It’s That Time of Year Again….

It’s early December, which means it’s time to start the journey towards discovering our ONE WORD for 2014!  I’m beyond excited, both for the process of uncovering what my word is, and for the opportunity to live my life this next year from the simplicity of just one word.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then don’t waste a second, go to amazon.com and get yourself a copy of Jon Gordon’s “One Word That Will Change Your Life”!

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Let me be loud and clear when I tell you that I am NOT being paid, reimbursed, or rewarded in any way for promoting this book!  My motivation in sharing the one word concept with you (and strongly encouraging you to purchase the book) is simply because it changed my life.  It CHANGED MY LIFE, as in – my life will never be same after discovering and living from one word.

I first planted this seed in my One Word Wednesday post, which explains the premise of the book, how and why the one word concept works.  What I want to share now are some real life stories of my experience with my one word.

Jon Gordon shared this concept of living from one word at a conference I attended in 2010, prior to the book being published.  I connected with it, and chose contribution as my word for 2011, and purpose for 2012.  I read his book as soon as it hit the stands last December, and I finally had some structure to the process of identifying my one word.  While the first two years were impactful, this past year was powerful beyond words!

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Shortly after reading the book, the word that instantly came to me was JOY.  But sadly, I didn’t accept it as my word.  I felt like it was frivolous, so I disregarded it in search of a stronger, more powerful word.

During this time, while I was resisting the word JOY, I designed our family’s annual holiday card.  It wasn’t until I received the shipment in the mail a week later that I realized the coincidence of what I had created.   All my previous holiday cards were what you might call traditional, and somewhat typical, as far as holiday cards go.  I didn’t make a conscious decision to create a holiday card that was not only filled with joy, but had the word joy in it.  It just happened.  Perhaps the one word JOY spilled over into my design.  Or perhaps the card was a sign, a validation that JOY was the right word for me?

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As much as I tried to find a different word, a better word, the right word….the word JOY kept showing up, until just before the new year when I finally surrendered to it.  Yet even then I was still a bit skeptical.

Until the next sign came screaming loud and clear!

On January 2nd, my guy and I were on a plane together, flying to Hawaii for an incentive trip I had earned.  The trip was scheduled to take place in Waikiki, but we decided to go in a few days early and my guy booked us a room at a JW Marriott, in an area called Ko Olina, on the western side of the island.

It was during the flight that I shared my one word JOY (along with my initial resistance to it) with my guy.

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The view from our room in Ko Olina!

The next morning we enjoyed our breakfast at an outdoor cafe on the hotel property overlooking the ocean.  I was sipping coffee and fiddling with my iPhone when the waitress came to check on us.  My guy, always in search of a history lesson, casually said “So tell me about this place, this part of the island”.  To which the waitress replied “We are in Ko Olina, which means Place of Joy“.  My phone fell from my hands as I turned and stared at the waitress in both amazement and disbelief.  “Excuse me, what did you just say?”, I asked her.  Slightly confused, she repeated it “Ko Olina means Place of Joy“.  Before she could finish her sentence my eyes locked onto my guy’s eyes and without saying a word, we both knew that JOY was absolutely the most perfect word for me.  I couldn’t keep the poor waitress in the dark, so of course I shared the whole story with her….and encouraged her to get the book too!

The third and final sign that sealed the JOY deal for me occurred in late February at a local Silpada event I was participating in.  Following some morning training (I led a segment for our team on One Word – go figure!), we hosted an open house for guests to preview the jewelry.  While I was in the banquet room, one of my customers arrived and approached the check in table where she was asked to specify which representative had invited her.  She said she couldn’t remember my name, but she began to describe what I looked like.  Based on the description given, the woman assisting her said “Oh, is her name Debi?”, to which my customer responded “No, I think her name was Joy!”.

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SOLD!  I didn’t need that last sign to validate my word choice, but it certainly solidified that JOY was absolutely the word I was meant to live from for 2013.  I can tell you theoretically about the one word journey, but so much of it needs to be experienced personally!  Initially I thought I was supposed to simply give JOY to the world.  What I didn’t realize was that JOY needed to be present in my life, it needed to start within me first.  Truth be told, I was living a joyless life and I didn’t even realize it!

This past year has been a pivotal year in my life, for more reasons that I could possibly include in a blog post (maybe a book?).  But when I look back over the details of 2013, everything revolved around my one word – JOY!  I created new areas in my life that brought me joy, I rediscovered joy in parts of my life where it had been lost.  I chose joy in situations that others would have deemed joyless.  I immersed myself in the concept of joy – feeling joy, being joyful, doing things that brought me joy, living with joy – regardless of the circumstances!

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It took me 47 years to understand the true meaning of this 3 letter word.  Joy is not synonymous with being happy.  Joy is a choice.  Joy comes from within.  For me, joy is a feeling of peace and perfection in the face of all that is chaotic and imperfect.

The result of living from my one word JOY for this past year, was that I not only learned to live a life of joy, but it ended up seeping out of my pours, such that I did ultimately give joy back to the world.

Each of our one word stories will be different.  But I’m confident, if you go all in, you can experience a life changing year by focusing on and living with the intention of just one word!

