I’ve always known that words are powerful, but until a few years ago I didn’t realize just how powerful ONE SINGLE WORD could be. In 2014 I read One Word That Will Change Your Life. The words in the book took me on a journey of reflection and discovery and helped me realize that I could change my life with just one word.
My first word
In 2014, I chose my first word.
During that year I set my sights on connecting with my family and friends, building my PLN through Twitter and connecting with other educators through my blog. In 2014, I stepped out of my comfort zone into a world of digital professional development. I connected with educators in Hong Kong and Louisiana to plan a global professional development opportunity for teachers using the book Teach Like a Pirate. We used Google Hangout to talk about the book and were even joined by Dave Burgess, the author of Teach Like a Pirate, for one of our Hangouts! How cool is that? And, I am sure that if it weren’t for my word, I wouldn’t have pushed myself to do any of it.
My Next Word
It took me no time at all to pick my word for 2015. I know myself well and one thing I know is that I am often quick to make decisions, quick to share my thoughts, and well, just plain quick. So, I decided to focus on being thoughtful in 2015. My goal was to slow down and take my time before making a decision, before sharing my thinking, before being , well, “quick”. I definitely thought about my word every day. I tried really, really hard to slow down and make thoughtful decisions but slowing down and being thoughtful was hard. This word taught me a lot about myself and even more about failure. I failed at being thoughtful more times than I succeeded. I have lost count of the times over the past year that I’ve said, “My word is ‘thoughtful’ if only I would have been more thoughtful, that would have turned out better.” What I learned in 2015 was that when I do slow down and take time to really think things through, great things happen.
The Big Reveal: My Word for 2016
I’ve been going around and around about my word for 2016. I decided that I needed to give myself time to think (I learned this trick in 2015), so I didn’t rush to have my word chosen on January 1. I thought about myself, my goals, my struggles, my failures and my successes. I tested some words, tried them out for a while to see how they felt and waited for one to “stick”.
Here are a few that I considered:
More (I really like this one-maybe 2017!)
Even though I liked all of those words, I just didn’t feel a connection to any of them. Then on Wednesday I spent some time reading through reflections and goals that my teachers wrote about the first part of the school year. As I read the thoughtful comments, I was moved by how openly and honestly they shared their insecurities, their struggles and their plans to grow and change. I read their words over and over again and marveled at just how amazing these teachers are. I sent each of them an email thanking them for taking the time to reflect, sharing some positive feedback and then asking them how they were doing with their goal. And, to my surprise many of them replied back to me with even more thoughtful words about their progress, their struggles and the things they still needed to learn. I loved the fact my teachers were thinking about growth. I loved that they were seeing our work as a journey. But it made me wonder if they take time to CELEBRATE their accomplishments and recognize how hard they work. So, I replied to one of my teachers with the following words:
You are amazing. Remember, you'll never feel "finished" because you are such a learner. So, I hope you take some time to celebrate all that you do.
Thus, my word was born! CELEBRATE will be my word for 2016. I will celebrate success, I will celebrate what is learned from failure, I will celebrate the little things and the big things. All too often, we can become so focused on the journey that we forget to stop and take in the sights. So, this year, as I continue my journey with my teachers I will take in the sights and celebrate along the way.
What do you need to celebrate? Please share!