Noun, verb, annual theme
I’m a big fan of words, especially those with multiple meanings.
Take the word “word,” for instance.
As a noun, it’s a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing. It’s also a command, password, or signal. For example: “Amy gave me the word to start unlocking my potential.”
As a verb, it’s how you choose to use particular words to say or write something, as in, “She words her newsletter in a particularly clever way.”
It’s even an informal exclamation used to express agreement: “That Amy is one creative cat. Word.”
And just for fun, you could use them together in a sentence: “She words her newsletter with just the right words to give me the word to follow my dreams. Word.”
(Okay, that’s two sentences, but you get the gist.)
The thing is, words have power* — no matter their part of speech.
So it won’t surprise you to learn that rather than make New Year’s resolutions, I select a word to guide me and focus my efforts for the year ahead.
Over the years, I’ve had some interesting choices, starting with “badass,” a noun/adjective that morphed into “Badass Blaschka,” a long-held nickname and excellent use of alliteration.
In 2020, I went with a blended verb (not the noun or conjunction): “be(com)ing,” which combines “being” and “becoming” (because I’m a rebel like that who knows the rules well enough to break them from time to time).
I set an intention to “be” (rather than just to “do”) because it’s in those quiet moments and the lack of busyness that my greatest insights and creativity come alive.
And because I’m all about the possibilities and aspire to be a lifelong learner, “becoming” spoke to making positive changes and moving toward something greater...
Namely, becoming more me, which is enhanced and complemented by being.
Last year, I picked the verb “illuminate.”
I loved that this word was multi-layered in its meaning: to shine a light on something, clarify or make something understandable, make spectacular, and glow or light up.
It’s about taking helpful, positive action by seeking knowledge and sharing wisdom, highlighting the brilliance all around us. It also refers to someone thought to have an unusual degree of enlightenment.
In 2021, it was time for me to unapologetically light a new path and shine even brighter, particularly fitting as we came out of what had arguably been a year of darkness for so many.
And as I became illuminated, I aspired to illuminate others. (Which is also why I named this now one-year-old (!) newsletter Illuminate Me.)
And this year, my word is: “momentum.”
Momentum is the strength or force that allows something to continue or grow stronger or faster as time passes.
Though technically a noun, this word is arguably the most verb-y of them. It’s all about positive motion and continuous improvement. Momentum shows up in the small actions, done consistently, that ultimately lead you to success. I also see momentum as essential to flow, transformation, and evolution, three things of which I’m definitely a fan.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I’ve managed to have my best career years yet. I want to build on them in a way that helps me ascend, grow, and explore new territory rather than become complacent and stuck in my comfort zone.
Will it be scary and a bit messy at times? Yeah, but real progress usually is; let’s keep it going together.
And speaking of momentum, feel free to adopt it as your word of the year, too; there’s more than enough for everyone to use to their advantage.
In my latest Forbes article, I share the three best ways to create, build, and maintain it in your career.
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P.P.S. When I’m not writing this newsletter or ruminating on words with multiple meanings, I’m a social media ghostwriter. (Yep, that’s a thing). I help founders, entrepreneurs, and CXOs craft their stories to communicate and connect better by magnifying their reach and impact. (Think personal branding and thought leadership.) Learn more here.
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*Indeed, words have incredible power. This week, I was reminded of that via an unexpected thank you from a sweet soul who reached out to me to tell me that she’d recently lost her father. She’s been heartbroken and unable to write (something she usually enjoys) but said she found one of my articles at just the right moment to get her out of her head and on to paper again.
In essence, my words helped her find hers. And that’s a big deal.