Episode 88 – 2021 Success Map Series | Word for the year

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Across this 5-part podcast series, I chat with co-facilitator of Leaders Who Give A Damn, Becky Hammond from Isogo Strong on how to create your success map to learn from 2020 and set your sights for success in 2021. We cover topics such as growth mindset, reflection, goal setting, actions, accountability & partnerships, and word for the year.

In this final episode of the series, we dive into your word of the year – again using the supportive Success Map 2021 resource as we go.

The ‘word of the year’ concept has been around for a really long time (even as far back as the 1940s) and for good reason! It is an intentional theme, an anchor word, to take you through the year and keep coming back to. But if it hasn’t dropped in yet, don’t despair! Think of the process of figuring out your word as an invitation, not a pressure.
We end on inviting you to bring your word into each day by asking a reflection question: How am I being *insert word* today?

Key points:

  • Let your word of the year just drop in – don’t force it
  • Your word of the year doesn’t necessarily need to be an action-based one – it could convey that you need more space
  • Allow your word of the year to inspire you and shift your energy
  • Bring your word into daily action via the process of reflection.
To create your own 2021 Success Map, head over to the Leaders Who Give a Damn website for the free resource which contains the workbook for this podcast episode.

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Murray Guest  00:01

Hi, everyone, welcome to conversation five in the Success Map 2021 series and this one is all about that word or mantra for the year to help you achieve your goals. Becky, you and I were just chatting about how we’re excited about this one.


Becky Hammond  00:17

Yeah, I’ve been saying I said that I’ve been getting through every conversation just to get to this one, it just feels like the most fun, the most creative. And in some ways, it has the potential to be the most impactful.


Murray Guest  00:30

I also want to recall something you said to me also, it seems to be something that is gaining popularity, more people seem to be doing this as well, which I love. And I’m loving seeing the different words or phrases people are coming up with to help them feel centered and work towards those goals this year. And yeah, I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve loved our conversations as well. So please, if you haven’t listened to those make sure you listen to the previous conversations we’ve had about setting yourself for success in 2021, as we’ve stepped through the success map, and if you don’t have it, it’s a free resource available at leaderswhogiveadamn.com/successmap2021. It’s also on the resources tab, go grab it from there and listen to the previous conversations to help you set for success this year.


Becky Hammond  01:18

Yep. And we’re at the bottom of page four today. This is the last half of that last page and the little icon there talking about mindset, and what that word or your set of words might be that will, well now that you’ve done all this work, right? You’ve reflected on 2020. You are thinking about what would be what, in all areas of my life? What are some goals that I have? And now this last conversation we’re talking about how can we chunk it down so that we can start now to make actionable change. By bringing people alongside us who can hold us accountable. And so let’s talk about that word. So where does this come from? What’s this idea that we have around creating a word or a mantra for the year?


Murray Guest  02:10

For me personally, it started about six years ago, in a conversation with another leader who said, Hey, I do this. And I was like, Oh, that’s a great idea. And I started doing it. And I’ve been doing it since and sharing it with different people. And I certainly am not the inventor or the creator of it. But it’s something I picked up from this leader and after doing a bit of research, it seems like it’s been around for a while. I mean, dictionaries produce their words for the year and things like that. Time has that person of the year, I have found some article about someone suggesting a word for the year back in 1945, in a letter to Time Magazine, so to find the actual origins is quite hard, to find where it started. I’ve also heard Oprah talk about it and other people that do work in personal development and professional as well. I think it links beautifully to mindset. And you just mentioned that too Becky, at the bottom of page four where we talk about the word or phrase and our mindset. So I mean, this may be an obvious one. But we want to pick a word or a phrase that connects with you, that supports that growth mindset, that supports you having a mindset that helps you work towards those goals. So a word like ‘Fear’ maybe doesn’t sit real well…


Becky Hammond  03:22

I mean, is that your guide? Is that the sense that you want to be your guide the entire year? Probably not. We talked about that, in our first conversation, this first episode of the series, about what is the growth mindset? And why does that matter? Why is it important? And so now we’re looping all the way back around. How do we attach a word or a phrase that’s meaningful to that growth mindset.


