My 3 Words For 2013

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2013. What’s the plan?

I was never a fan of goal-setting… and even less of a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. For a long while, I was working within a framework called The Goal Cultivator courtesy of Dan Sullivan (aka The Strategic Coach). I felt like his perspective on goal cultivating versus goal setting was a new paradigm, and – in looking back at those initial exercises – it’s amazing to see how profound that experience was in shaping my present-day situation (special thanks to my dear friend, Barry Pascal, for introducing me to the work of The Strategic Coach). Every year, Chris Brogan (Trust Agents, The Impact Equation, etc…) does an exercise he calls, My 3 Words For The Year. Brogan explains it like this: "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." He unveils how his process for coming up with his three words for the year and unveils them today, January 1st of each new year (you can see his 2013 words right here: My 3 Words for 2013). Others have publicly followed suit. Check out what C.C. Chapman has chosen: Menu, Build and Minimize in 2013 and Christopher S. Penn: 3 Words For 2012, 3 Words For 2013.

Going public.

I’ve been doing this exercise ever since Brogan first introduced it. Each year, around December – without prompting – I find myself starting to think about my three words. The 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. This year, I decided to make them public. Part of the work I did within The Goal Cultivator program proved to me that "putting it out there" makes it real, tangible and easier to focus on. So, here’s goes everything…

My 3 words for 2013:

  1. Starvation. Am I willing to starve for it? All too often I find myself caught in doing things (some big, some small) that fall outside of my unique abilities or my interest. I wind up doing them for all of the wrong reasons, and the results speak for themselves. In 2013, one area of focus will be starvation. Am I willing to starve for it? How many projects and pieces of work will I create that I would be willing to starve for? It’s going to be a tough benchmark, but a worthy one.
  2. Beyond. Every time I push myself beyond an established comfort zone, things begin to get juicy. As life evolves (i.e. I get older), I find myself getting trapped in those "old man ways." Things are great, I get comfortable… why rock that boat? 2013 will be about always pushing beyond that comfort zone in everything from how I think about the work that I am doing, what Twist Image is (and can be), and my own physical, spiritual and mental conditioning. In everything that I do (and think), I will push beyond it to see what others may not be looking at… yet.
  3. Student. I bought an acoustic guitar right before I started writing my second book, CTRL ALT Delete (which comes out on May 21st, 2013). I stopped playing it due to workload. Even when I take it out and tinker with it, I’m not advancing. I need lessons. I need to be student of the guitar and study it. It’s not just the guitar. That was simply an analogy to everything that I do with each and every waking moment. I get to work with some of the best brands in the world, and they’re interested in my opinion. I wind up playing the teacher role a plenty in my day to day life. I usually take a handful of personal siestas to attend conferences where I can be the student (TED and Google Zeitgeist are two of them). I read as many books as I physically can. It’s not enough. To be better, to become more, I must become the student that much more often. It’s a lesson that I first learned from studying Bruce Lee (thanks, Tony Blauer, too 🙂 and it’s one that I am going to focus much more on in 2013.

So… what’s your plan? What are your three words for 2013? Share away…


  1. I love this idea, I read the post on Brogan’s blog too. I think my three words would be: Inspire, Over-deliver, and Hack. Inspiring people is something we should all do more of. On every project I want to over-deliver and I love the idea of hacking problems. Not hacking as in the traditional sense but in the “finding the best way to solve a problem” sense. I love that theme for 2013. Great post!

  2. I’ve found this “3 words” idea helped me steer my way through 2011 & 2012… The simplicity of it – rather than the complexity of SMART objectives which I have to dig out for reference.
    My 3 words for 2013:
    (1) Attention – focus, mindfully attending…
    (2) Delivering – completing, shipping …
    (3) Laughter – making fun with others…
    This podcast was my first go at expressing the 3 words (2:20 into the audio)

  3. I always enjoy this exercise. And like you, I was inspired by Chris Brogan (although I only started in 2011).
    Although I like to set many goals for myself, it’s only my ‘3 words’ that I make public. I think it’s a cool way of sharing dreams and aspirations with other like-minded people.
    For 2013, my three words are: Inquisitiveness, Imagination and Expertise.

