Word of the Year

Private Practice Success Newsletter

by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC / Jan 2015

Oh, the power of a single word.

This week, a meeting of linguists searched for the past year’s most powerful word. Among the finalists were amusing words like “manspreading” (when a man spreads his legs on public transportation, blocking other seats) and serious words like “culture” to signify a community, like a consumer culture.

The search for the best word is on. Oxford dictionary looks for the previous year’s Word of The Year (WOTY) as do magazines like the Economist. While it’s interesting to sum up the past year so concisely, I am more interested in looking forward. Let’s use word power to help set a direction for your practice in 2015.

I looked at a number of WOTY approaches I liked, including this one from Christine Kane, but found that I needed to develop one for people just like us–therapists, coaches, healing and helping professionals in business–who want to think about 2015 with a specific focus.

Here’s how to find the right WOTY for yourself and your practice that can really set your intention for 2015. Then I will show you how to make it actionable.

What’s Your Word?

Is there one word, a single word, that sums up all of your hopes, dreams and needs for your practice this year? One word that names your most important mission or purpose?

What word describes your 2015 business desire? Choose carefully, and make sure that this word speaks not just to your head, but also to your heart.

The right word can be idealistic or pragmatic. It may fill you with excitement or add to a sense of calm; it may make you uncomfortable (if its a big goal) and feel like a big stretch from where you find yourself now. Or perhaps it validates your existing direction–you are almost there and just need more time.

What do you want most to achieve this year? How big of a challenge will you accept? Just like a racer in a speedy car poised to go around a track, choosing the right word starts your engine toward reaching the goal.

Here is an important caveat: I know there is a big difference between choosing a word versus knowing how to achieve it. Of course there is effort and work involved. No problem, we will also deal with the strategy and action required.

But the first step is defining your theme with just one word. This step expands awareness and begins a commitment. Name and claim what you (and your practice) stand for this year.

Good Business Words

Some of my clients are focused on increasing income this year. They chose these words: money, profitable, thriving, waitlist, productive, savings, wealth, full-fee, attraction, prosperity, and plenty.

Other clients feel that time is more precious than money. They offered these: balance, peace, abundance, freedom, fun, relaxed, ease.

Another group are thinking about the overall satisfaction they experience in business. They chose: autonomous, fulfilled, pioneer, creative, visionary, integrity, confidence, leadership and one of my favorites, ideal.

These are just suggestions. I want you to find your own, best word of the year. Once you determine your word, go a bit deeper with these 3 questions:

  • What makes this WOTY the right one for you and your practice this year?
  • How close or far are you from this goal right now?
  • What strengths and resources will you draw upon?

Now Take Action:
The Word of the Year requires an action plan. First, do some preparation in the areas of gathering information, getting support, and budgeting.

Information: Make sure you know enough to begin.
• Do you have the information or strategies you need to move forward?
• If not, what is your plan for gathering information (independent research from the Internet, training, helpful books, informational interviews of those who are models of success, etc.) ?

Support: Surround yourself with a circle of advice, help and backing.
• What support do you need to help you manifest your WOTY?
• Who can your turn to for mentoring, coaching, or other consulting? Who can you hire? Which peers and colleagues would be happy to support you? Who can you be accountable to?

Budget: Invest in your Word.
• What would accomplishing your WOTY be worth to you?
• How much money can you invest in this plan? How much time can you devote?  What other budget items need to be considered?

Word-based Goals and Actions:
List your top 5 goals and actions for the first 6 months of 2015.

List your top 5 goals and actions for the final 6 months of 2015.

OK, you have a plan. Time to start moving forward and taking action with your WOTY!

I would love to know what WOTY you selected and how this is working for you. Leave a reply below to share about your direction this year.

copyright 2015 by Lynn Grodzki

2 replies
  1. Reuben Chong
    Reuben Chong says:

    My word is risk. I’ve always been one to want to KNOW what a certain outcome will be before I make decisions that affect me. For example, starting my own practice that specializes in Co-Occuring Disorders. More importantly, I want to provide services to individuals whose insurance one else will take–usually the most vulnerable and ill of our profession. Unfortunately, what has usually guided me is “Fear,” fear of the unknown as well as loss.

    Reuben Chong, LCSW, MAC, CSAC, ICADC
    Honolulu, Hawaii

  2. Elisabetta
    Elisabetta says:

    Dear Lynn,
    first of all thank you so much for your great service to the world of health professionals!
    I follow you since 2009 and thanks also to your book I’m so happy and grateful of my job of counsellor and trainer.
    My WOTY for 2015 is “Unconditional Joy”. I’m working on this from several years and I feel always more and more closer to this great aim.
    Joy and gratitude
    Elisabetta, Pordenone – Italy

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