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Every year since 2006, friends of Chris Brogan put together our three words for the coming year that define what we’re focusing on in the coming year. They’re not goals, but more like rails or guides that help keep us moving in the general correct direction. Here are mine for 2012.

MFA Buddhist Art


When I look at what I’ve created in the past few years, there’s value in the content. How-to lessons, detailed research, data and techniques, but something’s been missing. Something’s been lacking. On the way home from the dojo one night, I was listening to master teacher Stephen K. Hayes talking about how the deeper lessons of both Buddhism and ninjutsu are transmitted. He said, “We’re going to tell a few stories here, and hopefully this will evoke some stories in your mind of your own. That’s how this training works.” At that moment I realized exactly what has been missing from a lot of my work. In 2012, one of my three words and focus points will be on better learning this skill.


One of the more interesting healing classes in World of Warcraft is the restoration druid. Rather than heal with holy powers and flashes of light, the druid uses the powers of nature to restore allies to health. Regrowth, nourish, rejuvenation, lifebloom, swiftmend, tranquility. Here’s what’s powerful about the idea of restoration druid spells on real life: so much of what we’ve done in the past few years has burned everything to the ground. We’ve exhausted our email lists. We’ve tapped out our social networks. We’ve cut staff down to the bone to scrape up a few extra pennies per share on earnings calls. In short, we’ve depleted all of our resources and wondered why our marketing is getting less and less effective. In 2012, one of my study points will be restoration. How do we continue to be effective as marketers while restoring our resources to health?

This extends to personal life as well. When you go all-out, inevitably, something has to suffer. My question to myself is, how can I bring restoration and regrowth to areas of my life other than business?


Originally I had chosen something else for the third word, but as I was looking over the years, I thought it’d make 2012 more challenging and interesting to focus on something I’m not good at. Compassion I mean in the Buddhist sense – the ability to see through your own issues and feelings enough to understand what someone else is going through and provide some kind of legitimate help. One of the greatest dangers of social media, particularly as you start to develop any kind of following, is that you tend to attract like-minded people. As a result, you hear less and less about things you disagree with, things that challenge you, things that make you think. When all you hear is how awesome you are (whether you are or not) you face the great danger of your ego overwhelming any good work you’re providing. I have heard in the back of my mind from time to time the ugly, egotistical whisper that says, “this (person/place/thing/task) is below me”. It’s exactly at those moments when compassion can provide a much-needed bitch slap upside the head to bring reality back into the picture.

My task for 2012 is to be more rigorous and more disciplined in my own mind, guarding against that ever-growing danger.

So there you have it, my three words for 2012: story, restoration, compassion. Blog yours and leave a link in the comments!

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