My Three Words for 2021:  Guiding words rather than New Year Resolutions

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My three words for 2021:  Directness – Flexibility – Action

Guiding words rather than New Year Resolutions.

After a year filled with all kinds of surprises, I’ve learned to pace myself, accept that I can’t predict today, let alone anything in the future, and therefore I’ve made myself fully present, right here, right now. If perseverance got us through 2020 then creativity and flexibility will be key components for success in 2021.

Last month Communicast, spoke with Top Goal Setting Coach Debra Eckerling who suggested we all start 2021 right then, December 1st. If you did that, then congratulations, you cleared the deck early and are a month ahead in a fast start to 2021. For most people, today is the first day of this new year and we’re all hoping for a better, safer, stronger one this time around. Have you made new year resolutions?

As a business strategist, I collect and share best practices to help companies and individuals succeed beyond the old-rule bound ways. My Three Words is a practice I picked up from Chris Brogan (author, speaker, digital strategist) more than a decade ago. Choosing three words to guide my year and my actions has long proven to be helpful in both stable and turbulent times and works far better than New Year’s resolutions that quickly fall by the wayside.

Last year my three words were Community- Leadership-Journalism and they led me to Carol Robidoux and the Manchester Ink Link. Last year, journalism and community leadership was sorely tested in everything from politics to paywalls. Have you heard of Substack or Heather Cox Richardson? Explore the connection but do note that paywalls restrict rather than expand access to news and information. Heidi Legg, from my Kendall Square (Cambridge MA) days, has long been involved in the connection between media, politics and policy and has frequently written about the loss of local news. She recently became a research fellow at Harvard,  following her strong interest in the Future of Media and the lines between journalistic enterprise and data collection organizations. I share her concerns and I too see the opportunities.

What I appreciate most about Manchester Ink Link is its commitment to reclaim our sense of community and expand the narrative. Last night I signed up as an Ink Link V.I.P. because of this email note from Carol Robidoux, the founder and publisher of Manchester InkLink:

The InkLink is about the people and possibilities that make Manchester tick. Not just the newsmakers, but also our growing number of community contributors who provide content about the things they know and love.

We believe that a news organization that listens to its audience can create real value and change through journalism. Delivering worthwhile local news and reporting is truly a community effort. It takes a dedicated team of reporters and loyal readers working together to make it happen.

You too can take action here and engage in the effort to keep local news vibrant and expanding.

My message is that 2020 taught me that the traditional gatekeepers in media, publishing, product marketing, broadcasting & distribution have all fallen. There are so many ways to launch or grow successful enterprises these days.

Therefore To do, or not to do, that is the question.   Look back briefly on 2020, ask yourself, did you really make the best use of your time, energy and skills? Have you moved ahead by leaps and bounds where the opportunities were clear?

Here are possible results in 2021 guided by my three words:

Directness cuts through all the uncertainty. Working with others via mostly remote settings, we  trade body language and “dancing around a question”  for a direct, yes or no, answer. Directness is not meant to be rude but there are always people happy to debate and vacillate rather than make a decision and move forward. Every day and every action, taken or not taken, is important. Indecision is the same as “No” or “not now” and every decision deserves to be recognized on the pathway to success. Let’s reward directness and recognize positive steps.

Flexibility – If 2020 has taught us anything it has taught us not to anticipate but rather to be flexible because many things did not go as planned. We know it’s great to have long term strategies but we’ve come off a year where information causing abrupt change seemed to be the regular occurrence. When obstacles that you have no control over reared their ugly head, did you stall out in frustration or get creative and find work-arounds and new pathways? Don’t make excuses for or dwell on things you didn’t accomplish. Move on to new goals and achieving goals requires action.

Action – is my number one guidance this year because, for too many organizations, the words “in these unprecedented times” became an excuse for not accomplishing goals. Disruption and change isn’t new, it is just uncomfortable for many who find it easier to fall back on old rules and formerly well-trod paths. I speak regularly about how the Gatekeepers have fallen in publishing, marketing, advertising, broadcasting and sales. You don’t necessarily need an ad agency, agent or tv station to be your middle-person. You need only build your audience and your following. The pandemic has reduced barriers to entry and resistance to new methods. Take the steps you need to accomplish better results at times exactly like now. Want more details?  Contact me.

Sign up here to join my email list for workshops & events and check out more of the #Communicast series here on InkLink to learn how others have tackled today’s obstacles.

Wishing you the best of success in navigating 2021 and if you like, share your own three words of guidance here and let’s build 2021 faster and stronger, together.

About this Author

Keith Spiro

Advisor & ContributorInk Link News, Arts & Culture

Business Strategist, Community Builder with a keen interest in working with high-impact startups and other organizations that can make a difference in community and health.