Sunday, January 02, 2011

My Three Words: Ask, Focus, Prioritize

My friend and fellow Dad-O-Matic cohort, Chris Brogan, has been espousing the merits of "three words" for at least three years (if not more), and I have always avoided jumping on the bandwagon...until now.

The idea behind "three words" is perhaps simpler than the traditional "New Year's Resolution" routine, and thus, perhaps, we'll be more likely to retain our commitment to "three words" well into the remainder of the year and long after we have resolutely given up on our resolutions. Your three words are intended to be guideposts...  to serve as directional inspirations you can refer to at all times to ensure that the intent and spirit of your current goals and objectives are leading you down your chosen path. You set your goals. You are in the driver's seat to execute them. Your three words are there to remind you why you may have set such a course for yourself and how you intend to make it so. With that in mind, my first goal of 2011 is to give "three words" a shot. Therefore, herewith, I present...

My Three Words for 2011:

ASK. This little three letter word is very powerful. Used properly, ask can help you gain - gain knowledge, gain responsibility, even gain more business and money. Whether you are asking for the sale, or asking because you don't know, an important lesson to learn is that "if you don't ask, you don't get!" A short time into my first job out of college I had the chance to go on a business trip assisting the Founder/CEO of the company, who was also my boss. We were at dinner in a foreign land and I was thrilled to be on my first business trip. Perhaps feeling a bit full of myself (or perhaps feeling the effects of one of my first experiences with a "good" bottle of wine) I blurted out to my boss, "I think I should get a raise!" He looked at me, surprised. Then smiled, and said ok, and told me what my new salary would be. He also said it was really too soon for me to get a bump in pay, but since I asked... After all, he continued, "If you don't ask, you don't get, and that's a good lesson for you to learn." He was right, but over the years I have often forgotten the importance of asking. Therefore, one of my words for 2011 is to ASK!

FOCUS. When I was graduating High School, my English Teacher, Mr. Pospisil, who was greatly admired and respected, wrote some very nice things to me in my year book, but in the middle of all his encouraging compliments, he also said, "Don't spread yourself too thin..." At the time, I thought it was odd, but over the years I've come to recognize how prescient his words were. I like to think that I am good at many things, but as a result, I do often do too many things at once, and as Mr. P perhaps predicted, many times I have indeed found myself in the predicament of having been spread too thin. It is something I am aware of and know I need to work on, so my second word for 2011 is intended to help me heed the words of my High School teacher and FOCUS. Focus on what's important. Focus on what I am doing at the moment. Focus on what will actually "move the needle. Just FOCUS.

PRIORITIZE. My last of the three words is partially related to number two, FOCUS, but I think it is strong enough to stand on its own as word of guidance for 2011. We live in a busy world, constantly connected, constantly fed data, information, images, news, entertainment, advertisements, buzzes, beeps, tweets.  We juggle jobs, family, friends, hobbies, finances, fitness... a LOT of stuff. To plow through it all sanely and successfully it is essential to effectively PRIORITIZE. To make order out of life's potential chaos, we need to put things in their proper order. I want to work much harder and better at prioritizing in all aspects of my life, and thus I have prioritized my three words for 2011 to be sure to include PRIORITIZE.

So, there you have it, my three words... What do you think?  Do you have three words that will guide you in 2011? I had to ASK! :-)

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