Murray Guest  03:45

And just like companies have values and a set of values, and it might be four or five words which underpin the culture, some companies do that really well. Where those values or principles are integrated into their culture and their organization. Whereas others not so well. Honestly, I think one of the best organizations I’ve seen do this really well is Masterfoods, which is part of Mars Incorporated. I worked there for 11 years. And I left there 16 years ago. And I can still recall the five principles that the Mars family came up with – quality, responsibility, efficiency, mutuality and freedom. Because of how well ingrained they were into everything we did. Into the systems, into our conversations, where we work with suppliers and with consumers. And it was just done so well. And just like this word or phrase for you, it’s not about coming up with a word today or tomorrow and saying, Okay, that’s it. It’s about this word or phrase embedding into your life in a few different ways to ground you and help you as you work towards those goals. Becky, what are some of the words or phrases you’ve used before? That’s helped you.


Becky Hammond  04:59

I’ve been reflecting. This is really fascinating, even an exercise to go back through and say, Okay, what did I set out at the beginning of the year with this overall sense of where I was going, what words that I used as well as driving and defining visions. One of the years, I used ‘sleep and silence’ as my two guiding words. And I just…


Murray Guest  05:27

I want to jump in. I’m so excited that you’ve picked those words.


Becky Hammond  05:31

Because ever in my life, pick those words.


Murray Guest  05:35

Because they’re not words I think that people might automatically think of, but there’s some inspiration there. And here I am rudely interrupting. I’m just excited. The sleep and silence is fantastic.


Becky Hammond  05:47

Well, they’re not heavy action words, right? Like they’re not go getter words. But yet, what I was realizing from the reflection on the previous year is, I had no margins, I had no opportunities for thoughtfulness, or I don’t know, little opportunities for thoughtfulness. And I was exhausted. And so what is it that I can do to focus on that? Well, let’s just put these words in front of me and be like, okay, when I have a choice, I need to prioritize sleep. And I need to prioritize silence. And when I look back on that year, it was a really trying year, my husband was deployed, I was pregnant with our third baby who was born while he was gone. And towards the end of that year, my mom passed away, so she was sick that entire year. Like, I look back on that, it feels almost providential that I was trying to prioritize things that bring rest, and things that bring reflection and thoughtfulness so that I can look back on that year and not regret it and not be in a fog the entire year. So I mean, that feels like the power of setting those words. And then, you know, the power of reflection of looking back like, yeah, that was a not just functional, but inspiring guide for division and day to day life.


Murray Guest  07:09

Can I ask, do you recall throughout that year referring to those words of sleep and silence, to help you to guide you throughout the year? Or did you like set them and forget? 


Becky Hammond  07:22

I think they can be powerful actually, either way. But I did, I had them on our refrigerator.I had written them on this little card, actually, that my sister had sent me. Through her business, she had sent out an inspiration to everybody that she had worked with in the previous year saying, hey, what word would you maybe put before you for this coming year, and so she had like, a little cute thing that you could write it on. So I wrote it on there. And then I just stuck it to our refrigerator. And so there were times often the tired times of like, you know, looking again through the frigerator like, what are we going to eat to feed these humans, that seem to want to eat every day? It’s comforting. And, and to say, like, Okay, how am I how am I prioritizing sleep and silence? And it wasn’t always possible. But in those moments where I could, yeah, I tried to put those in front of me and make them make a difference in how my year went.


Murray Guest  08:17

I love how, and I actually can visualize, you walk to the fridge thinking, Okay, I’m juggling feeding my children and thinking about your mom and everything that’s going on and David being away. And then you’re like, Okay, but silence…if I can create some of that space for my own silence, that’s going to help me be at my best for others as well. And setting you as you go along throughout the year. Another perspective that you were talking about recently, which I love, because maybe some people feel pressured about, oh, I’ve got to pick a word for the year. What is my word? Everyone else is doing it. I haven’t had my divine download of word or whatever it is. Yep. But Leeana talks about the invitation. Tell us about that.


