My 3 Words For 2017

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017. What’s your plan?

It’s the second day of the new year, and you are already stressing out… aren’t you? (Maybe I’m just projecting). You’ve set up your resolutions. You’ve 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. I did what I normally do: I put a little bit of time aside to choose my three words that will define my 2017.

Only three words?

Every year, Chris Brogan 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.”

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 pressure is on. It’s a good pressure, but it’s pressure. Especially with the year that I just had. 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 have decided to make them public (as I have done for the past few years), 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 2017:

  • Next. What’s next? About halfway through this year, I had some meetings with my speaking agents. As the years peel off, it’s 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 that business (over a decade ago), I was known as the “personal brand” speaker. This quickly evolved into the “social media” speaker, and this (kind of) evolved into the “digital marketing” speaker. None of those are “off,” but they’re not the full scope of what I do. Plus, if a brand calls my bureau and asks for a speaker who can talk about “what’s next in business and consumer behavior,” I’m often not thought of, because these agents are still thinking “personal branding”, “social media”, etc… This year, I’m going to have them (and my content) focus on what it’s really about: what’s next? (And what’s now!). Also, the new tagline/mission for Mirum (our agency) is “let’s make what’s next.” I love the line… I love the sentiment. This year, “next” is going to be where I put my focus and energy. From the content that you read here, to the thinking for clients to the stuff you can expect me to say from the stage. 
  • Connect. I’ve been deeply depressed about the state of social media. Everything that was written in The Cluetrain Manifesto back in 1999 came to be (some of the thinking is still evolving, and will come true in the coming years). That is the best part. With that, the social media space evolved so quickly, that it also became highly monetized by advertising. The monetization has created giant new media companies (take a look at Facebook, Google, Snapchat, etc…). These social spaces, where real human beings could have real interactions has become a “pay to play” arena. You could have millions of followers, but now, you have to boost, pay and advertise for your online voice to get heard. Social media is a paid media channel channel. It’s easy to just accept this and turn all of your content into an ad. I’m going to ignore this. Seriously. I’m going to go back to the days when I first started writing this blog (2003). I am going to focus on using my words and my audio work (podcasting) to connect more with you. Not just the content. I want to, personally, connect more with the people who enjoy this content… and I want to be more connected to the content that you are creating and sharing. If we all agree to connect a little bit more in 2017, I believe we can reverse this very dangerous trend of allowing social media to be a paid channel (only). Also, some of my closest friends are people that I met by the content that is created in social spaces. That was special. That can be special again.
  • Reclaim. This is a tough one. It’s a tough one to share, because I don’t (ever) really put my personal stuff “out there.” I often tell people that I prefer to be very personable, without being personal, but I have serious work to do on the personal front. It’s not about improving over the last year, but it is about reclaiming the “me” that I know (and liked best). I need to reclaim three very specific areas of my life for 2017. These are areas that were habitual for many years, that I let go of (and I’m the worse for it). 1. My writing. I lost my level of frequency. I need to amp this up and reclaim my daily writing ritual. 2. My reading. I used to read 2-3 books a week. I’m not sure that I read ten books all year. I skimmed, bought and talked up books that I, candidly, did not read with the same intensity and scrutiny as I have in the past. I need to spend more time in the books and less time skimming the feeds. 3. My fitness. This will be the toughest. I need to take better physical care of what I eat, develop a proper exercise regiment that is adaptive to my family/travel schedule, and reclaim my meditation/mindfulness practice. None of these will be easy. The work has already begun. 

What three words will define your 2017?