by Lynn Grodzki, LCSW, MCC

Oh, the power of a single word.

The search for the best WOTY (Word Of The Year) for last year is on. Would you agree that last year’s main message was “Toxic?” That was Oxford Dictionary’s WOTY for 2018. I guess it resonates, but “toxic” is hopefully more in our past than our future.

This idea of summing up the past year so concisely with a single word provides clarity. Its a kind of shorthand for looking back over 365 days. But, as they say, that is so last year. I am more interested in looking forward than reviewing the past and here’s what I know: Just one word can help you set your business direction for today.

This idea of summing up the past year so concisely with a single word provides clarity. Its a kind of shorthand for looking back over 365 days. But, as they say, that is so last year. I am more interested in looking forward than reviewing the past and here’s what I know: Word power can help set your business direction today.

As you think about your private practice for this year, what is the one word that summarizes all you want and need? What one word expresses the essence of your goals, purpose, hopes and dreams? What one word is as much about who you are as it is about what you will do? Equally important–how can you make that word manifest itself in real, tangible ways?

Let me show you how one single word can make a big difference to your business this year.

Word Power

Each year, I ask my clients and readers-–therapists, counselors, coaches, healing and helping professionals in business–-to think about the new year by giving it a specific focus.

Here’s how to find the right WOTY for yourself and your practice that can really set your intention for this new year. Then let me show you how to take the steps that will make it actionable.

Finding Your Best Word

Is there one word, a single word or short phrase, that sums up what you hope this year will bring? One word that names and claims your most important mission? One word that fills you with anticipation, motivation and just feels right?

Choose carefully. 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.

The Goldilocks Factor

How big of a challenge do you want your word to present? Like Goldilocks, your word needs to fit. Does it motivate you correctly? Not too small of a challenge, not too large, but just right.

Just like a racer in a speedy car poised to go around a track, choosing the right word starts your engine toward reaching your dearest goal. It sustains your progress, helping you to stay motivated, giving you just enough fuel to keep going all year.

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: abundance, profit, thriving, productive, wealth, full-fee, attraction, prosperity, and plenty.

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

Another group are thinking about the overall satisfaction they experience in business. They chose: visible, visionary, thought-leader, confidence, leadership and ideal.

Next Steps

Your 2019 Word of the Year requires an action plan. First, do some preparation in the areas of gathering information, getting support, and of course, creating a budget.

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 2019.

List your top 5 goals and actions for the final 6 months of 2019.

Add in your budget for each six months. Now look at your calendar and begin to translate these goals and actions to actual tasks on your calendar.

Time to start moving forward and taking action with your WOTY!

Sharing Your WOTY

I am trying to conserve energy this year (not as young as I once was) and want to do more with less effort.

As I think about how to assist, not resist, my professional and personal evolution, I decided to mirror author Shonda Rhimes and have “YES” be my 2019 WOTY. I am going to say yes to those practices that sustain and preserve my energy: Sleep, eating well, exercise, family time, friends, writing, and of course working, but without stress or worry, are getting the big YES this year from me. I am going to take a few risks and go further in this direction than I did in 2018, and then see what a difference a year can make.

Its important to share your WOTY with others who can be counted on to support and delight in your journey. Count me among those, and I would love to know what WOTY you selected and how this is working for you. Send me an email to share about your direction this year.

copyright 2019 by Lynn Grodzki