One Little Word – 2016

Courageous at pamelapetrus.comThe concept of setting a guiding word for the year isn’t new. Several inspirational and successful people that I follow use this technique every year. I thought long and hard about it last year and really wanted to commit. It just seemed nearly impossible for me. I really work best on more of a short term schedule. I talked a bit about struggling with the idea and attempted to set monthly words instead of yearly in 2014.

As 2016 rolled in, I thought about it again. I saw everyone else choosing words and having custom jewelry made and I wanted to do that too. Honestly, I just couldn’t quite understand why a goal-setting fanatic like myself couldn’t pick a silly word. Again, I do better with just a few options…not the entire English language. Then it dawned on me, I have sort of chosen a word without realizing it. If you read my ramble about looking ahead to 2016, you may have picked up on one line that really stood out to me.

I’m going to be courageous.

I touched on the topic of courage earlier in 2015, and as 2016 approached, I began preparing myself to exhibit the most courage yet. I knew that the new year was going to bring with it a lot of big changes, big decisions, and hopefully, big rewards. I knew that to be successful in any of the endeavors I was approaching, I’d have to have courage. In addition to needing the courage to make big, bold moves in business, I also began really wanting to be more courageous within my personal life. On New Years Day, I starting thinking about the desire I’ve had recently to be unapologetic about showing my true self. I started to regret not having factored that into my goals for the year. (Leave it to me to have some regret over yearly goals on the first day of the year!) Then it hit me….I just needed to focus on having courage. I already have the doodle from this post as my screensaver on my phone. I’ve already been wanting to be more courageous. I need to really focus on that this year.

Here are a few of the ways in which I’ll be practicing having courage in 2016:

  1. I’m going to be doing big things with my business. At the start of 2016, I will have two full time, health-insured individuals on my team…plus myself. I am committing to bringing in enough money to support myself and two additional people. That’s so frightening. I’ve weighed the pros and the cons, the risks and the rewards, until there can’t be anything else to consider. The next step is having the courage to jump.
  2. I want to be more vulnerable. One of my most well-developed skills is the ability to protect myself. I’m almost like a ninja of my own defenses. I can throw a guard up like a professional and I do so often. This usually means that I give off a different perception of myself than what’s really real. I’ve used this tactic as a defense mechanism for many, many years and I feel that it’s going to be a tough habit to break. Rather than putting up such a tough and unwavering front, I’d like to show my sensitive and vulnerable side a bit more. I’ve realized that this protection mechanism is there. The next step is having the courage to let my guard down.
  3. I want to worry less about what other people think. I do and say things often keep other people happy or to not offend anyone. I heavily monitor my public image. I act and behave a certain way in mixed company and it’s usually only my closest friends that get to see me in my true form. I am very careful of what’s posted on social media. You won’t see rants about politics (and probably still won’t) or a photo of me having a glass of wine. I’ve always monitored these things very closely for the fear of what other people would say or think. At 30, I’m really ready to move past that. I will undoubtedly always care what people think. However, I want to feel more comfortable with who I’ve decided to be and more importantly, with the fact that some people may just not like it or agree. I’ve decided that I want this freedom. The next step is having the courage to actually let loose.

In thinking through these things, it seems as if I have unintentionally set a “one little word” for the year – courageous. Without realizing it, I identified an area or concept that I really felt I needed to work on. I can’t promise that I’ll stick with it, or even that courage will prevail when the opportunity arises. However, I am willing to admit that I need to work on it. And for now, I’m committing to focusing on this powerful word for the year. Hopefully, by the time we wrap up 2016, I’ll have realized the magnitude of my own courage, much like the lion in the Wizard of Oz. I suppose I’m starting down my own yellow brick road this year. The journey will likely be as important as the arrival, and I hope to become a better, more courageous lion by year end.

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