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,

Your Hero is Just a Normal Guy….

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If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

It’s one of those common interview questions, but until recently, I had never given it much thought.  So, who would I like to have dinner with?

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Jon Gordon – an author and motivational speaker by trade, but more importantly a man who lives to fulfill his purpose, to touch people, to contribute and make a difference in this world.  Jon’s work – his books, presentations, weekly positive tips and inspirational messages on Facebook have impacted me so greatly, I can honestly say he has changed my life!

If it sounds like I’m putting him on a pedestal, I am!

So imagine my reaction when I received an invitation to not only meet him in person, but actually have dinner with him!

Last spring, my friend Lynn invited me to Texas to visit her and hear Jon Gordon speak to her group “First Friday for Women”.  The bonus was that her job was to be Jon’s liaison while he was in town; picking him up from the airport, taking him to dinner, driving him to his hotel and after he spoke the next day, transporting him back to the airport for his departure.

Who actually gets to have dinner with their hero, their mentor, the person they put on a pedestal?  So I booked my flight!

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Parked outside the airport waiting for him, I felt like an anxious teenager anticipating seeing her teen idol crush for the first time.  Then he appeared, in the flesh and blood, and I had a choice to make.  I could gush all over him and act foolish, or I could compose myself, pretend I had it all together and politely say “Hi Jon, it’s nice to meet you”.

Somehow I managed to wear a facade of calm, cool and collected.

Once in the car, there was some introductory chit chat, and then he asked me a direct question.  I was so tongue tied, I felt like I had just left the dentist with a mouthful of novocaine.  I managed to reply in a complete sentence, which led Jon to ask me another question, and before I knew it we were having a conversation.

By the time we sat down to eat, I had become comfortable enough to actually interject my thoughts and opinions into the conversation, without being solicited.  We sat, eating and talking, for well over an hour.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but sometime during dinner the magic happened!

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I took Jon off the pedestal I had placed him on!  Not because he didn’t live up to my high expectations, but simply by being authentic, vulnerable and humble, he became just a normal guy.  Being on a pedestal infers that one is above all that takes place around them, and that couldn’t be further from the truth for Jon.

He shared his story, his journey, his purpose.  He shared the hurdles he has overcome as well as the accomplishments he has achieved.  He shared what scares him and what brings him joy.  When he shared his life as a family man, husband and father of teenagers, it really hit me that he’s just a normal guy…..who happens to live an extraordinary life.

I am grateful for the difference his words and message have made in my life.  But I’m even more thankful that in all his awesomeness, he’s just so normal!  His example demonstrated that you can do great things, make a great difference in this world….while being normal, real, authentic, transparent and vulnerable.  It makes the prospect of discovering your awesomeness, living your purpose and contributing to the world, all that more attainable…for everyone!

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I used to want to be just like Jon.  Now that I took him off the pedestal, I realized I just want to be me – a normal, 40-something mom, living an extraordinary life!

Be YOU – Do YOU – Give the world YOUR gifts – Live YOUR extraordinary life!

with Joy & Gratitude,

One Word Wednesday

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One of my all time favorite books is One Word that will change your life by Jon Gordon.  This book is so simple, yet one of the most profoundly powerful books I’ve encountered.

“Every New Year, 87% of adults (more than 206 million people) create new goals and resolutions, only to experience the same frustrating results;  false starts and failure.  In fact, 50% of resolution makers will fail by the end of January!  While these resolutions are meant to be good and well intentioned solutions, unfortunately they are built on a flawed foundation of more effort, willpower, and goal setting.  We set “to do” goals instead of “to be” goals.  Success is measured by what we accomplish instead of who we become.” – from One Word  – by Jon Gordon

The original intention of the book was to start a new year with your “one word“, but this concept can be applied to your life at any time of the year!

The premise of this book is that “by embracing, owning, and living a single word for 365 days, our lives will change.  The simplicity of living from one word creates clarity, power and passion.  Instead of being weighed down with unrealistic resolutions and unmet goals, One Word provides a whole new perspective on how we approach our year, it frees us up and gives us renewed purpose and meaning.” – from One Word by Jon Gordon

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My word for 2013 is  JOY.  The word joy has taken on a depth of meaning for me unlike ever before.  For the first time in my life I truly understand, feel, experience, live, and share joy!  Joy is who I am being this year, not what I am doing.  I’m so grateful for this book and the way it has impacted my life.

Through this process, I have also found great value in choosing one word  for a specific situation, event or time period in my life.

Now is one of those times!

With the boys going back to school in just 6 days, I’m feeling anxious and frustrated by how quickly the summer has passed, and how little time we have left before school starts.  There is so much we didn’t get to DO as part of our summer fun, and so much that we need to DO in preparation for the first day of school.

I’ve lived the power, grace and beauty of one word.  So I’m choosing to live one word for this next week – one word that will determine who I will BE amidst all this doing.  I will be PRESENT!

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My goal is to be PRESENT – in the moment, fully living, experiencing and soaking up the final days of summer.

Whether we are folding towels, playing cribbage, jumping the ocean waves, cleaning up dinner, riding bikes, shopping for school supplies or doing CrossFit together….I will be PRESENT in the moment and grateful for the time and the relationship I have with my boys.

Who do you want to BE?

The One Word choices are endless!

calm * powerful * healthy * purposeful * thankful * confident *

playful * patient * courageous * love * faith * journey * trust

Don’t over think or worry about your word choice.  Just give yourself a few minutes to think about the question “Who do you want to BE?”, and listen for the word that comes to you.  It will fit like a good pair of jeans, and you’ll know  it is the word for you.

I’d LOVE to hear what word you choose and how your day / week unfolds,  living from that word, being that word.

DISCLAIMER – I’m not a paid representative for Jon Gordon or his company.  I’m just a huge fan who has been positively impacted by both his spoken and written word, and I love sharing his messages.

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Jon Gordon

To connect with Jon Gordon:

Jon Gordon’s blog

Jon Gordon on Facebook

“One Word that will change your life” on Amazon.com

with Joy & Gratitude,