In 2013, I read, wrote, and shared a LOT of words.
But it was a conscious choice to focus on just ONE…all year long…that changed everything for me.
Let me explain.
Choosing a Word of the Year
As 2012 came to a close, my sister Stacey told me about an idea she’d gotten from a coworker’s email. The idea was to choose a WORD for the new year (as opposed to a resolution).
Fact: I’ve never been big on resolutions.
Evidence: The first “food” I consumed in 2014 was a peanut M&M.
Not surprisingly, I loved the idea of choosing just choosing ONE word to focus on. A theme for the year.
Simple, powerful, effective. I was in.
How It Changed Everything
At the start of 2013, I was a military wife and toddler mom with a master’s degree, happily earning “paychecks of the heart” as a part-time college professor and park ranger. I knew this year would bring some big changes for our family, so I chose a word as my resolution: FAITH.
I started waking up before my husband and son each morning to take some quiet time. To greet the day before being jolted to consciousness by the sound of the baby monitor. To my surprise, after the first week or so, I started to look forward to getting out of bed each morning. I was inspired.
At that time, I’d been writing and sharing stories over on my personal blog for about a year. Since the start of it, I’d received all kinds of encouraging Facebook posts and comments from friends and family:
“I love everything you write.”
“When are you going to write a book?”
“You’ve really got a gift, Nik.”
I started to see these sweet notes as divine confirmation. Bread crumbs leading to a bigger path I was meant to take.
I realized that throughout my whole life, my friends, family, professors, and colleagues had encouraged me to share my gift for communicating, connecting, and storytelling in a bigger way. And while it was scary to admit, I realized that “going big” wasn’t just an option anymore. It was an inevitability.
Bottom line: Facing a bunch of unknowns, I decided to store up some spiritual nuts for winter. My word of 2013: FAITH.
The Truth About My Spiritual Nuts
NOTE: In case you’re wondering, my spiritual nuts happen to be of the Jesus-loving variety. And as a result, I love you (in the non-awkward neighborly sense) no matter what kind of spiritual nuts you like to store :)
So here’s what happened.
Even though the whole “waking up early” thing got all kinds of messed up as soon as we crossed the Pacific for a family visit in March, I DID manage to get in a daily devotional or bible study on MOST days of MOST months in 2013, and for me – that’s huge. Really huge.
Til then (or actually, December 2012 when another lovely Stacey invited me to join a Good Morning Girls advent study), I hadn’t had followed through with a daily quiet time for more than a few days in a row. I kicked off 2013 with a solid three-month run, and BOOM: Life changed in a big way.
After a full year of conscious effort to grow my faith, I’ve got a lot of answers, and a lot of questions. Most of all I have a deeper desire to KEEP growing, learning, exploring, talking, sharing, and questioning. And I think God’s totally cool with that.
The Most Unexpected Byproduct
Given my word choice, spiritual growth was to be expected in 2013. But this business…and this long-term path that now seems SUPER-obvious to me? This whole world of possibility wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye this time last year.
(If you wanna make God laugh, tell Him your plans, right?!)
Truly. If you would’ve told me all of THIS – my business and crazy launch story, this post and all those that preceded it, the three Ugandan wells we funded, the brand new program I’m about to launch, my fancy new brand pants that will premiere in the spring – would’ve happened as a result of choosing to focus on my faith, I would’ve laughed in your beautiful face.
This little gem in particular would’ve REALLY made my head spin:
In my This Girl Means Business piece in December, I also confessed (and admittedly freaked out in doing so) that it’s very possible I could break six figures by the end of my first year in business.
- I can’t believe I admitted that “out loud” to over 70,000 people I’ve never met (and now to YOU, which is oddly scarier!).
- I can’t believe it’s actually TRUE.
Listen, dude. For the last few years, most of my paychecks didn’t even have commas in ’em. (And to be honest, I was still thankful, because a) working at Pearl Harbor was a dream, and b) being “underemployed” was better than being unemployed.)
But I’m not afraid to admit this: The fact that I’m very close to busting through the imaginary income ceiling I’d gotten comfy with after grad school is huge. Scary. A bit nauseating, totally affirming, and all possible because I chose ONE meaningful word.
Pretty crazy, right?!
So here we are, friend, with a brand-new year ahead of us. I’m pretttty sure my word of 2014 will be PRESENCE, probably because it’s the one I’m resisting the most. My runners up are boundaries and intuition. (I think they’re all related.)
But what I really want to know is what YOU want to focus on this year. Before you go about your day, take a minute to tell me right here in the comments:
What’s YOUR word of 2014 (and why)?
To using YOUR word(s) in 2014,
P.S. In case you haven’t heard yet, I’m cooking up something HUGE over here. Click below to check it out:
P.P.S. Fun fact: Our Buying Hawaii episode is available on iTunes – who knew!? It’s called “Pearl Harbor to Paradise.” Click here to check it out (and PLEASE remember my winky faces. TV magic, friend. TV magic.).