It was on the Sunday before Christmas that the youth director told us to consider who we wanted to be in the coming year. I was a shy and naïve teenager, and couldn’t who or what I wanted to be. But against all odds, I went ahead and wrote the three words on the paper he had provided us: courageous, determined, and faithful (full of faith).
Those three words were my equivalent to facing Goliath with a few smooth stones and a slingshot. They truly were giants in my eyes. How could I possibly be courageous? How could someone terrified of life be determined? And how could I, a simple Texas girl, with no outstanding gifts or talents, possibly be faithful?
But I wrote the words down, and tucked them away in the middle of my Bible, hoping no one would ever see them, because they would surely laugh.
That little exercise was life altering for me.
For many years since, I take time toward the end of the year to consider who I want to be/become in the coming year.
I would like to encourage you to do the same.
I recall our youth director saying that if they were words that were easy for us, that they were not the right words to write on the sheet of paper. He explained that they should be words that would stretch us outside of our comfort zone.
I had never heard the words before, and I remember wondering what a comfort zone was, but I certainly never had enough courage to ask. Thankfully one of my friends did.
His response was, “Your comfort zone is the place you like to hide.“ I knew a lot about the places I liked to hide. I likde to hide behind my mother’s skirt when I was a little girl. As I started school I liked to hide behind my friends, or my sister. Then in high school I liked to hide anywhere possible.
It never had crossed my mind that who I was created to be was being hidden under a bushel by my choice. Did you ever sing that song as a kid, “ This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine.“
The revelation that I had a light, and I was hiding it under a bushel was a powerful awakening to me. My three words came from that little revelation I had sitting in that little Sunday School Class in La Porte Texas.
If I were to come out from under the bushel, it would definitely require courage, determination, and faithfulness.
Because I dared to write those three words down (even though I hid them shortly after I wrote them) … it became pivotal.
Who do you want to be and become in the coming year?
This is the time of year when people consider New Year’s resolutions. Research says that the average time New Year’s resolutions are actually practiced is between 10 and 17 days.
However, for the people who choose to write them down, the average time expands to between 60 and 90 days.
I definitely do some planning for the year in advance, although I do not call them New Year’s resolutions. However, before I ever even consider my strategic goals for the year, I first pause and reflect on who I want to be and become for the year. Because that is the foundation for all my endeavors.
Through the years I’ve change the way I go about doing that. I choose one keyword for my year, and use it as an acronym to define who and what I want to become for the year.
For example last year my foundational word was “DEVOTED.”
I broke it down into an acronym describing who I wanted to be/become during 2019:
D estiny shaper
E nergizer bunny
V aluable content creator
O utrageously fun
T rue love dispenser
E ndlessly kind
D ream inspirer
Who do you want to be/become in 2020? Choose your power word. Turn it into an acronym.
But don’t tuck it away as I did on my first venture. Write it down and review it daily. I keep my acronym in the front of my daily planner so that I see it every day. It is also a major part of my morning routine. After my time of gratitude, my time of prayer and meditation, I read it out loud with great enthusiasm! Yes, even if I don’t feel like it!
Why am I so devoted to this habit? Because as I said earlier, that little exercise as a teenager in my Sunday School Class was pivotal for me. Writing down those three words: courageous, determined, and faithful… Actually bloomed in a quite miraculous way that year.
I knew when I heard about the mission trip to work with orphaned children in the Dominican Republic that it would require every bit of the courage, determination and faithfulness that I could muster. I was terrified of flying, I was terrified of not speaking their language, I wish terrified of going to a country where there was unrest.
I was also terrified about raising the money. But I did all of it. Afraid? YES! But I did it anyway. It was an experience that shaped my destiny.
Even this past week, I have reflected on what an majorly influential experience that was to me.
I have a friend and colleague who is an amazing Executive Coach, but she also teaches second graders. She teaches in a school where many of her students are latchkey kids, and too often kids are removed from her classroom by (CPS) Child Protective Services, because they come from such disadvantaged and often abusive homes.
While other kids are counting the days until Santa comes, and have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads… These kids are worried about whether or not they will have enough food to eat on a two-week break. They have little or no hope of gifts under a tree.
With great courage and determination, I invited my Life Coach community to join me in providing Christmas for these kids. On Friday, we delivered 52 gift bags, 20 pizzas, 8 boxes of frosted cookies, 6 boxes of frosted brownies, 3 barrels of cheeseballs, dozens of sugar cookies, and tons of love.
Their gift bags were filled with food, coloring books and colors, silly string, little etcha sketches, and tons of LOVE. From the celebration dancing and squeals of delight, you would have thought we brought them acres of diamonds.
As I listened to the squeals, watched them jumping up and down, and saw them carefully pack food to take home to their siblings, my heart broke … And I thought to myself… What if my youth director had never brought that experience to us? What if I had not dared to write down those three words? Clearly what was before my eyes was directly connected! (Thank you to my Life Coaches, who donated generously, shopped tirelessly, assembled bags, loaded bags in my SUV in superb Tetris style, picked up and delivered pizzas, etc. And thank you, my amazing friend, Lisa Burns, for allowing us the privilege to bless your kids, who we lovingly call “Lisa’s Kidz.”)
I don’t know where you are in your life at this point. But I can tell you this: my life when I first practiced this exercise was at a very low place. Whether you are on top of the world or you feel like you are at Ground Zero… This exercise can be pivotal for you. And your destiny. Many years later, you will continue to see the powerful effects of it. I encourage you… Get started today!
Choose a power word.
Turn it into an acronym of who you want to be.
Speak it out daily.
Watch your life begin to take on a new shape!
I hope you will join me on my personal mission to make the world a better place, one heart at a time. Start with your heart, then pass it on! Whether you are reading this in December or January or July… Start now! It’s never too late to see your personal transformation and to see your dreams begin to take shape!