My 3 Words for 2021

  • Jeff Gibbard
  • 6 min read

If you’re not familiar with My Three Words yet, please read this page for more context.

It’s that time of the year again!

For me, 2020 included a lot of the same things as everyone else: uncertainty, anxiety, concern, frustration, and anger. While most of these were emotions brought about by externalities, my own personal trip around the sun included some notable events and challenges.

This year, my mother passed away, my daughter was born, and I started a brand new business. My journeys into the lands of fatherhood and solopreneurship have been extremely rewarding though not without serious challenges. I’ve had to grow in a variety of ways and I’m happy to say that, largely, I’ve managed these transitions effectively.

Mostly, I want 2021 to be a continuation of some of the things that worked well for me in 2020. I think I’ve found three great words to shape the year.

Movement

Movement is a word that will carry a triple meaning for me in 2021.

In 2021, I want to stay active and continue to focus on my physical health through exercise and movement.

In 2021, I will build a movement of people who want to use their time at work and off work to make the world a kinder, safer, and more equitable place. I haven’t spent nearly enough time building my community. I need to enroll people in this concept of superheroism in business and at home. My Facebook group is small and mighty, and I want to grow it. My email list is far too small, and I want to grow it.

In 2021, I will be a vocal advocate for and an ardent supporter of the movements that seek to protect people’s civil rights, and that work to create a peaceful and equitable world. I will use whatever platform I have to amplify the efforts of those who are putting in the work on behalf of humanity.

2021 is about Movement.

Pace

Though it happened midway through the year, 2020 was the year I started getting really serious about my habits. 2021 is the first year where I will be starting out the year focused on habits.

  • I’ll be tracking and quantifying my behaviors and activities
  • I’ll be adding new habits in service of continued growth
  • I’ll be analyzing my results and adjusting accordingly

One of the things that I learned about habits in 2020, is something that any good distance runner will tell you:

It isn’t about how fast you run at the beginning, but what speed you can maintain until you reach the finish line.

I have struggled with this throughout my life as I tend to go full speed until I burn out, wait until I catch my breath, and then do it again. This peaks-and-valleys approach is an ideal way to burn yourself out and also a fantastic way to lose clients. In 2020, I started seeing the value in slowing down a bit and focusing on consistency. It was part of my commitment to one of my three words for 2020: discipline.

I realized that good habits require you to be realistic and to approach growth in a more deliberate and incremental way. In 2021, I’m not going to continue taking on more than I can handle, but instead, focus on my priorities and habits, and approach them deliberately, thoughtfully, and with care.

Lastly, Pace is a reminder for me to slow down enough to look around and appreciate the things around me. My daughter will only be at this stage for so long, and then it’s gone. I turned 40 in 2020, and maybe it’s time for me to stop rushing for the finish line and instead just enjoy the run.

Preparation

2020 was the longest period of time that I can remember in the last 20 years, where I felt safe.

  • In mid-2019, my wife and I bought our first house, in my favorite neighborhood. It feels like home in a way that no apartment ever has. It feels stable.
  • My daughter is healthy and happy, and I have an incredible partner in my wife.
  • I had a full client roster within the first 2 months of 2020. Over the course of the year, all I had were great clients. I owe much of this to having fully embraced who I am, what I do, and why I do it, and I am fully transparent with my clients about it. This has allowed me to feel more secure with my clients and to turn away work that doesn’t align with my values.

Everything is firing on all cylinders right now. Things are really great in my life, and that is a new feeling for me. I’m used to fear. I’m used to stress. While I still have those emotions and reactions at times, I’m currently experiencing a profound calmness.

Which, of course, makes me incredibly anxious.

This is why I must prepare…because things change.

I understand that even though I have a full client roster right now, I could still lose them all tomorrow. I realize that even though we’re healthy right now, that could all change in an instant. I understand that the calmness I’m experiencing right now, may just be the eye of the storm.

I have to prepare both logistically and emotionally for inevitable setbacks.

I am grateful for the life I have. I’m grateful for the luck and privilege that have made these things possible. But I can’t ever lose sight of the fact that I am not entitled to continued calmness and safety. I cannot expect that life will be easy or that this feeling of safety will persist.

I’m not being pessimistic, but rather using a pessimistic frame to be ready for when life inevitably throws me back into the deep end. So, I’m preparing…

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” -Mahatma Gandhi

So, this is what I’m focusing on this year. If you’re reading this, I hope that you hold me accountable.

Have you started doing three words yet?

If not, why not? Are you still doing resolutions? How’s that working out for you?

Do you just need a kick in the ass? Post a comment below if you want some help.

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