Every year, I participate in Chris Brogan’s 3 words exercise. Rather than make resolutions, I use the words to guide me as a personal mantra.

Last year’s words were agility, kaizen, and research. How did I do?

Agility was no problem, from developing new tools to changing many aspects of my life. New people, new ideas. Lots of changes happened in 2015, and changing with them was no trouble.

Kaizen was tough. I discovered that while I was making improvements, I found it hard to make those improvements on a regular schedule, which defines kaizen.

Research was also no problem. I learned more in 2015 than I have in many years, in lots of new areas from Russian fast draw archery to machine learning algorithms.

So, what are my words for 2016?



Strengthen. This applies to all areas of my life: physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual. What made kaizen less successful in 2015 was my lack of strength in some areas. I’ve already embarked on a major financial restructuring of my personal life, making significant improvements. Now, I need to do the same everywhere.

Challenge. In 2015, two of my words were too easy. I am agile by nature; I am curious by nature. Those are not weaknesses. To grow in 2016, I must challenge my weaknesses, my fears, do the things I know I need to do, but don’t want to do. I must challenge the status quo, challenge old ways of doing things that don’t work as well as they should. I must challenge the people around me.

Own. In 2015, I did fail spectacularly in one area of my life. I failed to own. By failed to own, I mean own in the sense of take responsibility for. I didn’t own my time especially well: I traveled more than ever. Some of it was absolutely necessary. Some of it was not. I didn’t own my time personally as well as I could have. I didn’t own my voice; looking back over the last two weeks as I wrote my latest book, I realized how little ownership I exert over my own words. In 2016, I must own more of who I am and what I do. Finally, I didn’t own my attention and focus as well as I should have. In 2016, my focus must be relentless to accomplish my goals. I must own focus above all else.

Strengthen. Challenge. Own. These are my words to live by in 2016.

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