Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019. What’s your plan?
It’s day one of the new year. Are you already stressing out? (Maybe I’m just projecting). Have you set up your resolutions? Have you got your goals in place? Maybe you’ve even created a moodboard for your office to visualize, or you blocked off some time every day on your calendar to meditate, maybe you’re doing a Bullet Journal or working in Evernote to keep track of life? I did what I normally do: I put a little bit of time aside to choose my three words that will define my 2019.
Only three words?
“In an effort to tell bigger stories, I’ve found that the concept of three words allows me to think in more dimensions about what I want to do with my life and it lets me apply lots of tangible goals instead of what most people do when they focus on just a finite task. It’s a bit like turbo-charged goal planning.”
Going public (again).
I’ve been doing this exercise ever since Chris first introduced it (I think it was back in 2006?). Each year, around December – without prompting – I find myself starting to think about my three words. The personal pressure is on. It’s a good pressure, but it’s pressure. All of us hope to do more, be more and achieve more. Nailing it down to three words is always a welcome challenge. Over the years, I have made only a few of these public. This year, I have decided to “open up the kimono,” in the hopes that you will be encouraged to take this exercise on, and share it with the world as well. So, here’s goes everything…
My 3 Words For 2019:
- Now. What’s next? What’s now? About halfway through this year, my life changed. After building Twist Image into one of the largest independent digital marketing agencies, and then selling it to WPP over four years ago, it was time to move on. As soon as the agency was acquired, it was rebranded as Mirum, and went on to become a large global business with close to 3000 employees in close to 30 countries. This business had been my life for 18 years. It was time to do something more… something different. So, in July I moved on. One area of focus was still going to be speaking. Over the course of 15 years, I was giving anywhere between 40 – 60 keynote presentations (every year). But now, I can expand my audience beyond the world of digital marketing. I had many meetings with my speaking/talent agents. As the years peeled off, it was easy for them to make assumptions about the type of presentations (and audiences) that my content is best suited for. When I started out in the business of speaking, I was known as the “personal brand” speaker. This quickly evolved into the “social media” speaker, and this evolved into the “digital marketing” speaker. All good, but they are no longer the area that I truly speak about anymore. This year, the focus is more on “what’s now?” And “what’s next” for businesses today (how do they avoid disruption, truly transform and become innovative and powerful in the work that they do). Clay Hebert was kind enough to me focus my overall message and positioning, which is this: I help leaders decode the future. The future, of course, is now… If you don’t know what’s happening “now,” how will your brand ever get to what’s next? Now is everything.
- Connect. This is a big word for me. Once I decided it was time to move on from Mirum and agency life, I had a long, hard slog of figuring out who I am when I’m not the President of an agency. What is the work that I want to write about, talk about, present about, when I don’t have the bigger narrative about helping brands to build out their marketing services? So many opportunities and options led me to analysis paralysis. Did I want to double down on the work that I did? Did I want to abandon it completely and CTRL ALT Delete myself? Did I want to speak on broader business and leadership topics? Did I want to talk about my many entrepreneurial escapades?Did I want to focus more heavily on technology? I spent countless hours getting advice from some very smart people. One exercise came from my close friend, Heath Slawner. The core exercise pushes your “why” down into one word. It took me a long while to even wrap my head around the concept of being able to distill everything that I am about into just one word. With Heath’s guidance and empathy, we got there (yes, “we”… it was a group effort). My one word is: Connect. I’m all about connecting. Connecting disparate ideas. Connecting people to one another. Connecting with technology. Connecting content with people who care. I love to connect things. This year, I will be focused on making those connections more apparent, more deliberate and much more powerful.
- Audio. I believe in the power of audio. I always have. I love music. I love the power of a strong voice. From podcasting to radio to presenting my next big idea on stage, audio is always at the core. In case you have not noticed, a lot of the articles, podcast content and sections of my public presentations are focused on the new power of Smart Audio. Smart speakers, connected appliances, voice assistant, smartphones and beyond. I believe that the world is quickly shifting from a place of texting, typing and swiping to one of audio/voice as navigation and user experience. I deeply believe that typing will be relegated to writing content (articles, books, etc…) and everybody else will simply use their voice to both navigate technology and create with it. I believe that smart audio is the biggest “what’s next? – what’s now?” happening today. Audio will be massive keyword for my 2019 (and yours as well).
What three words will define your 2019?