At the beginning of 2013, Chris Brogan shared a blog post describing his “3 Words of 2013” – three words that would focus his goals, visions, and efforts for the year. This year the Buckeye Interactive team decided to choose and share our 24 words of 2014 (three from each team member) and what they mean to us.
As you read through, think about key words that describe three main visions you see for yourself in this new year.
What are your three words?
One of my themes for 2014 is scaling our business–primarily revenue, not number of employees or office space. In order to scale without sacrificing on quality or stress level, we need to manage by the numbers in addition to maintaining the highest-quality work. I will spend the first quarter focusing on the metrics our business needs to be successful, including building dashboards, reporting, and alerts to manage by those metrics. For the remainder of the year, we will manage our business with those new tools, and then seek to help our clients and others manage their businesses by the metrics with dashboards, reporting, and alerts.
Last year, I included “Focus” as one of my words, but my job isn’t done yet. I did my best to maintain focus, but I’m not satisfied with how well I did. This year, in addition to maintaining focus, I also want to spend less time being busy and more time being productive. I will do more reading, planning, and strategizing, and less time doing.
It takes a lot of will power for me to avoid getting my hands dirty writing code and doing things myself, but I now have a fantastic team that can handle execution if I provide the leadership and vision. Being okay with sitting quietly and reading is a challenge for me. I will do better this year.
It may be challenging to balance Quiet and Baby in the same year, but I’m going to give it my all. We have our second little girl on the way, arriving right around Noelle’s birthday in May. Family has always been important to me, and my time with them is why I am working to build a successful business. I’m not choosing favorites here–this word is for our whole family and how we adjust to life with a new little one. Noelle, Abbey, and Baby #2 are a key focus of all of my time, not just the time at home.
Open source software becomes more and more important in my life with each passing day and, as someone who uses and loves open source software, I need to make a better effort to give back to the community. I’ve already released a few plugins through the WordPress.org repository, but I’d like to start making bigger, core contributions to projects like WordPress and Laravel over the coming year.
In 2013 I made an effort to start speaking at events. I gave talks here at INC@8000 and the Columbus WordPress Meetup, presented a plugin at the White House for the National Day of Civic Hacking, and was accepted to speak at WordCamp Columbus. In the new year I’d like to continue on this path, attending and participating in more conferences as the year goes on.
Sometimes it’s important to take a look at the direction you’re moving in and recognize any potential speed bumps on the road ahead. In my case, I’m a self-taught programmer with no formal Computer Science background. If I take the time to better understand some of the science behind software, I’m certain I’ll be more capable to take on new languages, challenges, and paradigms. “Dangerfield,” of course, is the late Rodney Dangerfield who starred in the 1986 comedy Back to School.
As I look back over the past year, I realize how much I’ve grown as a person and in my career path. As my last year of undergrad approaches, I’d like to continue that growth by learning more about where I want my career path to lead and doing whatever I can to get there.
A goal for this year, and every year, is to be happy in every aspect possible. What I create and accomplish is meaningless if it does not directly correlate to my increased happiness.
Last year I made an irreplaceable amount of progress on learning how to maintain and better my physical health and eating habits. This year I’d like to work harder putting this knowledge into motion to continue improving my health, eating clean, and building a clean body.
Ideas are awesome, but they don’t mean much unless you put the effort in to making them a reality. You never know what you might have in an idea until you start seeing it come together into something tangible and the sense of achievement of creating something is second to none.
I’m addicted to stuff, and I imagine that most everyone else is. I want to work on removing the superfluous things (stuff) that distract me and focus on the high-quality items and traits that make me the best person possible.
What is a new year without the standard commitment to eat healthier and exercise? Not only do I want to flex in the physical sense by being more active, but also in the sense that I want to build mental muscle and health. Learn something new about the world, my industry, and the way I work.
Actually two words – but a very smart man. I was given a quote of his recently which somehow I had never heard before but hits the nail on the head for me. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” So I hope to live more “real,” not be afraid of what “others think,” or “how it looks.”
Its a simple word but one that’s important to me this year more than ever. I want to exercise my brain every day, challenge my brain, learn new things.
Again, two words, but one meaning…. just be kind! Be nice! Even when I don’t feel like it, or when I’m mad, sad, frustrated – doesn’t take much to just be kind. You don’t know what another person has gone through or IS going through – your kind word or gesture may be what a person needs. In kindergarten our report card said “Plays well with others,” well our adult report card should also list this. We are all human, so I’m going to make an effort to be nice , even when I don’t feel like it : )
This word represents my goal of speaking up more often, both in my personal life and my professional life. Too often I’ve let important thoughts go unspoken, witty jokes go unheard, or simple conversation pass me by. I also think being more vocal in meetings and with clients is incredibly important, and growing myself professionally is a huge endeavor for me already. I’m making it a top priority this year to work on this anxiety, and hopefully next year one of my words will be about how I need to shut up more often!
This word represents how I want to stop spreading myself too thin, and to really delve in with some of the things in my life that I’ve not given enough attention. This could be something as small as a hobby I’ve let fall by the wayside or as large as trying to reach out to friends and family more often. I need to realize that I’m probably never going to be as good or as attentive to everything as I would like to be, but with a bit of effort and concentration I can maximize my potential and hopefully be a better person for it.
This word represents how I need to keep reminding myself that my age doesn’t really matter. I’m turning 30 in a couple of weeks, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dreading leaving my twenties behind me. I think I put too much emphasis on my age, and really, what’s the point? I still feel young, and by golly, I plan on being young for as long as humanly possible. This year I hope to remember to keep being the kid I still feel like, and to not care how many years it’s been since I came into this world.
I have a lot of responsibilities between classes, work, and the various organizations I am involved with. I often get overwhelmed by committing too much time to one and not enough to another. This year I am going to focus on prioritizing my responsibilities and dedicating an appropriate amount of time to each. This also means being realistic about the commitments I make.
I have a bad habit of procrastinating. Whether it is a school assignment or putting together a presentation for a group I am involved in, there is a pretty good chance I won’t start it until the last minute. Along with prioritizing my responsibilities, I will make an effort to get them completed ahead of time. This will give me more time to focus on my last word.
I have a wide range of interests, including everything from programming to music and athletics. This year I will spend more time exploring all of these interests, with the goal of finding a way to incorporate as many as possible into my daily routine. It’s said if you do what you enjoy you won’t work a day in your life. I enjoy a lot of things, so finding a way to incorporate as many of them as possible into my day will be a fun challenge.
65% of Americans reported receiving no recognition for good work in the past year. Words have power. So this year, I am going to make certain I give extra effort to providing positive reinforcement for a job well done.
In my mind, laughter goes hand-in-hand with joy. The power of humor, smiling, laughing is contagious and I want that to be the the impression I make in 2014.
Holding myself and my team to higher standards with regular reviews of performance and work behavior. Also remaining accountable when it comes to healthy eating and exercise, and my behavior in general.