One Word for Your Career in 2015


Local author and speaker Jon Gordon has written several books, including The Energy Bus, The No Complaining Rule, and One Word That Will Change Your Life  (with co-authors Dan Britton and Jimmy Page.) His advice for the New Year is to choose a single word that will guide your actions for the coming 12 months.

He writes: “Instead of creating a New Year’s resolution that 87 percent of adults fail to keep, choose one word to be your inspiration and focus for the year. I have been doing this for the past four years with my family and clients and it’s one of the most significant activities I have ever done.”

One Word Book

I have been choosing an annual virtue for a while now. I choose a practice, one that comes hard for me, to frame the way I look at the world through the entire year. The first year I chose Compassion. The second year was Patience – a very tough one for me. I thought I might have to repeat that one the next year as well. (When I announced it, my husband’s comment was “Good luck with that.”)

This past year was Generosity. I worked at sharing as much of my time, talent and treasure as possible, giving freely with no expectation of return. Coincidentally, Adam Grant’s book Give and Take came into my life as a gift during the year, reinforcing the idea that giving brings happiness.

What might you manifest in your career if you adopt a word? Here are some suggestions.

Courage. With Courage as your word, you might reach out to someone who could help your career, follow up one more

time after the interview, ask for a raise, or apply for that promotion. You might also speak up in meetings, take on a new challenge, or consider going back to school.

Excellence. Are there things you could do better? Could you set stretch goals for yourself, instead of waiting for the company to do it for you? Could you master a new skill or enter a competitive sport? Taking on challenges helps you grow in almost every way: mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Generosity. I discovered this year that giving more makes me happier. I donated more to charity, gave away good ideas in all my meetings, and donated lots of unused items from my home. After 12 months, I feel lighter, freer and have made room for more of the important things I value.

Freedom. You can choose Freedom in many aspects of your working life. If you had less debt and lower living expenses, could you take a job that paid less, but was more rewarding? If you finally asked for that transfer or took a new job, could you free yourself from a tedious routine, debilitating hours, or a toxic work environment? Could you switch to part time or consulting work to spend more quality time with family?

Fun. This is a word that is missing from most people’s career. Next time you can, watch young children doing chores with their parents. They’re having fun. They don’t know that grocery shopping, setting the table, or raking leaves is tedious and miserable work. All they know is that they’re doing grownup, important work alongside someone they love. Your work may not be inherently fun, but you can add fun to it. Take a break periodically to read something that amuses or enlightens you. Organize fun group activities with

your team. Place something on your desk that makes you smile. If you simply can’t make work fun, add some real fun to your off hours. Laughter is good for the soul, and it’s bound to make you feel better all through the day.

What will your one word be for 2015? Leave a comment.

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