Did I get your attention? Got mine, too.
For the past five years (five? wow!) I have chosen word of the year to focus on and learn about- something that will help me grow. It's an idea I first learned about from Christine Kane.
Let's start with what I learned from this year's word: Listen.
I chose this word because I was becoming increasingly aware of (and annoyed by) my poor listening skills. I often was unable to immediately recollect what I had just heard- frustrating to me and my husband, I'm sure.
What I noticed throughout the year is that I need to put myself in a place of presence. I need to be here and be ready to listen. If I'm doing something it benefits me and the other person to say, "Hold on one minute while I finish XYZ, then I'll be able to listen."
Then I finish whatever I was doing (or at least get to a natural pause point). I turn to face the person and say, "Ok." And I pay attention.
Because it's the attention part that needed some work. I won't say I'm always good at it now, but I think I've improved and I think my relationships are better for it.
As 2013 was drawing to a close, I began to ponder new words for 2014. I usually start this process around Thanksgiving, and by Christmas I've chosen my word.
That word this time around was "Create." I envisioned expanding my artistic side, learning to paint, writing a lot, and cooking new dinners.
It was a good word. It had possibility.
On Christmas day, however, another word came to me: Badass.
The more I thought about it, the more excited I became and the more it felt like a "hell, yeah!" And as I learned from Victoria Brouhard several years ago, if it's not a hell-yeah, it's a no. (Great article, by the way. Go read it: The No-Brainer Scenario.)
The thing is I've read a lot about things that interest me. I read a ton of life coaching and creative coaching articles, books, and blogs. (I kind of devour them.) I read a lot about writing. I read a lot about web usability and technology's impact on human behavior. I love all of this stuff.
But I'm not doing anything with it. Okay, okay, I blog and that certainly counts for some writing, but I haven't written much else.
It's time to start using this knowledge. If I don't somehow serve people with it, then it's worthless. I want to share what I know.
But I get scared. The usual fears I think many of us have: Do I really know enough? What will people think? And so on.
What's different lately is I finally feel ready to move past those fears. I may still have them, but I don't want them to own me. I don't want them to stop me from doing what I can do.
My friend posted an image on my Facebook page the other day that said, "Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your wings are ready."
She's right. This is the year of do. (As in "do it, already!")
Now you might be wondering why the whole badass concept came to me on Christmas day, so let me explain.
For years I have talked about getting a second tattoo (my first having been sixteen years ago). I've put a lot of thought into what I might want and where and, so far, it's been a lot of talk.
For Christmas, my husband gave me a gift certificate for an incredible tattoo artist. In other words, he's encouraging me to walk my talk (with full permission to pass it on to someone else if I really don't want it).
As I stared at that certificate, I shook in nervous excitement. Oh, the possibilities! Oh my god, the pain! I realized I needed to toughen up a bit. Time to bring out my inner badass.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how many areas in my life I'm sitting back watching, or not taking next steps, or playing it safe.
Why? Because it's hard, or I don't know how, or it's easier not to try. Because I'm a procrastinator (and a damn good one).
But I have dreams and ideas and goals. I don't want to sit back and wait for an invitation that may never come.
All around I feel a little weaker than I like. I'm not as mentally strong as I would like. Or as spiritually strong. Or as physically strong.
I don't want to sit back quietly in a conversation about world events because I don't know anything about them. I want to be informed and have opinions- whether or not I share them is up to me, but I want to have them.
I want to do things. I want to be stronger in body, mind, and soul. I want to make progress on anything, everything.
I want to take risks with my writing, my work, my garden, photography, art, experiences, interactions, and cooking.
I want to stop worrying about whether or not people will like me because I believe in God or because I read oracle cards, or because I do both.
I want to curse in writing if it suits the mood and not worry about whether my dad will approve.
I want to prove that nice girls can be tough and vice versa.
And yes, I want a new tattoo. On my shoulder where people can see it. (Though I wish it could magically appear while I slept.)
So for 2014 my word is badass. Expect things to kick up a notch here on my blog.
What about you? Do you choose a word for the year? What is yours?