This will be my third year doing the #OneWord challenge. The word I choose for this year is EMBRACE. But before I dive into why I chose this word for the year ahead, let me first reflect back.
For 2018, my word was Focus. I still love this word, or my interpretation of it, and it’s a goal that needs to remain a constant in my life. For me, it’s all about focusing on the here and now, the present, and stopping the multitasking madness. It is so tempting to task switch constantly, especially with all of our digital tools. This is an area that has fascinated me for the last couple years, and I’ve done so much research and self-reflection on the topic.
For 2019, my word was Empower. I think I did a pretty good job working towards that goal. In 2019, I published my book and I started speaking more publicly about some of my own personal struggles and how those experiences have shaped the educator and person I’ve become. I’m really happy with the impact my book has made so far, and I look so forward to having an even bigger voice and influence in this year ahead.
Which brings me to my word for 2020: Embrace. It starts with me embracing things about myself, understanding myself better, and learning self-acceptance. Personally, the last couple months have been incredibly tough for me. I had some major health struggles, and I’m still working to get to the other side. But with this came lots of opportunity to deeply look at my personal tendencies and reassess where I am focusing my energy.
- Embrace both my strengths and my weaknesses
- Embrace my style and trust in knowing myself
- Embrace the cues that my body sends
- Embrace the help of others without feeling guilty
- Embrace those around me with love, kindness, and compassion
I don’t dislike myself. I think I have many strengths and I’ve tried to embrace those traits to make a positive impact on those around me. As a teacher, I love the direct impact I’m able to make. It’s a job I truly love. As an author, it’s been a thrill to see how my book and the sharing of my personal story has resonated with so many and opened their eyes to areas they didn’t even think to concentrate on before.
But I am also aware of my not-so-positive traits. One of the things I’ve tried to change about myself more than anything is my tendency towards perfectionism.
At 37, I am doing a reframing and mental shift: I am learning to embrace my personality — there are strengths to the way I operate and weaknesses. But it is key for me to be honest with myself about how long tasks will take me to complete and what type of strain they will cause and take on a reasonable workload for me accordingly. While others might be able to juggle more tasks and decisions, that is not an area where I shine… not one bit. On the other hand, I am reliable and deliver solid work. By learning to accept my style and strengths, I will ultimately be able to deliver my best work. This will require me to say no to “opportunities” without guilt. I always want to be helpful and it’s hard for me to not “pull my weight” when help is needed. But I’m learning that — to bring my best self and to keep myself thriving — I need to reassess what being “helpful” means. And I need to give myself permission to make these decisions without guilt.
By embracing my style and strengths, and learning to trust myself, can I become the best version of myself? By welcoming the help of others without feeling guilty, can I ultimately bring more to the table than I could before? It is my goal to figure that out in this year ahead. And, meanwhile, to do what I know will make me happy — to focus on supporting those around me with love, kindness, and compassion.