My Word of the Year for 2017: Essential

Originally published by Lindsey Pollak 11 January 2017

In 2016 my life became a lot less hectic as I employed my word of the year: Simplify.

I added more breathing room in my schedule – and my closet – and adopted a general mantra that “less is more.” My year of simplifying was so fulfilling and freeing that I knew I wanted to build on the concept in 2017.

My 2017 word of the year came to me as I was doing yoga (cliche I know…). While standing in tree pose, I was thinking about my core, which led me to ruminating on core values, which led me to: What is essential? And that’s when it dawned on me. 2017 will be “The Year of Essentials.”

Every time I need to make a decision this year, I will ask, “Is it essential?” That goes for how I spend my money, how I spend my time and how I spend my energy.

The Fruits of a Simpler Life

When I look back on 2016, I feel peace and satisfaction that I was able to spend time doing more of what I wanted because I simplified. I could focus on spending more time with family and close friends and giving more of my time to fewer clients and to my daughter’s school.

When people think of simplifying, they often confuse it with “giving something up,” but it’s actually the opposite. Instead you’re concentrating your time and energy on fewer, more important things.

Financially, as a business owner, my quest to simplify included making sure I am working with the right vendors for me, and carefully tracking my finances on business development and other activities.

Deciding What’s Essential

And that is what leads me into my 2017 theme. And I wanted to share it with you because it is universal, but also very personal. What is essential to me may not be essential to you. For example…

  • Practicing yoga? Essential to me, but maybe not interesting to you.
  • Having a pet? Not essential to me. But for many of my friends, a pet is an essential source of joy.
  • Continually learning and reading? Essential to me.
  • Attending big networking events? Not essential to me. For someone newly starting their career, that might be at the top of their list. Right now I’m finding more value in small group events and one-on-one meetings.
  • Mentoring young people? Essential to me. My recent TEDx Talk clarified to me that we need more people championing millennials, and that is an essential part of my mission.

What will I do when I’m uncertain? I will remember the words of Greg McKeown, whose book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, made a huge impression on me (clearly) and is an — ahem — essential read if you haven’t already checked it out. McKeown wrote:

“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”

The whole purpose of my Year of Essentials will be drilling down to what is most essential — to me and me only. One essential that will not waver? The dialogue I continue to have with my readers. So, for that, I thank you for being part of my 2017 journey. I know it’s going to be a great year!

SOURCE: My Word of the Year for 2017: Essential

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