Each year around this time, it’s my tradition to choose and share a “Word of the Year”. My ‘WOTY’ helps to guide, shape, and inspire me for the next 12 months, and beyond! It’s an intentional practice I find very centering and rewarding, and it’s something I always look forward to sharing.
Throughout 2023, I’ve been celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Gain Your Edge Coaching. In addition to bringing up some wonderful memories from the past decade, it’s also been a fantastic opportunity to reflect on where I am, how I got here, and what I want to do next. These are deep questions, and these deep questions can be intimidating! Yet with time and experience, I’ve learned that there is power in having the chance to make a decision. Power in getting to make a CHOICE.
A pivotal moment in my life was the conversation when my first coach asked me: “What life do you choose?” That question was a game changer for me. It was the first time I understood and believed I had the power to make a ‘choice’. Until that point, I was making ‘decisions’, personally and professionally, based on what I thought others expected of me. It’s how I was raised: to be well behaved, respectful, polite, and hard working. It never occurred to me that I had options, I had choices.
That was a major shift in mindset, and one that took time and practice to instill within myself. And it’s made all the difference.
What does it mean to have a choice?
Choice to me means I have options, which is empowering! When I feel I have options, I am open, curious and calm. If I feel I don’t have options, I feel restricted and limited. I shut down, become critical, judgemental, afraid, unsettled … which means I spin, waste time and create stress!
There’s not much in life we can control.
We can, however, choose how we respond.
What I’ve come to realize is that we may not like the options we have, but we always have a choice. We need to create a space to explore and identify our options. We also need to understand the cause and effect of each of those options and then make the best decision based on the information we have at the time. If we gain more information later, then maybe we chose to make a different decision. That’s ok.
This process can look different for everyone; some do this best on their own, while others need to talk it out. Find out what you need, and give yourself the space to gain clarity on your options... you might discover you have more than you think!
When our choices are aligned with our values we show up authentically, and consistently, as our best selves.
When you have to make a big decision, it can help to ask yourself which choice is best aligned with your values. When your actions and values are aligned, it can be an incredible source of confidence. We might still make mistakes along the way, but at least we’ll understand the intentions behind our choices are based on who we are, what we believe, and how we choose to live.
That confidence is so grounding. When we’ve made a mindful, values-based decision, we don’t need to defend or justify our choices. We also don't need to convert others to our way of thinking. Instead, we can create a space to hear other's thoughts, ideas and choices. These are powerful conversations to have, and can have huge impact.
And now I invite YOU to choose!
What word will you choose for 2024? If you’d like to give this exercise a try, you can download the document below to help you get started. Curate a long list of possible words. Sit with your list of words and refine it based on how each word resonates with you. One word may quickly rise to the top of the list as your word of the year, or maybe you narrow it down to two or three options. Reflect on the options and then choose your word for 2024!