Every year, I pick out a focus word. A word that governs various aspects of my life that year in lieu of resolutions. My previous words have been focus (2009), discipline (2010), growth (2011), nurture (2012), surrender (2013), and challenge (2014).
“If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the spirit.”…Oprah Winfrey.
Last year, I chose the word “Challenge” as my guiding mantra because I’d squarely fallen into that comfortable, familiar, non-challenging space that is also the enemy of creativity and the antithesis of growth. I vowed to challenge myself career-wise, creatively, personally, emotionally, and in other aspects of my life.
So how did all this good intention pan out?
Career-wise: I wanted to work on more travel narratives and investigative cultural pieces over quick hit lists. I did work on a few of these types of pieces such as Chasing the Light (Road & Kingdoms) and several pieces for Sweden.se which are currently being edited. But those types of travel writing I love to do were still far and few between in lieu of bill-paying assignments.
I also mentioned that I wanted to do a lot more lifestyle portraits and take on more commercial assignments which I did; for example, shooting portraits for Electrolux and travel writing for Absolut Vodka.
Creativity – My guitar still remains in its case, my brushes and oil paints still remain packed away, and my comic strip Office Supplies still remains untouched. While I was creative in other ways, I really wanted 2014 to be the year I tapped back into those base creative hobbies that sustained me in a way.
But that never happened. That challenge was lost.
Building assets – My challenge was to start building something – resources – and I started two out of many ideas I have including a Photo Tips resource and a Snapshots resource which profiles travel photographers of color.
Personally – My challenge was to keep finding a way to balance work and family time so seamlessly that I work less, make more, and have more time for my family. I think I got much closer to this goal in 2014 when I really consolidated work tasks down to three manageable items daily. I saw my productivity increase, I pitched less, and had more time with the family. This, as always, is still a work in progress but I’ve made significant strides.
Physically – I was going to start the year with good intentions. To get back in rugby-playing shape and become stronger once again. Then I found out I was pregnant with my second child. A physically challenging pregnancy at that because I was very sick the first 4-5 months of the pregnancy plus I also went a full two weeks past my due date. Needless to say, 2014 was not my year for fitness. I’m hoping to change that around in 2015.
So now on to my focus word for 2015.
Focus word for 2015 – “Connect”
I really pondered this word for a bit as I saw a couple things coming out of 2014. Of connections that were being made and strengthened personally and work-wise. Yet there still remains a bit of disconnect in some aspects of my life. Like a budding farmer who grabs a handful of seeds and scatters them every-which-way. Each seed grows strong on its own wherever it lands yet feels a bit disconnected from the overall order and plan because they were scattered.
So in 2015, I’d like to connect the dots that are springing all over my life and thread them together for a higher purpose.
Here’s what I mean.
Career-wise – Keep connecting people to contacts and resources that will help them get closer to their own goals and purposes. I did some of this in 2014 and it was spiritually rewarding in many ways. I want to keep doing this in 2015.
Also for me, I want to hopefully connect with people that appreciate the work I’m trying to do, can help me grow, and can help me move it forward on many levels.
Creativity – When I did my year-end review, one of the things I mentioned was that 2015 will be my year of mastery in terms of continued education, reading, and learning to keep improving my craft. So I would love to connect with the right sources for this.
Building assets – As a freelancer, jumping from assignment to assignment isn’t self-sustaining on a larger scale so I would love to connect with the right opportunities and people to build something sustaining. I have tons of ideas in mind – from book publishing to investing in other people’s ideas. I would love to connect to this somehow in 2015.
Personally – Not so much “connect” as “reconnect”. Connect and reconnect with friends, family, and people who mean a lot more to me offline. Be a lot better in connecting and staying in touch with them.
Physically – Hopefully I can make that mind-body connection in 2015 to find a good exercise routine and get back in tip-top shape. I would love to connect with the right activities that would make all this seem less of a chore and more of a lifestyle.
So for 2015, I would love to finally make that mind-over-matter connection. The one that says “You’ve got this!…..even though you’re wheezing like you’re gonna keel over!”
I leave you with this quote from Oprah – “Doing the best thing at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
How about you guys? What have you got planned for 2015? Any focus words?