Productive Persistence

What’s your word of the year?

I know many people select a word for the year. Many selections seem altruistic or idealistic or represent some future goal.  What do individuals or organization do after they select the word?  Is it just a conversation starter or a way to invoke a feeling of forward movement and security?  I am not sure.

In recent calls with one of my coaching cohorts, the subject came up.  Many coaches shared their “word” stories and how it impacts their mindset and outcomes.

So, I decided to take up the challenge.  The big question… what my word would be and why?  Sure, I could run through a list of words but the “why” part had me.  The word is important.  Words create a mindset.  A point on the horizon helping us on the journey of who we are becoming. 

What would be meaningful to me at this point in my life’s journey?

So, I did a little soul searching.  Meaningful, but what else?  I felt there needed to be more to it.  It needed to evoke change that would move me forward on my path.  As a new solopreneur, there was a lot to learn.  I took some time to reflect.

I spent forty plus years working for other people or organizations.  I never thought I would work for myself, let alone as a coach.  My 80s and 90s self would have thought this situation was too bold.  In fact, coaching was mostly associated with sports at the time.  Professional coaching wasn’t yet a widely adopted practice.  

Looking back, I’d always taken a coach approach in my management style, whether I knew it or not. It wasn’t intentional.  It was natural.  It started first as an interest, then a hobby, and then a side hustle.  It wasn’t long before I understood that being a coach was going to be my focus and passion for the next season.  I would want to give it my full attention. 

This past fall found me leaving my, almost forty-year, career to focus full-time on my new business.  Scary?  Yes.  Exciting?  Absolutely. 

Yet, as scary or exciting as it is, my focus was, and is, to be successful.  There is no other option.  As an Enneagram Type 3, my need to succeed and be effective is always what drives and motivates me.  (No surprise to everyone who knows me.)

Going back to my original question of what my word of the year would be, my next thought goes to, “What do I need to succeed?”  To me, success is connecting and bringing value to others.  To create a space to foster their personal and professional development.  To be present and make a difference for someone on their journey.

Unfortunately, the bombardment of life shifts one’s focus to all the minutiae.  It makes so many demands on time that development is often felt to be a luxury.

  • Individuals may not yet see value in self-investment. Sometimes it’s guilt, lack of direction, or lack of time that prevents them from focusing on themselves.
  • Employers may not see the value in investing in staff outside the business needs. There is a disconnect between personal and professional growth and performance. As a direct result, employers spend significant time fighting for talent. 

To bring value and change the existing mindset will take persistence. Persistence!  That’s it!  That’s my word.  Persistence means “a firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”  Thinking forward, I see it as a positive and productive method to help and provide value to others.

As I place my focus on persistence, I feel a sense of energy and hope.  Persistence will help me to:

  • reach out to others often;
  • challenge others to create the space and priority to focus on their own development;
  • encourage others to become the person they want to be;
  • understand that “no” may mean “not yet”:
  • keep from getting discouraged;
  • center on a learning mindset;
  • connect with new people and organizations; and
  • be grounded in hope of what’s to come.


What is your word is for the year?







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