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I’m going to reread “One Word That Will Change Your Life” this week, and begin the journey towards discovering my one word for 2014.  I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.  What I know for sure is that I learned my lesson, I will not resist the word that shows up for me this year.  Instead I will trust that in all my unknowing, it will be the perfect word for me.

Stay tuned – I’ll be sure to share my 2014 word with you in a future post.  In the meantime, I would LOVE to hear from you!  Did you have a word for 2013?  Do you have any one word stories to share?  How has living from one word changed your life?  Will you choose a word to live from in 2014?

P.S. – You can connect with Jon Gordon on his blog and Facebook.

with Joy & Gratitude,

Coincidence…..Or Not?

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A coincidence is defined as “a sequence of events that although accidental, seems to have been planned or arranged“.

Don’t worry, this won’t be a scientific conversation, nor will it be a religious debate.

I’m just an average 40-something mom with years of history encountering one coincidence after another.  I’ve experienced so many coincidences, that it’s my firm belief there really are NO coincidences (things that happen accidentally).

If I had it my way, I’d redefine coincidence to mean “a sequence of events or occurrences that are NOT accidental, happenstance or serendipitous – but instead are intentional and purposeful signs and validation that we should acknowledge and take action on”.  Better yet, I wish I could establish a new word to mean the opposite of coincidence, that everything does happen for a reason!  Since I can’t – I’m forced to continue using the word coincidence for the remainder of this piece.  Just realize that every time I write that word, my belief is the opposite of it’s dictionary definition.

 

You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.

I’ll take grace.  I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it. – Mary Oliver

 

As I see it, there are two trains of thought.  One believes a coincidence is accidental or luck, the other believes the coincidence actually occurs for a reason.  If you fall in the first school of thought, that the coincidence is unplanned, then you simply notice it, call it a coincidence, and move on.

But if you are of the second school of thought, that there is meaning behind the coincidence, and that it happened for a reason, it’s not enough to simply notice it.  If something truly happens for a reason, our job is to try to understand it and learn from it.  I think of a coincidence as a clue to the riddle of life.  So I attempt to interpret the clue to help me determine the next move in the game of life.

If you fall under the first category, believing coincidences are purely as they are defined, you have two choices.  You could laugh at me, stop reading and delete this post.  Or, you could laugh at me, but still play the “find the meaning” game.  You certainly have nothing to lose by playing along….

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Let the game begin!

I’ve encountered two types of coincidences.  The first is coincidence by repetition, meaning something gets repeated, like a message.  My experience of coincidences used to happen in threes, it would take three times for something to occur or repeat itself before I really took notice and distinguished it as a sign of direction or clarity.  I’ve since been conditioned to pause and notice after only two incidences.

The second is coincidence by connection, meaning two separate events take place, and the meaning is found in the connection or relationship between them.

Either way, the first step is simply to acknowledge that a coincidence took place.  The second part is to discover the meaning behind the coincidence.  This is completely subjective, it is your personal interpretation of the sequence of events.

Are you confused or wondering if I’ve lost my mind?  Let me share a few personal examples.

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I had a work commitment scheduled for an evening that didn’t conflict with either of my children’s extra curricular activities.  Unfortunately my little guy’s baseball game earlier that week was rained out, and at the last minute rescheduled for the same night as my work engagement.  Not an uncommon occurrence, right?  But then suddenly and unexpectedly, my work appointment had to cancel, for reasons outside of my control, leaving me available to attend the baseball game.

Coincidence?  Just accidental luck?

I don’t think so, especially since this type of experience has happened to me more times than I can count!  This is what I’d call a coincidence by connection.  Two seemingly unrelated events take place, but to me, there is great meaning.

Coincidences by repetition occur for me on a regular basis.  Recently I ran into a dear friend that I haven’t seen in ages.  Again, not uncommon.  Except I ran into her twice in one week.  I could call it a coincidence and enjoy the randomness of seeing her for a few minutes.  Or I could take it as a sign that perhaps we should be intentional about our friendship and schedule some time together.

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One of the biggest and most impactful coincidences I encountered took place last February.  I was at a leadership conference, and the keynote speaker read a poem that I had never heard before, called “Our Deepest Fear”, by Marianne Williamson.  I immediately connected with the content and power of the words.  But within a day I had completely forgotten about it.  A few days after returning home, a friend shared an inspirational YouTube video with me that contained the first two lines of the poem.  I instantly recognized them and took notice that for the second time in a week this poem was being presented to me.  Yet I did nothing about it.  Within the week, another friend shared a link to a blog post she thought I’d enjoy.  Guess what – the same poem was referenced in the written blog.

Over the course of my lifetime I had never experienced this poem.  Then suddenly, I encounter it THREE times in a two week period.  Coincidence?  Only if I were to ignore the message, could I call this a coincidence.

Thankfully, I recognized the repetition and after the third incident I immediately googled the poem and read it in its entirety (more than once!).  The message in the poem was exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it!  It was the catalyst that gave me the courage to alter the direction of my life, choosing to step away from my direct sales business and begin my journey as a writer, speaker and coach.

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My intention is NOT to talk you into believing what I believe!  My only goal in going out on a limb like this is to hopefully inspire you to pause and take notice, to both wonder and question the magnificence of the life you live!  Perhaps to even give you permission to be liberated from your fear and to let your light shine!

Our Deepest Fear – by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

with Joy & Gratitude,