28 December 2010

My One Word::FOCUS

I have never been much for resolutions. Those sort of things never work out for me. They are too far-reaching with not enough roots to take hold. And who doesn't make pie-in-the-sky declarations for their year? They are just rarely attainable. And failure is no fun.

So when I read on Christine Kane's inspirational blog about how people were choosing words for the year to frame them and give them direction, I thought that sounded like something I could do.

I jumped right in and declared that my word for 2010 would be INSPIRE. And then I started reading about how people really spent time coming up with just the perfect word. I felt that I had jumped the gun. I mean, it is not any surprise that I seek to be inspired every day and I want to be an inspiration to others. And to recap my year, I think that I did just that:

  • Initiated a monthly "Inspired by..." challenge from December 2009-May 2009
  • Proposed my first ever gallery exhibit "Inspired by..." with the inspiration coming from the local artists at Gallery Q
  • Opening of the "Inspired by..." exhibit August-September 2010
  • Attended the Bead & Button show and took classes with Sherri Haab
  • Tried new techniques, like etching and metal work and polymer clay, to help me grow my skills
  • Sought out bead artisans to inspire me
  • Started the groundwork for my first line of jewelry that will be unveiled in early 2011
  • Wrote 158 blog posts and replied to hundreds of comments
  • Doubled my followers to nearly 500
But I wanted more than that. So I thought about a new word and unveiled my second word for the year: UP.

This was a tad harder to achieve. But being that I am more of a glass is half full kind of person, it was within my grasp, but not altogether easy.

UP could be many things...
…looking up

…laugh it up
…stand up
…listen up
…step up
…step it up
…up and at ‘em
…make up
…make it up
…get up
…wake up
…rise up
…chin up
…stock up
…keep up
…keep it up
…grow up
…give it up
…live it up
…giddy up

I tried to live my life in a way that had me looking up rather than feeling down. Sometimes that was hard. There was discouragement and disappointment along the way. Not every piece I sent in to a magazine got published, but many of them did and that had me rising up. I didn't always find the situations I was involved in pleasant but that didn't stop me from laughing it up. There were times when I wasn't sure that I should keep doing this, but I kept it up and now I have a plan to hopefully propel me into the next phase, so giddy up might be very appropriate right now. This horse can't get me there fast enough.

In thinking about what I wanted to do this year, I have been re-reading all the great posts that people who read Christine Kane's blog have written. And along the way I found some tools that I thought would help me in choosing my word for 2011.

Christine Kane has a worksheet that you might want to download to guide you in selecting a word that works for you. We all know that writing things down is a sure way to get them done, so this worksheet might not be a bad idea. Click here to have Christine Kane's Word of the Year Discovery Tool sent to your email.

And I have also discovered a website called My One Word that can not only help you select a word, but lend you support throughout the year. I am not sure if they will continue this for 2011, but I found a lot of great support here and will go back and read some of the blog posts. The premise for My One Word is that resolutions don't work. They set you up as destined to fail because you focus on becoming a person you want to be rather than being open to the person that God wants you to be.

If you are interested in scrapbooking you might be persuaded to join Ali Edwards in her class One Little Word. I am considering it even though I am no scrapbooker (just a wannabe).

When you choose that one word, things start aligning right then and there. You will find that you have something guiding you. I have heard people who pick a word like FORGIVENESS and then find themselves faced with all manner of situations that warrant a true test to that word. It may seem like magic, but I am a believer that when you open yourself up to the Universe and ask for what you want, things start happening to bring that to you. However, you have to be open to the challenges you will receive with that, and it is not always going to be smooth sailing. It will be a test, but if you come prepared for that test and you persevere, you will succeed.

For me, my 2011 is all about breaking out of where I have been, but in order to do that I really need my one word: FOCUS.

I read somewhere that FOCUS = Follow One Course Until Successful. I really like that. I really need that. I don't know if I have expressed it here before, but I have a bad case of creative ADD. I cannot concentrate on one method, one material, one style. I feel like I am all over the map. I am not sure that I even have a style with my jewelry, or my clothes, or my horribly sparse lack of interior decorating. I have grandiose ideas and then get them half started or buy all the supplies and equipment to do them and then move on to the next thing.

