While Chris Brogan–at least when he had long hair–reminds me of the cop in J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” video, he’s actually a leadership and business strategy consultant, and a smart one, at that.  He’s been doing the My Three Words exercise since 2006, and writes:

The idea is that the words you choose will go past being a simple goal and will become part of the way you identify yourself, and thus, a guiding light for your efforts.

Take a look at some of his past iterations here.

In the meantime, I feel like it’s time for me to take up this challenge. So here are the three words I’ll be using to guide my coming year.


As in “I want to be present”. First, for my family because there’s a lot going on at both ends of the spectrum. On one end, Tyler and Abbie are growing up faster than I’d ever believe, and I want to make sure I continue to be a valuable presence in their lives, especially during these critical teen and tween years. At the other end, my Mom is facing a few challenges as she rounds the bend of her eighth decade, and I’m anticipating that she’ll need me more than ever. Of course, marriages don’t work if both partners aren’t fully engaged, so I absolutely need to be here for Bridgett.

Second, this word reminds me that my health and well-being are key. I will stop putting off exercise and plan to do a mix of going to the gym and getting back to my Wing Tsun kung fu practice. I’ll also incorporate more meditation into my regular routine. All in all, I can’t continue to act like I’m that Teflon 20 year old because, well, at 48 I’m not.


This word reminds me to always declare what I want. I haven’t been good about that that. Rather, I’ve operated on the hope that others would simply recognize my value and send opportunities my way. I was also afraid of rejection. After all, if you never say you want it, no one can tell you you can’t have it, can they? But someone reminded me that my clarity and declaration will make other people make a decision. No matter which way it goes, that’s best. Finally, brave is also about having the confidence to let people know that I know my shit. I’ve spent enough time in the trenches of this marketing, business and contemporary culture game that I don’t have to be shy about saying that. I’m here to play and here to win.


This word reminds me to work on removing all extraneous things from my life, both personally and professionally. That includes relationships, clients, commitments. You get the idea. It’s about surrounding myself with only the essentials so that I can do my best work and be my best self for the people who matter most.

A final thought

I feel like these are the right words for me for this year.  I expect that, as life develops and I continue this practice in 2016, my three words will change.  That’s as it should be.  I’ll be in a different place and will have had a bunch of experiences that will require a different set of reminders for who I want to be and what I want to achieve in that year.

Present.  Brave. Simplify.

Yeah, I’m ready, 2015.  Let’s go!

So, what are your three words for the new year?  Drop a note in the comments below and LMK.

Posted by Rob Fields

Observer. Curator. Marketer. Dot connector.

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  • Indy Neogy

    Interesting post. I’m finding it pretty tricky to come up with just 3 words.

    I think the first for me is Thrive. 2014 was about surviving in the end, both individually and as a family we hit some rough seas. If the storm is passing, it’s time to stretch further.

    Second, I’m going to nominate Thread. I need to find the story of the thread that ties all the things I do together. It makes sense to me, but until I can explain it to others, they’ll keep valuing people who focus in more traditional ways over me.

    Finally, I think I have to steal Brave. Similar reasons overall. It’s a noisy world and it feels like more than ever you have to declare both desires and expertise…