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Hayley Inca Trail

Choosing Your Word of the Year: My Personal Journey and How You Can Find Yours

marketing mindset small business marketing Dec 29, 2023

Welcome to a new year, a fresh chapter brimming with possibilities! As we step into this new beginning, I want to share a tradition that has profoundly shaped my journey both personally and professionally. Instead of setting typical New Year's resolutions, I choose a 'Word of the Year' - a single word or phrase that becomes my guiding force for the next 365 days. This practice has transformed how I approach my goals, my business, and my personal growth. In this post, I'll take you through my journey with this annual ritual, share the powerful impact of each word I've chosen over the years, and provide insights on how you can select a word that resonates deeply with your own aspirations.

2018 - Brave

In the early days of my business, "Brave" was more than a word; it was a battle cry. It pushed me to embrace risk, to network with peers I admired, and to put myself out there on social media, despite the butterflies in my stomach and crickets. Remember, being brave doesn't mean you aren't scared; it means you go ahead despite the fear.

2019 - Joy

This year was transformative. "Joy" led me to prioritize personal happiness over relentless work. It meant turning down projects that didn't align with my values, even lucrative ones. It was about finding joy in the journey, not just the destination. I discovered that when work aligns with passion, joy follows naturally.

2020 - Balance

The word "Balance" was a reminder to harmonize my professional and personal life. It influenced me to delegate tasks and to trust others with my vision, which was pivotal for my business's growth- and my ability to keep up with the demand for support through Covid pivots. I learned that balance isn't about doing everything yourself; it's about doing what's important and finding the right people to do the rest. 

2021 - Fun

After striving for balance in the previous year, I noticed a familiar pattern emerging: working tirelessly to sustain the support structure I had built. Recognizing this, I turned to "Fun" as my guiding word for 2021. It was about rediscovering the exhilarating spark that ignited my entrepreneurial path. This year, I delved into long-term creative projects, giving myself the freedom to explore and create without boundaries. Being in this mode of playful creation was not just enjoyable but also incredibly liberating. It reminded me that infusing fun into our work can reignite our passion and drive innovation. This year was a testament to the idea that when we enjoy what we do, we do it with a greater sense of purpose and creativity.

2022 - A Year of Reflection

My father's illness and eventual passing meant I didn't choose a word. Instead, it was a year of grief, reflection, and understanding the depth of life's fleeting nature. 

2023 - Build a Life Worth Loving

Inspired by my father's zest for life, I chose a phrase that pushed me towards significant achievements - losing weight, teaching at a university, publishing my first book, and climbing mountains  (The Inca Trail and Rainbow Mountains to be exact). It was about creating a life rich with experiences and love.

Finding Your Word

To find your guiding word, start by reflecting on your aspirations and challenges. What do you wish more of in your life? Courage? Peace? Growth? Your word should resonate with your soul and excite you. It's not just a word; it's the essence of your journey for the year.

Integrating This into Client Planning

I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be incorporating this 'Word of the Year' concept into our annual planning sessions as part of Brand-Worth-Loving Boot Camp. While SMART goals are effective, having a guiding word adds a layer of personal motivation and inspiration. It's about setting intentions that align with your values and vision for your business too.

2024 - Honor Thyself

In 2024, I embrace "Honor Thyself" as my guiding principle. This mantra is a profound commitment to apply my core values - kindness, integrity, and honesty - not just in how I treat others, but importantly, in how I treat myself. I've always prided myself on being reliable for others, delivering on promises, and leading with kindness and truth. Yet, I realize that I haven't always extended the same courtesy to myself. This year is about changing that narrative. It's about being as honest with myself as I am with others, fulfilling commitments I make to myself with the same vigor, and practicing self-kindness. "Honor Thyself" is not just a phrase; it’s a daily practice of reflecting these values inward, ensuring that the way I live, work, and interact is a true mirror of the values I hold dear. This journey is about recognizing the importance of being as compassionate, true, and dedicated to myself as I am to the world around me.

In sharing these words, I hope to inspire you to find your own guiding word or phrase for the year. It's more than just a word; it's a reflection of your journey, a beacon for your goals, and a whisper of encouragement when you need it most.

What will your word be? Let it be a reflection of not just who you are, but who you aspire to be.

 Hayley xo


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