A new word for a new year: 2017

Jan 1

I’ve been aware of the concept for a while: Choosing a word to characterize an area of focus for the year. Balance. Strength. Faith. Purpose. Freedom. Focus. And endlessly more – all up for the taking and for the making of a better you.

But no one word ever reached out and grabbed me. Or – if I’m being super honest – nothing in my track record of broken New Year’s resolutions inspired confidence that I could adopt a broad concept and become any different because of it. Forget becoming braver (for example); I’d settle just for being better at braving mornings.

So I wasn’t in the market for a word for 2017. Still, late last year, I found one in particular kept catching my attention. It made its way onto my laptop wallpaper and the cover of my day planner. I heard it in podcasts and saw it in blog posts. It was kind of like that big-eyed stray dog you can’t bear to take to the pound, wiggling its way into your heart until choosing it seems to be your only choice.

So why did I gravitate to Dream? (Yes, she’s now an important enough part of my life to earn proper-noun treatment – and I don’t bend grammar rules for just anyone.) Maybe it was divinely inspired, or maybe it was just a natural result of where I am in my entrepreneurial journey. Either way, I have a few inklings as to why this could be a formative concept for me:

For starters, dreams fuel growth. They’re the carrot at the end of the stick that give you the energy and focus to do whatever it takes to move from point A to point B (Granted, that analogy works better if you’re a horse pulling a cart, so maybe imagine something else on your horizon, if you don’t find carrots particularly motivating).

But the nitty-gritty of building a business can be very grounding, which isn’t all that conducive to dreaming. And dreams that do come to exist have to be pretty hardy to survive reality – because as an entrepreneur (or simply a person on Planet Earth), it takes a lot to see something go from concept to concrete.

It’s all too easy to let a dream die when things get discouraging. It’s also easy to be passive, allowing the dream to exist without actually doing anything about it. Or to be all effort and no strategy, spinning your wheels without going anywhere.

I know at times, I’ve been guilty of each. This year, though, with Dream at the front of my mind, I hope I can be intentional not only in making the effort my dreams require but also in showing discernment in how I pursue them.

While I’m name-dropping other Ambitious Words (See above: Intention and Discernment), I might as well add Faith and Hope and Courage and Perseverance and Discipline to my list – because dreaming encompasses all of them, as well. So basically, that metaphorical stray dog I adopted seems to have come with a litter of puppies.

Whatever you have in mind for 2017 – whether or not there’s a Word for it – here’s to starting strong and holding on!


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