Jen’s Three Words for 2012

January 2, 2012 § 4 Comments

I absolutely love Chris Brogan’s idea of using three words annually that help define your goals and experiences over the course of the year.  In his post on his three words for 2012, he describes them as words that  can

“be used as lighthouses to guide you through stormy seas, that can be used as flags on the battlefield of your challenges, words that will bolster you and give you a direction that goes beyond the goals you might attach as a result of these words”.

He also cites another post that suggests using the twitter hashtag #12in12 to mark the execution of your three words every month.  I’m going to try to remember to do this.

My Lighthouse Words for 2012


I can just hear my college friends laughing and nodding their heads!  To my defense however, I’m not talking about what I’m wearing or what I’m doing on Friday night.

Decisive is defined as having the power to decide or determine an outcome.  It describes behavior that is resolute, determined, and unquestionable.  For some time now, especially in the later half of 2011, I have spent ample time in wait-and-see mode doing far too much introspection leaving me in some sort of personal analysis paralysis.   This word also connects with one of my words from last year – fearless – because the inability to make a decision for me has often stemmed from fear of failure.  I don’t think I’m failing often enough.

In my work, I’ll start by clearly defining my goals, deciding if I am going back to school and exactly what for, and being more purposeful in what I will be spending my time learning.  I’m pondering the value of becoming less of a generalist and more of a specialist.

With my children, I will be more consistent in how and when they are disciplined.  I want them to have zero doubt about how they are expected to behave in various situations and what our house rules are.


With a handful of side projects already lined up, I’m excited about the new things I will be learning and doing. I am also eager to grow my monthly income.  I’m hopeful that my 9-5 will provide some opportunities for growth as well.

2011 brought many new wonderful people into my life, and I hope to continue growing those friendships.  Over time and miles, I have also neglected some of my dearest friendships.  I am excited about tending better to those relationships.

My kids are amazing and gifted, and as a parent, there is nothing more gratifying than to see their pride grow in their work and abilities.  I will provide opportunities for growth for them especially in the arts, experience, health, and charity, being more purposeful and setting aside time and funding.  Rather than pushing my interests on them, I will seek activities for them which appeal to their natural strengths and interests.

Regarding my health, I will stop the growth of my waistline!  I would be lying if I omitted this one.  It’s only 10 pounds, but I hope to lose it in three months.


I almost chose “purposeful” for my third word, but I chose “disciplined” instead because purposefulness is implied yet there is the inclusion of training – mind, will, body – and self-control.  Without discipline, I don’t feel I can attain growth in any area of my life.  This is especially true for growth in my work and education.  Free time is not something I have an abundance of, and I need to be self-disciplined in how I use that time, especially at night when I have the time and ability work on side-projects and learn new things.  I’ve always considered myself self-disciplined.  I remember as a kid even creating tests for myself just to see if I could do it.  It was very gratifying for me when I did and still is.  I stopped smoking, became a runner, gave up soft drinks, and became a vegetarian because I had the self-discipline to see it through and not give up easily.  Recently, I think I’ve been less self-disciplined than I should be – thus the 10 pound weight gain and increase in personal debt.  I hope to reduce both.  I’ll be adding weight training to my workouts again and re-establishing a family budget in January.

As I’m wrapping up this post, I’m struck by the clarity on how each word builds upon the other.  I’m also once again feeling introspective about my failure to apply my three words from last year more thoroughly throughout my life.  Forward, focused and fearless became diluted over the months by a sense of that same “wait-and-see” mindset which now makes my stomach literally churn.  I’m done with that and moving on, approaching this year hands-on with intention and courage.



A Ha! Props to social media.

December 24, 2009 § 1 Comment

I might have had an “Oprah-A-ha” moment.  Twitter has given me the ability to follow any entity I like as long as their tweets are not protected.  A few months ago I created my first Twitter account.  Soon, I’m following people and groups that span a diverse group of interests.  Then, I’m tweeting about my equally diverse areas of interest.  Soon my tweets are in the thousands, and I’m wondering if I need separate Twitter accounts to avoid losing one community over another – my techy followers may get bored with my gifted education tweets or my food tweets.  You’re probably familiar with the dilemma.  There are apps for that.

Because introspection is ingrained in my personality, I had to ask myself  “what is the common thread in all these seemingly diverse interests”?  What is it that has me up at night writing and reading about it?  These questions combined with the ever-prevalent question of “what am I going to be when I grow up” has led me (in a very logical manner, of course) to consider what drives me and what will continue to motivate me and excite me in a career for the next 20+ years.  It’s innovation and enabling great minds to develop their ideas and deliver.  Linda Cureton, the CIO of NASA, shares this vision in her blog.   Whether it is one of my own gifted children or a promising colleague or a brilliant artist or chef… The common thread is helping people live up to their potential and building community so that they can help each other.

Does that mean I’m ready to take my hands out of the technical pot?  No way. I love building and creating too.  I want the same things for myself as I do for others who are intelligent and self-motivated.  Detachment from that process diminishes my ability to ultimately enable others and improve upon their processes and methodologies.  Where that puts me in terms of a job title, I have no idea.

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