One Word: Lean In

I wasn’t going to pick just one word to define 2018. This will be my fourth year using a single word to guide my year and I just wasn’t connecting with anything in particular. But as I reflected on this year of capacity and all the unexpected ways in which it has played out, I realized that a natural follow-up emerged.

Lean InThis year has been a year of changes for our family. I quit my job at the museum and almost immediately started volunteering as an editor with SheLoves Magazine. After years of feeling unsettled and one final year of stress, Frank made the decision to leave his job as president of a company to start his own business. Bea started full-day kindergarten. Even the best changes our stressful and this year, our family has been stretched to capacity.

As I think about 2017 and the ways in which I recognized capacity in my life – from time management to social justice to how I parent – I realized incredible opportunities rose when I said no to really good things in order to say yes to other really good things.

Some of those really good things have led to opportunities and other really good things that I never would have imagined a year ago. As the girls grow a little bit older and time looks a little bit different, I want to learn to confidently lean into those experiences and opportunities.

As I think about my own goals as well as those of our family, the phrase Lean In kept coming to mind. I want to lean into the next few months of Elle being home before starting preschool. I want to lean into social justice and opportunities to learn about peacemaking in our neighborhood and our world.  I want to lean into my community – to ask for help and guidance, to remember that life isn’t meant to be figured out alone. I want to lean into writing opportunities and experiences surrounding that. I know Frank is figuring out how best to lean into his business while also leaning into our family life.

As always, with picking one word, I know that this will take me in directions I could not possibly dream. I hesitated to pick lean in precisely because it seems riskier than my past words. But then, especially the past few years, I see how these words and intention have built on each other. I know that leaning in may take me outside my comfort zone, but I’m also realizing how incredible those risks can be.

Do you pick One Word to guide your year? How have your words changed your life?

(If you’re curious… My One Word 2014 was Grace; 2015 was Choose; 2016 was Enough, and 2017 was Capacity.)

Check out OneWord365 for word ideas and to find others with your same word.

9 thoughts on “One Word: Lean In

  1. Lean in… that sounds challenging and exciting. I have not used a word to define a year in the past. Thinking on this idea, I would say the word for my upcoming year would be Uncertainty. New ownership and folding two companies into one will be a challenge. since Uncertainty is no way to guide me – Moderate – I think it may be the word that will be needed as a focus as I guide my colleagues and Family as I interact with uncharted waters.

    1. Whew…. Sounds like 2018 is going to be quite the year. I’ll be praying for you & Moderate. Maybe picking this word as a guide will surprise you, too? (In all the best ways!)

  2. Even though last year I did well to remember my word and reflect on it through the year, I realize it holds so much more so I’m keeping it for 2018. As with most words, there are layers and the word peace has more than expected. That’s good news. I’ll be enjoying watching your journey of leaning in this year.

  3. Great word. Curious, Have you read “Lean In” then? I loved my year of “Flow” in 2017 and naturally I had to read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csiksgentmihalyi as part of my research and leaning in to flow. 😉

    So grateful for the ways you have said yes.

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