Becky Hammond  09:07

So Leeana Tankersley, she’s an author who I follow, who is a very real, raw writer. And one of the things that she challenged people to do this year was to come up with their word of the year, but she gave them a little how-to tutorial and one of the things that she mentioned in there was that this is an invitation. This is not pressure, allow the process and the word itself to be an invitation into the year. You know, like when I was setting sleep and silence, that’s like, like you said, it’s not like a go getter. And it’s not that inspirational. In my mind at the time, it was not inspirational.But could it be an invitation into something else. Into, in our case, as we’ve been going through this Success Map 2021 like, could it be an invitation into how you might achieve your goals or the way you feel as you’re working towards meeting those goals every day? And then it takes the pressure off because an invitation is lovely. It’s not pushing you, it’s not driving you, it’s just inviting you in.


Murray Guest  10:10

Yeah, and I’m just thinking how this might look for some people. And let’s say you’re taking a road trip, and you’ve got your destination, that’s where you’re working towards. You’ve got your map or your phone with your map on it. And you’ve got your path planned out where you’re going to go on this road trip. But then you need some fuel in that vehicle, in your car, to get you there. This is that fuel that keeps you going, to keep you moving forward. I’ll be honest, Becky, start of last year, I felt a bit like oh I haven’t come up with a word for the year, my friends have and some of the leaders I’ve been talking to have come up with a word, and you know, why am I not good enough? Where’s my word? One of those moments. And then the word that hit me was ‘everyday’. And I don’t know where it came from, I can’t recall. But it certainly helped me through 2020 to think about everyday, how am I showing up to be my best? How am I showing up for my clients, for my family, as a father, as a husband, for my friends, as a son to my mum, so all of that, and then everyday for my own wellbeing and health like, am I drinking enough water everyday? Am I stretching everyday? Am I investing in my learning? And I recall throughout 2020 when it was tough, I would slip and think okay, and everyday is written on the bathroom mirror. So I brush my teeth or have a shave, and I’d say everyday, okay. So that, again, no pressure, it just came to me. And that really helped me and grounded me throughout 2020.


Becky Hammond  11:44

And I mean, I love them in this like huge connectedness moment for me, because I love that the word everyday was something that you put before you knew what type of year 2020 was gonna be. And that really, the leaders who thrive the most were those who are present everyday, right? Who just said, okay, today’s a new day, we do not know what it’s going to hold. But I’m going to show up with the grace and kindness that we’ve talked about in previous podcast episodes that aired earlier in 2020. And that, that there was an everyday element to really thriving in 2020, that you had to kind of show up just afresh everyday, what’s going to happen today, and have an attitude and perspective that kind of matches with that. So, man, I love that.


Murray Guest  12:33

So a couple of points for people listening to help them come up with a word or a phrase that might work for them. One is there’s no monopoly on words. So if you hear a word or a phrase from someone, and you think, oh, they’ve already taken it, I can’t have it. Let that go. Someone might have picked the word like courage, and you think, Oh, I want to have courage as well. So that’s totally fine. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is, if you’re looking for a word or phrase, and you want to do this, and you’re not finding something come to you, change your environment, go for a walk, you know, move around the house. If you’re in lock down or not locked down right now, whatever you can do, you might be able to go for a walk outside or just stand outside or go, you know if you can get out in nature and go for a walk or ride or whatever it might be. But change your environment and just think and ponder. And my third recommendation is if you’re still thinking, grab a blank piece of paper and just start writing down words, just write down lots and lots of different words. And something will just pop out to you also through that process as well. You might do a mind map or list of words, whatever works for you. But you’ll start to just jot those down, and a couple will jump off the page. And then which one feels right for you. And I got my word last week through going for a ride on my bike, as I love to do. And then this word came to me and it’s set with me and it’s stuck. And I felt it in the stomach. I was like, Ah, yes, that’s the word that’s going to help me be at my best in 2021. What’s your word? You can’t leave us hanging. ….and tune in next time! So I was thinking about this idea of upleveling or you know, how can I improve in what I do? And how can I improve in general. And I thought that doesn’t sound really inspiring or exhilarating. And the word that popped into my head at the time was ‘thrive’. And we’ve got a few indoor plants at the moment. And those indoor plants when they get a new leaf we celebrate like, Oh, look at that this one’s growing and it’s beautiful. And they’re thriving, and how do we get the sunlight and the water just right? And vegetable garden has been thriving. So when that word came to me, it just set really well and for me it’s about how can I thrive this year personally, professionally, help my clients thrive, help the leaders that you and I work with Becky thrive, so that we can be all at our best, and not just get through the year, but thrive. And so I’m really inspired by how I can integrate that into my day to day actions as not just a coach and a facilitator, but just as a person.


