Friday, January 14, 2011

"One Little Word" challenge: Year 2

A year ago, I blogged here about the “One Little Word” project, which I learned about from writer/artist Ali Edwards’ blog. It poses the challenge of finding one word on which to hitch your star for the upcoming year. Or, as Ali explains it, “Essentially the idea is to choose a word (or let it choose you) that has the potential to make an impact on your life…a single word to focus on over the course of the year.”

I chose the word “possible,” knowing as I did so that as an adjective with which to forecast an entire year, my word ran the risk of being so neutral as to be incontrovertible. “Anything’s possible,” I told myself. “Sure, I guess that’s possible.” “Could it be possible?” I felt a little like I was copping out on the intent of the challenge by choosing such a wishy-washy word, but it still felt like the right one to me.

Being new to the “one little word” challenge, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to evaluate my word choice or not from the perspective I’ve gained one year later. In a way, my response now to the word “possible” is the same now as it was when I chose it: “Possible? I suppose so. Anything’s possible, right?”

And in the year just passed, some things were possible and happened; others that seemed possible did not come to pass. A year ago, I looked ahead with uncertainty to various aspects of my life, unsure of what outcomes were likely to lie ahead, and that seemed like the best I could do as a new year began: admit the infinite range of possibilities.

A year later, I’m feeling compelled to try the same thing again, only this time a word came to me unbidden: “succeed.” Definitely not the noun form, “success,” but the verb. And with it comes the grade-school definition of a verb: an action word. Success is an end in itself, a goal reached, a conclusion safely arrived at: but succeed, an action word, is a process.

In choosing it as my Word for 2011, I take on the responsibility of making it relevant. I may not reach every measure of success I dream of in 2011, but I will take actions throughout the next twelve months that count toward the process of succeeding. I won’t arrive at every final goal I hold in my heart, but I will require myself to demonstrate more steps than missteps, more actions than reactions, more positives than negatives, more good moods than bad moods. In this way, I’ll try to make every day an act within the process of succeeding. Not success; not that ultimate final goal. But succeed: the ongoing process of executing actions with positive outcomes.

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