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Do you have a word of the year?

I have to admit, I haven’t always been a fan of the concept. (For those of you who haven’t come across it before, click here)

In a nutshell, it’s all about having one word, phrase or mantra to act as your guiding light for the year. Something you want to cultivate or embody or create.

For good long while, I rebelled on principle. “I don’t want just one word, give me the whole damn dictionary!” Looking back, I think it’s because there wasn’t a word that had real meaning for me. There wasn’t one single term that really aligned with what I wanted. Because I didn’t know what I wanted.

In the first mastermind I was in, someone jokingly described me as vision resistant. Something I took way too personally at the time. It’s actually pretty bang on. I’ve really struggled every time I’ve been prompted to dream or visualize what I want from the future. I’m more of a survival mode/keep on keeping on kind of girl.

But there’s a shift happening. Over the past few months I’ve invested way more time and energy on doing the inner work, so now I reckon it’s time for me to stop all the surviving, and start going after the dream (whatever that may be).

Last year was the first time I really embraced the word of the year concept, and naturally, I couldn’t pick so ended up with three: chill, change, cha-ching. Pleasing for two reasons:

  1. Alliteration
  2. They kept my focus on my three big priorities: self-care (chill), visibility (change), income (cha-ching).

They played a big role in every planning session. I even designed a product around them. They served me well, but now it’s time to pick something new. Something more meaningful. More aligned. More take-my-breath-away vital.

As soon as I started seeing all the “word of the year” posts all over Instagram, a word just popped into my head. But it was a word I don’t like – a word I’ve been trained to avoid (we all have), yet it wouldn’t go away. It started dancing through my brain while I was reading, and watching TV, and making dinner.

I couldn’t get away, so I’m going to stop trying. I’m going to embrace the word that wants to be mine: SELFISH

Selfish: lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Egocentric. Self-obsessed. Self-absorbed. Self-serving. Thoughtless. Uncaring. Unkind. Mercenary. Insensitive. Opportunistic.

You can see why I resisted, right?

I’ve spent my entire life thinking about other people. Taking care of my brothers and sisters. Working hard at school so my parents wouldn’t be disappointed. Bending over backward for every boss or colleague. Going above and beyond for every friend I’ve ever had.  Feeding anyone who sets foot in my house. Donating to every charity I can. Spending months picking out the perfect gifts. Treating every boyfriend like a bloody prince. Always pushing my goals and dreams to the bottom of my to do list.

I’ve also spent my entire life living in a world where you’re told again and again to put other people first. And not just that you should put them first, but if you don’t, you’re basically a dick. And nobody wants to be a dick.

But my seemingly pathological avoidance of all things “selfish” has done me no good. I’m resentful when people cross the boundaries I never enforce. I feel taken advantage of, unloved, angry, sad, alone. And I think I’d much rather feel like a bit of a dick that all of those things…

Selfish doesn’t have to mean “arsehole” – it could just mean you’re being more discerning. At least, that’s the approach I’m taking.

It’s about:

  • Taking time to refuel your brain and your body so that you can do your best work.
  • Putting energy into the relationships that feel cozy, rather than the one’s that drain you.
  • Promoting the things that genuinely inspire you, rather than ones you feel obliged to.
  • Spending money on things you love, so you don’t feel like you’re working for nothing.
  • Surrounding yourself with loveliness to keep the vibe high.
  • Taking time away from work (because you didn’t go into business to grind yourself into the ground)
  • Prioritising your goals first, and then supporting the other humans in your life second.
  • Avoiding every guilt-trip and emotional manipulation you can.
  • Doing work that you truly want to do.
  • Boundaries. Boundaries everywhere.

How can you balance selfishness and kindness?

This is a question I’ve been pondering, because kindness has always been one of my core values (read more about that here and here). And here’s what I’ve come up with:

Selfishness, the way I approach it, is not about relinquishing all responsibilities, mistreating loved ones, or coming down hard on all of your clients. It’s not about leading with your ego, overindulging on things you don’t really want or need, or dismissing anything that challenges you. It’s about putting yourself first so that you can be the best version of yourself, which in turn will mean higher quality work, a more sustainable business and much stronger relationships in every area of your life.

Self first, not self only.

In my eyes, the one downfall of the “word of the year” idea is that it’s vague. It’s so open to interpretation that it’s dangerously easy to lose focus and allow your priorities to shift. Naturally, I have a (100% Asana-friendly) framework that helps me turn my nice vague work into an actual plan… drumroll please…

The Stay Selfish System

I’m calling it the Stay Selfish System, but this can absolutely be applied to any word you choose.

Step 1: Let’s say you stay your perfect version of selfish all year long – what does life look like at the end of that?

