and in particular my work. I knew the word was going to be a lot to handle, because I grew up with a mother who's go to expression was. "What makes you think you are so special?"
Whenever I want to level up in life, or go for the next goal, or ask for what I need / want, I remember that rhetorical question. It's loaded with memories and big emotions.
One day while in a coaching session, my very wise coach asked me to change the inflexion in the question. So I repeated the question. What, makes ME think, I'm so SPECIAL? That simple task, of changing the meaning of the question, brought my word of the year into focus.
It was like that moment when you are at the optometrist and they find that lense that helps you see more clearly than the previous two or three lenses. Yes, I thought, this is the lense in which I would like to look at my word for the rest of the year. That was in September!
Prior to that, I was receiving plenty of opportunities to practice living my word, and it often felt like I was being rubbed the wrong way! Why? Because when we are about to change we get resistance and the resistance makes us question our values. So I pushed on!
I let myself feel the discomfort of the word, the way it made me question my relationships, my business, my career and my WORTH!
Asking for what I needed, wanted, desired was a struggle for me. It was all about my worthiness. So you guessed it, my word of the year for 2022 is WORTH! Now I can say this word with ease and pleasure, because all year my worth has been tested.
Last week it all came full circle when I had a big AH HA moment. I've been doing the hard things, asking for help, taking time for myself, reflecting on my values, and creating a vision of my worthiness. Then it happened, the moment I knew I wasn't the word, the word was who I've become! Sounds hokey? It's because, when we perceive ourselves a certain way for many years it's hard to break the image.
After all this time trying to prove my worth to external people I realized the only one who needed to believe it was me! As a teacher, coach, healer, mother, friend, sister and partner I have value and my WORTH comes from within me, not from the world outside:)
This is why coaching is so great! I got to work through the icky negative feeling. I started talking to myself the way I'd talk to a client or a friend. It's a process and one I value and believe we can all benefit from.
Now what about you? What's your word? Would you be willing to talk with a coach and discover a part of yourself that's been hidden by images of who you think you are?
The words we decide to live by can change our lives! For 2023 give it a try, find a word that makes you curious. Take some time and talk through the process with a coach, a friend or a trusted mentor! Then watch your word add colour, texture and depth to your universe!