Tuesday, December 31, 2013

From Still to Risk, 2014 Word of the Year

Posted at Two Writing Teachers for weekly Slice of Life Challenge.

I don't make resolutions. Resolutions make me feel less than and I don't want to start the year feeling like a failure. In 2009, I discovered One Little Word as an alternative. I've been picking a word of the year since 2009. (As I was researching my start, I found this comment on TWT post from 2009.) 

My word guides my year. I have an ongoing list...on my phone, in my notebook...and I'm always looking for potential words. I believe it's important to find a word that will lead me to a new and wonderful place in my life. Words are important and meaningful to me and having one to guide me has proven very helpful. 

When I pick my word, I have a vision...a goal. In my head, I know what I'm hoping my word will accomplish for me. The best thing about the word of the year...it never goes where I think it will, but it always goes somewhere better. I trust this process and it works for me. 

Here's a little history...

2009...  mettle

2010...  engage

2011...  build

2012...  embrace

2013...  author

Usually, it takes awhile for me to pick my word. This year was different. I was sure of my word. I'd picked it early. I felt comfortable that I'd made a good choice...until I started reading a book by Dani Shapiro. 


The book is Still Writing. Ironically, my original word of the year was going to be still. I was looking for peace and reflection during the craziness and busy-ness of life...but as I read these words by Dani Shapiro, I knew I was wrong. Another word was waiting for me:

"...the willingness to fall flat on our face again and again..." (p.179)
"When we set our  hopes for this life, we are staking our future on the contents of our own minds." (p.179)
"There are no half measures when it comes to risk. Risk means that gut-wrenching feeling, having your heart in your throat, not knowing...not having a plan." (p.179-180)

Risk.

That's my word. It scares me. It scares the crap out of me! And that's why I need this word. I know that I'll carve out time to reflect and be still, but I often avoid taking risks. I'm a home body. I like routine. I like to know what's expected...but life isn't like that! I need to get out into the world and BE me! 

Wow! I just looked up the definition of risk...it's a downer. 
from Merriam-Webster's site: 


risk:

:  possibility of loss or injury :  peril
2
:  someone or something that creates or suggests a hazard
3
a :  the chance of loss or the perils to the subject matter of an insurance contract; also :  the degree of probability of such loss
b :  a person or thing that is a specified hazard to an insurer
c :  an insurance hazard from a specified cause or source<war risk>
4
:  the chance that an investment (as a stock or commodity) will lose value


It's all about perspective. Possibility of loss...on the flip side is possibility of gain! Someone that's a hazard...I'm looking at that as someone who is doing what needs to be done...for the good. Here's a visual representation of  risk:
This year, I will risk! I will take chances and lay it on the line. Can't wait to see where my word will take me this year...

My necklace for this year.

What will your word be? Please share in comments!


30 comments:

  1. I LOVE this way to approach a new year and I can't wait to see where RISK takes you MIchelle. A PERFECT word. So good that we connected in #nerdlution!

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    1. I can't wait too! So glad we connected too! :)

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  2. Thanks for reminding me about OLW. I will have to think long and hard today about what mine will be. I hope you find success and joy wherever your risks take you this year!

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  3. Wow! Risk is often negative in my mind. Yet it is such a powerful concept for moving forward! Thanks for sharing. I may have to consider a word today for 2014. I

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    1. Lynn, I know...risk is often negative, so my goal is to turn it around. Hope your word found you today!

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  4. Love this - a powerful word, and chosen with such intention. Love the visual, too - it shows the many variations of meaning. Happy New Year, Michelle!

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  5. A terrific word, Michelle, one that really means so much more than the definition. I love that you shared your journey, too, and will look for more posts about what this is meaning for you in 2014. Happy New Year!

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    1. I'll have to blog about my word throughout the year. I never did that before. Hmmm...maybe once a month or so. That's a good idea. Thanks Linda!

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  6. I, too, prefer olw to resolutions (which I always failed in doing). Having one word to guide me through the year picks me up when I falter.