This FOCUS will be a big challenge for me. Because this year I have cut back my daytime working hours to 4 days a week, so that I can FOCUS on growing my business in order to keep pulling back those daytime hours. But what I have found in this past month that was a dry run, is that I am not able to FOCUS and commit to those hours as sacred. I am hoping that if I can FOCUS, I will be able to bring my idea for my jewelry into clearer vision, pinpoint and agressively go after getting into several respected art shows and grow my online presence through a more directed action plan and enhanced emphasis on selling jewelry that people want online. I do already have a custom order pending for the dance studio for the spring and plans for a new streamlined booth display (hopefully the banners I ordered as the main draw will be in by Thursday which will give me one day to set them up and take a picture before the deadline for the first show I am attempting to get into). I am also trying to hone my skills and FOCUS on learning to draw with Jeannie's class starting soon (come on and join me!).

So that I can stay FOCUSed on this word, I decided that I would turn that word into art. I plan to make my word of the year into something that I can put up on my wall of my studio to inspire me to stay on track. In fact, I plan to add the words from 2010 up there as well. There could be ceramics or polymer clay or painting. Maybe paper mache or photography or mixed media collage. Wouldn't it be cool to look up on your wall and see a whole flock of words there to keep you motivated and to remind you of your past years' success? I think that will be a perfect inspiration for me.

Now let's just hope that I can FOCUS on one art medium so that I don't waste the whole year trying to find the 'perfect' one.

What is your word for the year ahead?
What one word is calling out to you, challenging you with a seed of truth that your life is lacking? 
Can you see that one word shimmering before you right now?
Will you invite that word into your heart to ripen fully inside of you this year?
Will  you be open to the ups and downs and ins and outs of where that word will lead you?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!


Alice said...

I love the word you have chosen. It would be a good word for me too....squirrel!...as I have never been good at focusing on one thing for very long with so many irons in the fire(sorry, couldn't help myself on the 'squirrel' thing).

I've never been able to choose a word for some reason--couldn't find the right fit. But this year I am choosing GRACE. My goal is to be graceful in every situation, to always walk gracefully in their shoes before judging them, to be graceful to those who are less than kind to me, and most importantly, to be graceful in my thoughts--which more often than not tend towards the negative and judgemental. It will not be easy, but I'm ready and willing.

Happy New Year to you!

Marcie Abney Carroll said...

I really like the "focus" acronym. I think it's great. Congrats on all the steps forward that you have made and it will be fun continuing to watch you move forward. I can't wait to see your line of jewelry! Oh, and congrats on BEAD STAR! I saw your necklace and was so excited for you. (I'm glad it won, I voted for it!)
Happy New Year, can't wait to see what it brings!

Libby Leuchtman said...

Great post. It really got me thinking. But first things first. I so enjoyed your notes on the comments I left on your blog. It made me feel so welcomed into this blog world of ours.
Thank you so much.
I am not sure if I can think of one word. I think Explore is coming to mind. It can encompass so many things.
Happy New Year Erin!

Unknown said...

What a great post! I'd really have to ponder my word for the new year. Focus would be a great choice for me as well. Sound like we have a lot in common...I feel like I'm all over the place too. Too many projects unfinished and I dabble in just about everything. Love your idea of posting your word in the studio. You really got me thinking...

Unknown said...

I chose a word last year, Growth, but I guess I wasn't specific enough because I mainly grew in girth! I'm going to have better luck w/ my word this year :)

peacockfairy said...

You've had a great year Erin! For 2011, my goal is to try to get published in a few magazines I haven't tried yet, and to still find time to make jewelry after my baby is born!

Cheeseboy said...

I love the way you write. Your train of thought on this word and your reasoning had me captivated.

I think my word for the year will be "simplify". Or "enjoy".

Createology said...

This post is not only very timely it is well thought out and well written. I admire you for really working towards your word. I did a word in 2010 and it did help me. I am again selecting a word for 2011 and hoping I can be even more "focused" in this new year. Thank you for sharing and linking the "helps". Enjoy ending 2010...

Unknown said...

You know I was thinking about you and your "inspire" goal the other day and how you so inspired me this past year and I am so glad to have been a part of this. I did pick my word for this year and it is Grow. I want to grow more as a person, beader, and maybe even an artist? I am really looking forward to putting this to the test!
Congrats and Hugs on Bead Star! We all know you are a star for us!

Nicole Valentine-Rimmer said...

Great post, it made me think. My word would probably be Achieve, I've set goals and really want to stick to them. If a word calls to me it'd probably be happy, I really try and be positive no matter what.
Can you see that one word shimmering before you right now? I'm going to think on it more, I may print and frame a word for the year to hang in the studio.

rosebud101 said...

