This is my last blog post of 2013, but also the one that sets for tone for how I will approach 2014. You might not think three words can be so powerful, however, I have three years of proof that this form of long-term strategic planning works. It’s the big picture, the 30,000 foot view, if you will, of what you want your next 12 months to stand for. Here are the links for 2011, 2012, and 2013 if you’d like to take a look back before seeing the plan for 2014.
2014: Urgency, Helpful, Presence
The words for 2014 are Urgency(the Why), Helpful(the How), and Presence(the Who) of where my energy and efforts will be focused in the coming year. Let’s get started with a deeper explanation of the context each word holds for me in 2014.
The Why – Urgency
I’ll turn 50 in 2014, and that allows me to say with some confidence that I’ve lived more than half my life. I’ve managed to survive my mid-life crisis relatively intact and have been building the foundation of a platform for both personal and professional success over the last four or so years.
I’m done with patience, all done with it. I once heard Tom Peters, say something along the lines of – “Patience is a great thing…for other people.” The simple fact is I’m not getting any younger and while I still firmly believe my best years are ahead of me, not behind, it’s time to get some shit done. Simple as that.
Perfection will not be the goal in 2014. Instead, I’ll be focused on providing minimum viable products and solutions. The thing about software and technology is, you can always build on that initial success, but first you have to have some success to build on.
The How – Helpful
I struggled with this word. I asked myself, shouldn’t we always be helpful? Shouldn’t it just be part of our DNA, part of who we are? And while the answers to those questions might vary for you, the simple fact is now it’s part of my strategic plan. When I have to decide between two choices and one of them is taking the time to be helpful…guess which choice will win? Yes, being helpful is the most important single action I will take in 2014.
For example, my friend Chris Brogan from who I learned of this three word planning method, is working to fill out enrollment in his Brave New World course. I hear they are talking about the three words planning method over there, so if you’d like more help than this blog post provides maybe that course is for you. That’s what being helpful looks like to me. Chris didn’t ask me to do this, but he’s helped me without being asked, so why not return the favor? It’s easy and takes almost no time at all. (Chris just let me know that if you use the code “OWNIT” at checkout you’ll get a 45 percent savings on this or any of his courses!)
The Who – Presence
Presence is another word I struggled with. What kept going through my head was “showing up,” but that of course is two words and that wouldn’t do. Presence is a better word, however, as it conveys the importance of always being present whether the meeting be face-to-face or via some digital medium. This concept should extend to multi-tasking while attending some form of digital meeting. Aren’t you really doing a disservice to yourself and the meeting organizer if you aren’t 100 percent engaged in the meeting? And how about that email you are trying to answer while half listening to the meeting? Is that response going to be your best work? We both know the answer to that one.
Single-task and show up for whatever it is you’ve committed to be doing at the moment.
But does this method really work?
If you take a look back at my 2013 plan, you’ll see the three words are: Passion, Footprints, and Education. In 2013 we created new digital footprints by delivering a couple series of webinars in cooperation with business partners. We put a great deal of effort (passion) into those webinars and delivered them to an audience we knew could benefit from the educational content provided. Those efforts resulted in our email newsletter list growing by 72 percent.
Planning and focused efforts work – so, what are your three words for 2014?