Good-bye 2021, you annoying pest. You didn’t defeat me, because here I am, still trucking along. There’s a lot to be thankful for even as the C-19 PTSD starts to reveal itself with that little twitch in my eye when I hear the word. Thankfully my little kids just call it Corona, which is a nice change of pace as it’s nothing to smile about. A little jaded and tired, I still remain eager and hopeful for a New Year. A fresh start each year is quite a gift!  

With the fresh start I wanted to share my own Word of the year with you, a loyal fan and follower of the MudLOVE journey. The words being cranked out at MudLOVE can jumble together. They go from the important reminder of “strength” to “how many strength bracelets do we need to inventory?” In my mind it’s easy for “hope” to go from possibly the most important thing I can possess through a hard time to “one of our top selling words”. The business/purpose jumble needs a little combing, or maybe just cut out.

I chose “purpose” as my word of the year.  

Purpose holds a high value in my life. I want purpose to the point that it can be torture in my own head, where I’m often displeased with the mundane, the ordinary, the menial tasks. I have to hit the auto-pilot button and start off, avoiding the annoying voice saying this is not a big impact or transformative.  My thoughts around purpose have been shifting and need to shift more. I’ve had to evaluate the purpose of playing a game with my 7 year old versus performing the all too important life-changing work at MudLOVE. The purpose to do good IS good, but it can be a slippery slope. Maybe you have similar feelings in your own profession.

Given that word of the year project is a self-centered improvement concept, I thought it would help to put purpose through the lens of a renewed SELF to give myself a strategy. It’s an ugly word, really. SELF. Try to say it without spitting on your neighbor. This word could use some help. The ugly word holds true to what it can become, a gremlin trash monster that lives in the dumpsters, feeding on waste and excess. It’s not too far off from reality in an honest inspection of my SELF.  

As if it’s not already hard enough, we have all these other SELFS walking around on this big spinning ball in an infinite thing cleverly named space. This is fine (sarcasm). However, there might be some hope for me and my stinky SELF. I think with a little adjustment here and some tightening there, I think SELF could be something I can clean off and nurture back to health after some recent whiplash of life.

Breaking down this concept of self came with little effort to be honest.  Probably because it’s often so prominent and easily flawed. My SELF is all I have to filter through the world happening around with all the other humans being. It’s my default setting, but I’d like to rewrite the script in a easy to remember way. Acronym time!

S is for Sacrifice 

The first step is probably the hardest, as it involves countering my most natural trait of selfishness. For purpose to work, S needs to be rewritten from selfishness to Sacrifice. I can do something I don’t feel like doing that benefits someone else. It’s in my ability, but I so often don’t. I have to ignore the voice that tries to sell comfort and pleasure as the path to happiness. It’s a trap!  

E is for Engage

One thing about being a business owner and a father is that there is a forced engagement. Since I have a desire to do these things well, the opportunity presents engagement daily. However, even “in my face” things I can be dis-engaged with. What about the not in my face things? Out of sight out of mind is the default setting there. I need to be engaged and stay engaged in my life to the big and small things. Plus, sacrifice can’t happen without engagement.  

L is for Love

“Love is too big and too lofty to try to achieve” is what my SELF is shouting often.  However, as a process guy I needed a better explanation, and came up with thinking that love at it’s basic root is about thoughtfulness followed by action. I’ve found that having no margin in my life kills my ability to love well.  So love for me can start with better balance in life, working fast and furious when given the opportunity, and leaving it at the door when I stop. I’ll never master this, but it gives me something to work toward.

F is for Freedom

This one is really about the results of the first 3 letters. I think when I connect my purpose to the first 3, and start to make progress, freedom starts to happen. I’ve felt glimmers of this in the past, and still do today, but I want more. Those moments of stars aligning and hitting the heart just right are definitely worth the effort. It’s freedom from the worldly SELF, and an awakening of the new guy, the gremlin trash monster just got a shower and some mouth wash.  

The dumpster will always be an inevitable visit, but getting out (again) is the victory. Purpose driven by my new SELF is the goal. The journey is the reward.

What's your Word of the Year? Create your own stamped bracelet for 25% off HERE.