Becky Hammond  15:25

Yeah. Cool. So do you have any ideas about how you’re gonna like, wrap that into your daily reminders? You talked about on the bottom of your success map there, it says reminders are a great way to help you maintain your mindset. And of course, keep this at the top of your mind, what are you going to do to put that in front of you everyday.


Murray Guest  15:43

So for those listening, you won’t be able to see this, but it’s already on my phone screen, I just held up to if you’re watching this on YouTube. So it’s on my phone screen, it’s on the mirror, I’ll be writing a blog about it as well. And sharing. And also, I do a weekly review just how things are going, what’s on, what’s coming up. And just bringing that into that as well. So how am I thriving? Think about some questions there. But I think being the person I am and the more I talk about it, the more it gets it a lot. So talking about it with my clients and talking about it with my friends and family. And having those conversations will definitely help me integrate that in. Now drumroll drumroll please.


Becky Hammond  16:33

What are we drumrolling for?


Murray Guest  16:35

Becky’s word or phrase for 2021.


Becky Hammond  16:39

Oh, man, talk about accountability! Okay, so I’ve been kicking around a lot of stuff. I’ve been asking all sorts of people. Speaking of people not having monopolies on words, there’s several people, not several, two people from two totally different areas of my life said that their phrases for the year were do less, better. I mean, it is that, there could be books written about that, probably. And so I just I love that as an inspiration. And my dad, who’s the hardest worker I know and who loves his job probably more than anybody and anyone that I’ve ever met, says maybe just do less. Instead of do less, better, just do less. You know, there could be a point where you’re just like, Yeah, I just need more space. So as I’ve been talking to other people, I just keep having a quote from Mahatma Gandhi continue to go through my mind, which keeps showing up everywhere in my life. And it says, Be the change that you wish to see in the world or that you want to see in the world. And so I think I’m just saying it here, I’m just solidifying it, codifying it, my words this year are be the change. And so there’s definitely an invitation in it. There’s a little pressure because I feel like, okay, first of all, what is the change that I want to see? And then second of all, how do I daily practice that? You know, how do I really, maybe it has to do with giving something up? Maybe it has to do with acknowledging certain privileges that I have, maybe it has to just kind of be inconvenience. One of our kids is extremely sensitive to the homeless. And the other day, he said, Well, if we don’t want to just give them money all the time, why don’t we we give them gift cards? I was like, that’s a great idea. Let’s do that tomorrow. And then I was like, no, we’re not doing it tomorrow. We’re doing it right now. Like, let’s go get gift cards and do that. Because if I want the world to change in a way that people see others, no matter what their status in life is, as valuable, important, worthy of our attention, then I can’t just say let’s do that tomorrow, you know, there’s an inconvenience, potentially, that comes to this, like idea of being the change. So it’s one of those things that has come from like, every direction, like it’s on. All of a sudden it shows up on the back of a shirt that I bought. And you know, David talks about it from some guy that he just randomly was introduced to from a colleague and I think the signs are everywhere.