  4. Learn. My reading list for the first half of the year includes Charles Darwin, Plato, Rudolf Steiner, Hunter S. Thompson and Benjamin Franklin. We’ll see what the year brings from there.
    Play. The 30 inches of snow in the backyard won’t go undisturbed this season, and the guitar will get picked, strummed and percussed.
    Self. I have a hard time remembering to take care of me. I’ll take full advantage of the opportunity my new career has given me to focus on decluttering my space and my head, as well as planning for some diet and exercise.
    Thanks, Mitch, for the exploration opportunity.

  5. Absolutely love your focus, Mitch!
    I wonder though – how do you keep your focus on these 3 words throughout the year? If you should become derailed, how do you get yourself back on track?

  6. Mitch,
    It’s great to see how top voices like yours have picked up on Chris Brogan’s idea and to read their thoughts on what’s driving their efforts in 2013. I love your three and they influenced where I finally ended up:
    Publish, Legacy, Now. Rather than steal the space here, I’ll direct the community to my new post at
    Happy New Year!

  7. 1. Listen-to others and to my inner voice
    2. Appreciate-others and be grateful every day
    3. Believe-in myself, my loved ones,colleagues, life and joy

  8. My three words are write, ship and bacon. Clicking on my name will provide a deeper explanation of what they mean. The choice of “bacon” truly does deserve an explanation, doesn’t it?

  9. We are day 3 of 2013. This is not day 15 nor 25 but day 3. It resonantes as the
    beginning of time. The beginning of everything one can wish for. Beginnings are filled
    with hope and plans. Much to look forward to, many more days to fill in the new
    calendar of 2013 with ideas, projects, joy, laughter, accomplishments, lovet etc.
    3 words on day 3 of 2013 : Good omen I say!
    DARE: I will dare whatever my heart and intuition inspires me to do. I just recently launched my business in marketing at a time when I dared to fulfill a dream. As part of my personality, being daring has allowed me to connect with people whom may seem unaccessible to others. I’m challenging myself to maintain that momentum with creativity and strategy.
    MOMENTUM: Momentum is like a dance. I love to dance. I will move to the rhythm of opportunities.
    TRUST: In the launch of a new business, trust will be a key word to pursue the plan and vision. In abundance I trust and in sharing I trust.
    This was a fun. Thank you Mitch for your inspiration.

  10. I like your choice of 3 words. We forget to be inquisitive. So much to learn from being at times a little more curious. Imagine there is no box, rather then imagine outside the box. Expertise. Knowledge. trust. capacities.

  11. Thanks, Sylvie. I like your saying: “Imagine there is no box, rather than imagine outside the box”.
    I think ‘Dare’ is a very positive word. Dare to be different. Dare to take chances. Dare to be successful!
    Good luck!

  12. I love this idea – but put a little twist on it. For the last several years, I’ve created a project (some personal, some professional) for myself to stretch the envelope and get momentum going.
    My first big project was a photography project on Ski Patrollers at work on avalanche control in the Rocky Mountains. Three years ago I decided to run a 2 year study comparing one year of cold calling to one year of social media for prospecting. This past year I my project was to write up a case study on that experiment.
    During that year of social media experimentation I experienced “FLOW”. A feeling I’d not experienced that much since playing rugby in university.
    This year I’ve designed a Self-Directed Learning project on branding, marketing, sales and innovation (a PersonalMBA kind of thing) to attempt to accelerate my LEARNING, and do something REMARKABLE.
    These would be my 3 words – Flow, Learning, Remarkable.

  13. Thanks. Choosing the 3 words for the 2013 was a great exercise.
    Good luck to you

  14. I loved the exercise of choosing 3 words for 2013. They have now become engraved in my brain. Like 3 tattoos… always visible. It wasn’t an easy exercise but hey! was worth the effort.
    Cheers !

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