My Three Words for 2008

bee Every year, I work on a personal framework for how I want to frame and then execute my actions. It’s not goal setting, because the goals can change. It’s not resolutions, because those are also end-states. Instead, these are ways to think that help me frame how I’m going to think about and then take action on what I’m faced with. Think of it as a set of tools that I will use to interpret and then interact with the world around me.

These are obviously personal. Yours would be different.

Believe, Loops, and Farm

Each word has more than one meaning to how I intend to use it. I do that on purpose. I think it’s tricky to remember too much at any one time, so I just want three words that act as “zip files” or icons for larger ideas. I can unpack the payload of the ideas for reinforcement, but I can also just use the words as reminders of all that I intend to accomplish through these words.

Believe

In the simplest form, I want to remind myself to believe in what I do. A little deeper, I want to use visualization to believe that things are what I wish them to be, and then construct my execution around these visions. For instance, when I approach getting a new job, I act as if I work for the target company already. I feel it in my belly. That makes me not waste time worrying whether I get the job. I’ve got the job. Instead, I use the conversation to uncover how well we’re going to work together. If it appears we won’t, maybe I’ll quit the job before the interview has even been completed.

There are other ways to unpack believe, but that’s all I’ll share for now.

Loops

Loops is a reminder on a lot of fronts. On one side, I have to realize the full circle of projects better. I have a lot of aptitude for starting things, but not as much to see them through to fully realized execution. In this coming year, I intend to better think out the “idea handles” I give my ideas, and make sure that other people pick up the ideas, and execute them to completion. I’m working with a team of professionals, and a team of eager learners. I simply need to present the full circle of my ideas, and make sure I check things out.

On another front, I need to close loops in my communication better. I can’t have 11 emails to make a meeting. I have to get it done in 2. Why? Because I’m processing over 600 emails a day right now (down to about 520 a day after turning off Twitter notifications of who’s following me). Loops reminds me to be wary of my communications loops.

Farm

This one is the noun and the verb. On one hand, I want to remember the “Law of the Farm,” that things take nurturing and that things need to be grown out of the mundane, the repetitive, and the carefully measured out moments of the passage of time. Because I’m a bit of a leap thinker, I get frustrated by this part of life, but I shouldn’t. Because it doesn’t change. Life progresses naturally, not at the pace I want.

On the other hand, I must be reminded to farm, to tend my gardens, to spend time in the fields, to consider what crops I’m cultivating, and why. What parts of my life matter to me and need tending, and which things need to be weeded out? Am I spending too much time in fields that don’t yield good return? Is there a marketplace for some of my efforts? How will I harvest?

Applying These Words

I’m carrying around a little note with all three words on them. I’ll have them posted on my laptop (when I get back home), and I’ll put them in a few key areas. Repetition of the message is important to me following my goals here. I’ll put them as a permanent visual so that I remember to pay attention to those three focal points.

As I go through decision making, I’ll work on improving my application of the three words to everything I’m passing through. For instance, if someone approaches me for a project, I’ll ask whether I believe in the endpoints. I’ll determine the full circle that needs to be in place if I implement the project, and I will consider whether this project will yield results, and what it will take to tend the project.

I’ve used 3 word tools since 2006, and have had year-after-year success. I’m not sharing my 3 words because YOU need to adopt the same words. I’m sharing the process, because you might find something useful in its telling.

What do you do to frame your thoughts? How do you decide things? What are your ideas on three words to guide your actions?

Photo credit, foxypar4

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