Murray Guest  19:28

Yeah, and can I just say that as Becky was explaining that I could see a shift in her energy as she said that and I just, I was inspired. I thought it was beautiful to see how that really connected with you. I mean, it’s such a powerful quote, and I love that the ‘be the change’, it’s not just doing things, it’s how you’re being, how you’re showing up day in and day out. Yeah, with the conversations and I mean, that’s such a simple example too, but a powerful example of as leaders, as parents, you know, and the example we said, Oh, we’ll get around to that, or we might do that tomorrow. But no, no, let’s do it now. Let’s set the example. Let’s create that through the way we are being. So that is fantastic. Yeah, I felt that. And thank you.


Becky Hammond  20:22

Well, thanks for holding me accountable. Because, you know, sometimes it’s scary. To set something that feels big, or it feels like, your word can feel like, I don’t know, if I’m gonna get there, if I’m gonna feel thriving every day, right? Like, maybe it’s impossible to really be the change every day. Or maybe it’s impossible to really, truly feel like you’re growing a new leaf every single day, right? But it’s all a part of the process, and just keeping that word or that mantra out in front of you is really going to help connect you back to your mindset, which hopefully then connects you back to your goals and your actions, to look back at the end of 2021 and say, yeah, you know what, maybe things didn’t go exactly how I wanted, but I set out what I set out to achieve. And I was energized and doing things that were in my strengths, and investing in the things that were important to me along the way.


Murray Guest  21:22

I was just thinking also Becky about how in the Leaders Who Give A Damn program, we talked about questions and how important questions are. And what I invite people to consider here as well is you might come up with a word or a phrase, but also to help you live that and to help you be that in 2021. How you can tweak that into a question. So for me thrive is that word, but the question I’m thinking about is, how am I thriving today? Or how am I helping others thrive today? And then that’s going to get me thinking and acting. For you Becky, it might be, How am I being the change today? Or how was I the change today? In your own reflection. And that I think is a way just to get us engaged with the word as opposed to just sort of sitting there as a footnote.


Becky Hammond  22:21

See, I told you, I was gonna like this conversation.


Murray Guest  22:24

And I’m excited. The thing that I love too, is all the people that have been sharing their words with me, get me excited, get me inspired. And then I’m also thinking, you know, futuristically, about how those conversations are going to happen throughout the year about how is your work going, like I want to know, in throughout 2021, how’s ‘be the change’ helping you throughout all the amazing things that you’re doing as well. So this has been such a great final conversation, this series around helping people as you said, to start, get clarity, those goals, the lessons from 2020, and the actions to take to work towards those and then granting that through this word or phrase.


Becky Hammond  23:09

Yeah, Love it. Love it. So if this is the first conversation that you happen to have caught on, you can grab the free resource over at leaderswhogiveadamn.com, there’s a resources page there and you’re going to find the Success Map 2021 there. And you can find these podcasts over at the website as well. Otherwise, hopefully you’ve been listening along on Inspired Energy or on Instagram TV or on the Leaders Who Give A Damn YouTube page. And we are glad that you’ve joined us. And we would love to know, first of all, what your word is. So when you find yours, or even if you’re kicking them around, tag us on Instagram or LinkedIn. And let us know how is this word process coming along for you? What is your word? And we’d love to just hear what the success map process was like for you? And what are some of the things that you got out of it and what you’re hoping for in 2021 as a result?


Murray Guest  24:27

Yeah, I think I would love to know some of those words or phrases that people have come up with. And by sharing your insights and what success looks like this year, that again helps keep it alive and makes it real by putting it out there. So please, anything you’d love to share we’d love to see that as well. Thank you for being part of this process with Becky and I, and Becky thank you again for your time, your inspiration. It’s awesome working with you and I look forward to conversations throughout 2021 as you be the change.


Becky Hammond  25:03

Thanks, and I will be following you as you grow.


Murray Guest  25:09

Alright. Thanks everyone.


Becky Hammond  25:12

See you next time, bye.


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