Three Words for 2021

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Luke 2:19 (NKJV)


Welcome, 2021.

We’ve been waiting for you. Since about March, actually.

Here we are on the first day of a new year, a blank page, an open book.

All around the globe people are waking (or have wakened) to a fresh new year full of possibilities.

The virus is gone, the election is over, and we’re all friends again.

Let me know if you’re the first one to spot Bobby Ewing coming out of the shower.

I don’t do resolutions. For many years, I’ve written a “More or Less” post outlining the things I want to work on. This year I’m trying something different.

Marketing gurus Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch have been, since about 2006, determining their three words for the year. They pick three words that will be the focus or inspiration for all that they do within the year. It’s an interesting concept.

Rob wrote in yesterday’s email:

Sometimes the words come from specific goals I’ve established. Other times I jot down words that catch my attention, and my goals emerge from them.

When I first started following Rob and Chris, I had different ideas for where my business and goals were going. I don’t heed much of their advice anymore (sorry guys, assuming you ever read this), not because it’s not good stuff, but I’ve taken a different path.

Still, this year I decided to try the three words concept again. It came about during of of my daily readings. I did manage to read through The Daily Bible last year (it tells the story in chronological version). I came to the passage about Mary and began to think about what it meant to ponder.

So, ponder became my first of three words for 2021. I will admit that I’m not a deep thinker. Those are strong words for someone who has spent most of his working life dealing with policy. It’s not so much that I don’t spend time thinking, I just don’t like to process things. Give me the facts, and we’ll go from there. But I’ve come to a point where I’m looking at a deeper understanding of the things of the earth. Looking beyond the slogans and the marketing. Looking beyond the feelings and the emotions. What does it really mean? In other words, I’ll take time to ponder these things.

My second word is learn. I long ago gave up the idea of an advanced degree. But there are always things I can learn. In my Santa portrayals, I found myself regretting that I had not done a better job of learning both Spanish and sign language. I know enough of each to communicate very, very badly. At least once over the holidays I sat down at the piano, only to find it’s not like riding a bike, which I’m also not too sure I can do well anymore. I did actually learn things in 2020, like how to do Zoom meetings and set up a virtual studio, but I’ve still got much more to learn. I’ve yet to set my numeric reading goal on Goodreads, but I’ve spent some time thinking about my reading list for the year. My reading will focus on British history and literature. Along the way I’ll work on Spanish, ASL, and hopefully some improv that will help with the Santa sessions. I may not reach my goals in all of those areas, but the challenge is to keep learning.

My third word is believe. I want my faith to go deeper. The scripture reading will help with that. I read through The Daily Bible in 2020. I want a deeper focus on the New Testament in 2021. I want to believe in miracles and the wonders around us. I want to look at things with a child’s eyes and behold the magic of all the things around us. I want to believe that there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and that good is worth fighting for.

I realize this is sounding a bit resolution-ish. That is not my intent.

My intent is to go forward as best I can. I already know of major obstacles that will be in my way in 2021.

So, we need to face them head on. I will not try to pretend that there are not dark days ahead for me personally in 2021. If you know, or if you read here on a regular basis, then you know.

I want to face those days. I want to rise to the challenge.

And I think I can do that by pausing, as often as possible, to ponder, learn, and believe.

What are your three words?


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