Yep, I’m shirking that vision-resistant mantle I’ve had wrapped around me, and dreaming about the impact of being wonderfully selfish…

I want to be:

  • Full of beans every single day. I want to feel positive, energised, and excited to tackle anything that comes my way.
  • Confident with regards to all things money. No secret sick feelings, no panic, no guilt whenever I buy something “luxurious”.
  • Connected to people who inspire me, both IRL and online.
  • Comfortable at home. I want to live in an environment that makes me feel happy and cozy and inspired.
  • Peaceful. I want to shoot my mind monkeys IN THE FACE.
  • Excited to do my work.
  • In control of how I spend my own time and energy.
  • Intentional about everything I keep in my life, from clients to coffee tables.
  • On top of my game. I want to feel like an expert, not an imposter.
  • Enjoy the life I’ve created for myself.

Tip: Start by braindumping all of this into a journal as it comes to you. No self-editing, no reading back, no trying to sound all deep and meaningful. Once you’re down, review your notes and edit so that it flows nicely and doesn’t repeat itself. Save this new and improved list somewhere easily accessible so you can check in with yourself whenever you appear to veer off course.

Step 2: What specific actions will help you achieve that dreamy, gleamy vision?

This is where we focus in on the tickoffable things that will help you move closer towards the goal life.

Full of beans:

  1. Head to bed at 9pm every night, no matter what the other half is up to
  2. Go for a long walk with my dogs every morning
  3. Cook lovely meals – even when I’m *only* feeding myself

Money confident:

  1. Focus my daily EFT using Marie Houlden’s fab money mindset tapping scripts
  2. Track my incomings and outgoings every week so I feel more in control
  3. Start working through all the journaling prompts I’ve been collecting from all the wealth coaching books I read.

Connected:

  1. Start the peer-led mastermind I’ve been talking about and book in weekly calls.
  2. Arrange monthly get-togethers with my fave “real life” friends
  3. Remove myself from Slack channels I no longer need to be in

Comfy at home:

  1. KonMari the whole house (I just finished reading the book, I have no more excuses)
  2. Donate all the random bits of furniture that only serve to take up space
  3. Frame and hang all the pictures I have lying around

Peaceful:

  1. Book in for a weekly yoga class
  2. Increase the sessions I have with my coach each month
  3. Listen to calming sleep audios before bed

Excited to do my work:

  1. Stop working with clients who don’t tick all of my boxes
  2. Block out time each day to work on the “my biz” goals
  3. Abandon the advice that doesn’t feel good

In control of my time and energy:

  1. Choose my own working hours and stick to them
  2. Take regular breaks during the day, and use them to do something that fuels me
  3. Say no to social events I don’t want to attend (and remember that I don’t need a reason to do so)

On top of my game:

  1. Listen to an industry podcast each day
  2. Set aside one day a month to work through a course or book I’ve purchased
  3. Pitch myself to be interviewed on a podcast each month

Enjoy life:

  1. Read 100 books
  2. Book myself in for a monthly massage
  3. Host a movie night every week

Tip: As soon as you identify action steps, book them into your calendar so that you actually do them. I like to use Asana because with the click of a button I can turn my blocked out calendar into a daily to do list.

(Note: these are all examples, and very possibly things that I will tackle at some point this year. However, I will NOT be looking at all of these bits in one go because OVERWHELM.)

Step 3: What are you willing to sacrifice in order for those glowing results to become yours?

You have to let go of things to make way for others, and that doesn’t always feel great. Just keep your eyes on the prize (or the vision) and it’ll feel worth it.

Some of the things I’ll be sacrificing are:

  • My most gossipy relationships
  • The money that comes from clients who aren’t 100% ideal
  • Late nights spent binge-watching crime dramas
  • All my clutter in the “I might need this one day” pile
  • Superficial friendships from Facebook groups
  • The need to be THE TOP TEAM MEMBER for every single client – I’ll have to settle for them loving me a regular amount

Tip: Write out this “blacklist” and keep a copy somewhere visible – it could be a post it on your desk or a corner of your desktop background, it doesn’t really matter. You just need a reminder of what you’re not allowing in so it’s always front of mind.

Step 4: What are you focusing on first?

Don’t try to make every step of your goal due in January. That’s how you fast track to burnout. Instead, identify a key area or two to prioritise each month.

My big focuses this month are the first two. I want to feel full of energy, and confident around all things MONEY, so that’s where I’m going to place my energy. I don’t expect it to be sunshine and roses, because I’m going to have to break some pretty deeply ingrained habits, but I just know it will be worth it.

I’ll no doubt be posting all about my progress over on Instagram, so feel free to follow along over there.

Tip: Review and redefine your priorities when you do your end-of-month review. Here’s my system for doing that – I’ll be adding to it this year to account for my new selfishness goals.

Do you have a word of the year? Hop over and share it with me here.