My Three Words for 2011

While my exposure to this idea begins with Chris Brogan, a number of people I respect have been marking the new year with three words – succinctly expressing the core themes that they intend to use to drive the coming twelve months.

Last year, I didn’t plan at all. I drove through everything I encountered, trying to do the best work I could – well, guess what; I missed opportunities, failed a number of times to do things that mattered to me, and overall had a “not to plan” year.

I intend 2011 to be very different. In the past few days, I’ve been planning what’s going to happen in my world over the next year. I have a number of things on the go, and a few milestones to hit – I’ll be talking about them throughout the year.

I’ve been struggling, however, with how to express these plans in a succinct manner – so, here are my three words for 2011.

Themes, Platforms and Seekers

Themes – Much of the non-reflexive writing I’ll be doing in 2011 revolved around a set of themes I’ve already decided on. Everything from posts here, to planned guest posts elsewhere, and other projects. I plan to tie everything together, use every venue and opportunity I have to tell a story based on the plan I’ve outlined. I’ve already been asked if this will make my writing rigid – and I don’t think it will. I think it will prevent me from being reflexive (which is even further down the scale from ‘proactive’ than ‘reactive’ is).

Platforms – Part of my work this year is examining how to build platforms – for personal work, and in other circumstances. The difference between a home base (such as a blog), and a platform is vast, and complicated. Part of this year will look at the work of building platforms online.

Seekers – We’re all looking for something. Some of us find what we’re seeking by building it  – some of us join in the work of others and derive value as we deliver value to them. All communities work with common destinations in mind, but how do we discover that our destinations are common after all? I’ll be looking at Seekers for a long portion of this year – covering almost half of the themes I’ve decided on.

There you have it. You may have made some resolutions, or made a plan. But have you chosen how to express that plan yet?

What are your three words for 2011?

  • Jill Tooley

    Hi, Ian!

    This is my first time visiting your site (I ended up here because a friend, Susie Kline, mentioned this post on Twitter and in her blog). I thought I’d share my 3 words of 2011 with you as well:

    Spark – I find that my best ideas aren’t pre-planned…they’re sparked by someone or something in my life. I hope that positive things come from my “sparks” this year (and that I remember to write all of them down as they occur)!

    Persistence – As the Chumbawamba song goes: “I get knocked down, but I get up again…you’re never gonna keep me down.” I have developed a tougher skin over the years, but I still have a long way to go.

    Optimism – I’m usually a “glass half empty” type of gal, but I think I can change that in 2011. I have so much to be thankful for and I don’t want to waste any more time drowning in pessimist waters.

    I enjoyed this exercise and rest assured that I’ll be back to devour more of your posts in the future! :)


    • Ian

      Hi Jill,

      Wow – great words! Looks like a powerful combination for getting things done in 2011! :)

      Glad you stopped in!

  • Marjorie Clayman @margieclayman

    Those are great words, Ian.

    I am looking forward to seeing you blog more, and well, you planning means you’re going to kick butt!

    It’s tough to boil down all of your hopes and dreams into 3 words that aren’t even the names of your goals, isn’t it? I thought it was a really powerful exercise. That Chris Brogan…he has good ideas. :)

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance throughout 2011!

    • Ian

      Thanks, M, I really appreciate the support!

      While I don’t always agree with everything Chris does, his personal regiment stuff is always top notch. If nothing else, he sure knows how to get things done!