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If you could commit to one word to improve your effectiveness, what would it be?

Sometimes an intentional focus on just one word can make a huge difference.

In December I shared my one-word resolution for 2017: ruthless (as in ruthless prioritization).

Over the past week, I’ve heard several stories in the news about how this is the time of year that people tend to veer from their resolutions. I’ve been surprised how intentional focus on just one word can make a significant impact. Happily I’ve been able to stick with this word, and it’s made a huge difference for me so far in 2017.  

Ruthless Example #1: Over the past several years I’ve been working with a business partner to transform an idea into a viable company. As we’ve dipped our toes into the waters of entrepreneurship, we began working with a variety of clients in order to help them improve existing training programs or build new ones. Working a full-time job, I had to work on many of these projects in the evenings, weekends or take vacation time. As we engaged more clients, it was time to decide: stay with a day job that I love and continue to work with awesome co-workers, or devote 100% of my focus to our growing client base and build something amazing. While I’d tried to do both for several years, I couldn’t sustain it. It was time to choose. On January 3rd, I shared the news with my supervisor and my closest colleagues that I would be leaving SightLife in order to build something amazing.

Ruthless Example #2: I had spent a lot of time putting together a full-day lesson on basic presentation skills for a client. Several days before the session was to take place, the client informed me that I needed to cut about 60 minutes out of an already lean presentation. As I reviewed the lesson plan, I realized I had to let go of an entire section on adult learning theory that I’ve always felt was important. When I reflected on this with ruthless objectivity, I realized that the lesson would still be effective without the additional content (in fact, it was probably received better by the participants because it didn’t veer into seemingly superfluous theory, it stuck almost exclusively to practical tips and application opportunities).

Ruthless Example #3: In my original post, I also said I wanted to ruthlessly edit each of my blog posts before I hit “Publish”. This one is still a work in progress, but hopefully each post is growing cleaner, relieved of unnecessary words and tangents.

How about you? If you had to commit to one word in 2017, what word do you think could help you to be more effective? (The nice thing is that we’re already in February, so you would really only need to commit to the word for 325 more days!)

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