I have chosen two words for 2011. Since the word CHALLENGE chose me for 2010. Believe me, I could live without that! I decided my "life" word for 2011 would be: HOPE! I have decided that my 2nd word would apply to my work. I have chosen: DETAIL. I want to work on adding beautiful details to my beads and jewelry.
Your blog word was chosen well for 2010. I was very INSPIRED by your blog.

SummersStudio said...

Oh, I do love this. Creative ADD is something I can completely and totally relate to. It's a little like having sparklers in your mind isn't it? Focus is such a great word for you and I see it as a natural follow on from where you've been in the last year with Inspired. And really, thanks to you, and you having chosen a word last year, I started thinking about this a wee while ago. For many reasons personal and creatively, I've been looking at transfomation as my word for the year. I haven't commited yet but plan to make that a bit of a New Years ritual. No resolutions for me. I couldn't even commit to drinking more water for my last New Year's resolution in 2003 :-). Thanks so much for providing me with so much food for thought and inspiration over the year or so I've been reading the wonderful things you have written.

Cindy said...

Erin, I enjoyed this post -both your reflections on all of your amazing achievements in 2010 (and they were many!), as well as looking ahead. I do not have a special word selected, but I may just have to borrow "focus"...I could use a huge dose of it! :-) I wish you the best in focusing in 2011, and also want to thank you for all of the INSPIRATION you have shared in 2010 and will undoubtedly share in 2011! :-)

JeannieK said...

Great post Ms. Lady Worksmith. Alway provocative
My word is the same it has alway been, teach. This propells me to keep learning.
If I had to describe in one word what I do, it would be teach.

I roll with the punches daily, and I'm always open to ups and downs, it keeps me young. We're students of life.

Erin, thank you for a wonderful year of posts. I know you have no idea how may people you inspire and challenge every day, but we do.

Paige said...

I love your word, Erin! Congrats on your accomplishments this year! I've decided to have a word for this year as well, and mine is "simple". I'm in the process of writing a post about it. "Focus" was on my list to choose from as well, though--it's such a great word!

Unknown said...

You are always such an Inspiration! The jewellery you make is very Beautiful! I know you will not dissapoint in 1011. I think my word for 2011 will be to FLY! yes...and heres a toast to us all for 2011!

melanie brooks said...

Erin, Thanks for this post. Last year I chose the word Journey and I think I really did explore it (I will be posting about all of this soon!) My word for next year will be RESPOND. I will keep it in mind as a reminder to respond to people more (like right now! commenting!)

I am already rather FOCUSed, almost too much... so my word will help me to branch out and explore and RESPOND to new materials, which is something I am looking forward to.

Thanks for sharing!

Lisa Tracy said...

Erin, THANK YOU for your thoughts! Believe it or not, I had never heard of choosing a meaningful word instead of making resolutions. I like it! A lot. Now I just gotta find that special word. I have so many "wants" warring with "needs" and I hope to find a word that will help with both. "Energize" has been in my mind since I first read your post yesterday, and so far it's sticking. Still need to find some quiet time to reflect a bit more before settling, though. Thank you again for the inspiration!


Michelle said...

Thank you, Erin, for the thought provoking post. It is wonderful to see all that you have accomplished this year!

This post has given me some food for thought. I really like your word--FOCUS. I'm all over the map with my interests in the bead world (so many things to learn, so little time). I'd like to share that word, if you don't mind. But I think I may pick one or 2 more. I have to mull this over. A word that I'm thinking of may not have the impact on my creativity but on the running of my business. It has been a very tough year in all ways possible. And maybe I needed to experience this to open my mind.

Thank you again for this post. It's always a pleasure to visit.

Heather Powers said...

I love how you filtered your whole year through one word. I'm looking forward to seeing where your focus takes you in 2011. Thanks for sharing the worksheet link, I'm finding it very helpful. I'm learning towards CARE as my word, it would cover many facets of my life that I would like to change. Wishing you the best for the new year.

Brandi Hussey said...

I absolutely love this post, my friend! I didn't pick a word for 2010, but it came to me anyway through an art print (talk about kismet!). But you've inspired me to pick a word for 2011, and I already know what it will be!

Lance said...

I love how this past year has been so filled with inspired moments and "upness" (is that a word?!?!?). Really, though, I just see how you have shined over this past year, and what a gift that is to everyone with whom you touch (like me!).

I look forward to what this new year holds for you!

Me? I'm still working on what my word for the new year will be (for 2010 it was "splash"). More to come soon on that....

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to seeing what inspiration you receive and give this coming year!


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