My Three Words for 2014: Balance, Appreciate, Matter


I don't make New Year's Resolutions.  For the past few years, I've used the time between years to do something of a personal retrospective on the year and choose three words that represent a theme to shape my goals and actions this year.

My three words for 2014 are balance, appreciate, and matter.

Balance: As my family, friends, and coworkers have noticed, my life has become a bit unbalanced over the past three months.  I am so blessed with a great job, doing meaningful work at a great company leading a fantastic team.  But the rest of my life has become out of balance.  I'm not running, reading, writing, reading, vacationing, or just being with my friends and family enough.  But as a dear friend reminded me, the imbalance isn't forever.  It's just for a season.  Things will get better.  My quest for balance this year is more than just between work and everything else.  I will be more intentional in seeking balance between planing and doing, listening and talking, centering and expanding, simplifying and adding detail, spiritual and physical.  Those details won't make sense to you.  And that's okay.  I'm balancing what I share with you and share only with close friends.

Appreciate:  During the part of last year when I was taking time off between careers, it was easy for me to be build a habit of appreciating what the universe provided. But it's hard for me to maintain that outlook when I'm back to working full time.  So this year I will make a concerted effort to show the same love, concern, and appreciation that came so easily for me during that space last year.  I need to carry that same spirit into 2014.  

Matter:  This is a repeat from last year.  Last year I used it as a reminder to be intentional about the work I did during my final months serving the Coast Guard.  It was also my hope that a path would be revealed to me to find work that mattered after the Coast Guard.  I've been blessed to find that.  I haven't shared many details on the blog, but I'm thankful to be doing work that truly matters.  I lead a great team working on a tough problem that will make a real difference in the way a federal agency accomplishes its mission.  It is work that matters, and I need to remind myself of that more often.  I need to approach my own work in a more mindful way, keeping focused on the things I can do that matter most:  satisfying the mission, teaching others within the team, and developing new leaders for the company.  And I need to bring the same outlook in areas other than work, reminding myself to do the things that matter most as husband, father, and individual being.

Balance, Appreciate, Matter.  BAM.  It's 2014.

Here are my three words from the past:

2010: Focus, Simplify, Connect
2011: Focus, Simplify, Connect
2012: Care, Simplify, Share
2013: Matter, Simplify, Renew

If you think this kind of introspection is something you might find useful, I encourage you to head over to Chris Brogan's blog.  I stole the "three words" idea from him.  Here's a link to the 2009 post that first caught my eye:

And here's his post from today with his list for 2014: