My Three Focus Words for 2012

by eric swanson on January 7, 2012

 

focus
focus
This morning I’m working on an assignment from Leadership Network…which is actually quite challenging. Dave Travis, taking a cue from Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents (: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/my-3-words-for-2011/) asked each of us to come up with three focus words for 2012. Rather than resolutions these three words sum up what I want to focus on this year. Writing to Dave, Chris says, “People rush into telling me their three words, but if you’re going to do this in a meaningful way, the goal is that you think long and hard about what these words will mean for you, how you can sum up an entire PERSPECTIVE into these words, and how you can use them as guideposts for your actions in the coming year.”

So, after writing down 20 or so possible foci, I’ve come up with these three words: Invest, Leverage & Enjoy.

Invest…in my growth, capacity, health, finance, learning, relationships, marriage, creativity, career, etc. I want to invest in curious people—the next generation. I’m planning on watching a different TED video (www.TED.com) every day, listening to 24 books, downloaded from www.audible.com, read recommended and developmental books on my new Kindle Fire, read the magazines I subscribe to (Inc., CT, Wired, Fast Company, HBR, Stanford Social Innovation Review, etc), meet interesting people and having a few mind-stretching experiences on par with Robert McKee’s Story Seminar, or the Game Developers Conference…which were two of the top learning experiences I have enjoyed. I want to follow the breadcrumbs of curiosity and see where they take me.

Leverage. Leverage is knowing where to put ones energy to get the maximum result. It’s the 80/20 rule—we get 80 percent of our results from 20 percent of our effort. Knowing which 20 percent, then, becomes very important in achieving good results. A few years ago I had the thought that if the 80/20 rule were really true, theoretically one could be relatively successful (getting 80 percent results…. “B” work) having 5 different jobs. And don’t we all know successful, multi-talented people, who are successful, simultaneously in multiple arenas? So leverage for me is thinking about influence and measuring effort against results and impact. It will mean increasing my engagement where there is more fruit and backing away from things that are fruitless or where I have no passion or energy. I want to leverage my investment through writing. I have no plans to write another book, but posts and tweets seem to be a path to influence but I guess we’ll have to see. I would like to write 24 blog posts on Leadership Network’s learning blog (www.leadnet.org) on insights from externally focused small groups, Global Connections…or even the Marriage Ministry Innovation Lab I’ll start next October.

Enjoy. Seems like an odd word amidst so much intensity but it is only through this word, that the other two words have meaning. Ecclesiastes 9:9 says, “Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love…” Probably the best command given to man—“Enjoy life with your wife.” Last year Liz and I decided together that we want the next twenty years to be the best 20 years of our marriage. We want to invest in our own marriage and backfill some of the gaps created by a 20-year run raising our kids. To have a life partner…a soul mate is nothing short of awesome. The operative word in the passage seems to be “with.” Life, this year, will bring a mix of ups and downs, triumphs and tragedy, good and bad, pleasure and pain as it does for everyone. But because I have someone with me…whom I love, and who loves me, gives us both the ability to enjoy that life that God has given us. 

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Steve Morgan January 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Hey Eric. What a great exercise! Love the words also. Challenging and inspiring. Where does eating fit in?

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