This is the time of year I pick a word for the year ahead. But, before I tell you about why I do this and why I’ve chosen a word for my year for the last 5 years – before I even tell you what word I’ve chosen for 2017 – I want to share CONFIDENCE with you.
Confidence was my word for 2016 and when I picked the word last December, I thought I knew what confidence was. I thought that by having it, everything else in my life would fall into place.
If I was confident, I’d love my body.
If I was confident, my classes would be packed.
If I was confident, I wouldn’t get caught up in comparison and competition.
What I was really saying was, “If I have these things, then I can be confident.” So, while the word, confidence, represented how I wanted to feel, I treated my feeling like a goal, something to do, and I got heavily caught up in the externals. Through the early part of 2016, I thought confidence meant I had to win and if I won, you had to lose. Confidence was about competition and if I measured up, if my circumstances aligned – if I was thin enough, successful enough, worthy enough – then I’d be able to feel confident and access the VIP lounge of life. But, instead of feeling confident, all I felt was a sense of hustling for my worth…and it was exhausting.
Sure, there were periods during 2016 where I “felt” confident; but the feeling itself was still very much contingent upon my external circumstances. A call with my coach in August changed that. During our call, she really handed it to me, in her tough love kind of way, and told me I needed to stay in my own lane: worrying about what I didn’t have, didn’t serve me. Comparing myself to someone else’s success, didn’t serve me. From our call, I realized confidence wasn’t walking into a room with your head held high thinking you are better or have to be better than anyone else. Confidence was walking into the room and not having to compare yourself to anyone in the first place. Confidence is just doing you. Doing your best. Staying in your own lane, no matter how glorious someone else’s lane might look.
When I really stepped back from what I thought my word meant, from how it had to “look,” greater levels of strength and freedom unfolded naturally within me. There was more ease, less effort. More heart, less hustle. Turns out, I chose a word I really didn’t know much about – but really the word chose me so that I could experience a true upleveling. Stepping fully into the experience of this word enabled me to genuinely uplift others around me without fear they might “surpass” me. It allowed me to enthusiastically and whole-heartedly celebrate the success of others without jealousy or comparison. Stepping into the experience of confidence brought up every thing counter to it so that I could learn to do my own thang proudly.
So, why one word? Why not 2 or 10 or the standard list of New Year’s resolutions? First, let me ask you, have you ever made the said list of resolutions? If you’re anything like me, they never really panned out. Am I right? 5 years ago, I decided I wanted to feel different and when I asked myself how I wanted to feel, the word FEARLESS called out and it was there that my one word year was born. I would dedicate my year to feeling fearless, one feeling that would guide me throughout 365 days. Choosing one word that year, allowed me to anchor myself to a feeling, rather than an extrinsic goal that may or may not allow me to feel the way I wanted to feel. Focusing on how I wanted to feel also removed the pressure of what I had to or should do. Over the last 5 years, this process has opened me up to way more freedom and success than I ever got by just setting goals.
When you really open up to your word, when you let go of the specifics and get into the feeling, when you allow your word to truly guide you to the experiences you need to grow, your life expands exponentially.
2012. FEARLESS. I began to work with a life coach, started a blog and became an intenSati leader – all of which helped me gain clarity on the life I wanted to live.
2013. FREE. I signed divorce papers and began to heal old hurts.
2014. OPEN. I attended a life coaching weekend where I began to peel back layers, something that allowed me to fully come out for the first time.
2015. TRUTH. I fully aligned with the power of my word – asking for what I want, owning my voice, and speaking, well, my truth.
This year, I’ve chosen LIGHT as my word. It’s the reminder that if I want to light the path for others, I have to light the way for myself first – and lighting my path means finding intrinsic worth over extrinsic motivation.
This week, I invite you to get curious about how you’d like to feel. If you were to fast-forward to a year from now, December 2017, looking back, what would you want 2017 to feel like? A bunch of words might come up when you ask that question. Write them all down. Try them all on. Say them out loud. Really feel how they feel without worrying about if it’s the “cooler” or “bigger” word or whether it’s a verb, noun or adjective. None of those details matter. It’s all about the feels for this one.
When you step back and tune into that inner guidance, when you listen deeply and intently and ask yourself, “How is it I want to feel?” – you word will always choose you.
I’d love to know what your word is for 2017. Leave it in the comments for others (and the Universe) to hear.