    Looks like you're all set and ready to go with your olw. I'll be revealing mine on TWT next week (along with the other co-authors).

    Until then, Happy New Year Michelle!

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    1. Stacey, I can't wait to read your post & all the others on TWT this week. Happy New Year to you too!

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  7. Great word, a word with many layers! I think you have to take risks in order to grow. Isn't that what we want our students to do - take risks! Looking forward to how this plays out in your 2014!

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    1. Exactly Leigh Anne! I encourage my students to take risks and that's what I want to do. I want to take risks...try things...to STOP doing things out of fear and do things I want to do! :) Happy New Year!!

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  8. Michelle,
    Love your word and the background as to how it became your one little word!
    All the best for a great start to the new year!

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  9. Congratulations! My OLW 2014 has not visited me yet. Risk, to me, has so much power in it. You already have the courage and strength to take risks. Also, with risks, comes great rewards! Looking forward to reading your posts this year!

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    1. Jaana, I love how you said that, "My OLW 2014 has not visited me yet." That's exactly how it happens. Can't wait to see when it arrives and what it is. Happy New Year!

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  10. Great word! Such a powerful word for the year! I just added my word to the end of my never-ending 2014 post:-) The word is TODAY. http://readingyear.blogspot.com/2013/12/thinking-ahead-to-2014-im-not-calling.html

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    1. Franki, I know, it's a powerful word...that's exactly the point! I'm looking forward to it's impact this year! Happy New Year!!! (By the way, I love the words TODAY!)

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  11. I saw your OLW on Ali Edward's blog and followed you over here. That is an interesting word and a brave word! It is good to take risk but yes, it is scary. I am sure you will have a great 2014 ! Good luck to you.

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    1. Disneypal, So glad you stopped by! Thanks for your kind comments!! :)

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  12. Michelle,
    I feel like I am on the opposite end as you this year. I think I've been risking a TON, and need to be still for a bit. I need to get back to basics (and then show my gratitude for them!), but I'm very glad for you. Since taking BIG risks since 2009, I'll switch places with you for a bit - at least until we each find some sort of balance. Enjoy your 2014, and thank you for staying positive in your posts and your tweets - I appreciate that so very much in you!
    Sincerely & Respectfully,
    Joy

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    1. Hi Joy, That's one of the things I love about sharing our words...we are all in such different places in our lives. I'm so glad to have connected with you!!! That's what I'm grateful for today! Happy New Year, Joy!!!!

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  13. Thanks for sharing your OLW journey through the years. I am really enjoying the sharing everyone is doing about the paths to their words. I look forward to more SOL writers sharing next week.

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  14. Risk leads to reward! Risk means taking a stand, doing what you believe to be is the right thing. It is a brave choice and I know you will make this word work for you in powerful ways.

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  15. I love the word "risk" and the visual is awesome too! I seem to be following a similar path as I wait for my word to come to me. (I think it has, and it's quite a leap from the first word I thought would be mine). Taking risks is scary, but can be quite exhilarating too. I'll be anxious to hear about your journey this year.

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  16. I love your word. It is very inspirational. I've been trying to be still since I've been feeling little burned out. Be still and listen. It's hard. I think my real word is purpose. I'm being still and listening in order to find Purpose.

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  17. Hello! I found you through Holley Gerth's One Word post. I said this over there but in case you aren't subscribed to the comments, Risk is also my word for 2014. Last year was change and it set me up for this year's word of Risk. I have not blogged about it but when I do I will share with you. Here's to risky adventures that bring us more fully into ourselves

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  18. Michelle,
    I love your word! I think it will take you great places. I also enjoyed your history of words.

    I have Still Writing on my reader, but have been having a hard time getting to it. It seems my fiction nerdlution reading is cutting into my life as a nonfiction reader. Seeing it here on your blog really makes me want to get started with it.

    Good luck with your new word,
    Cathy

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