Powerful Lessons From Your Word of the Year - Christine Kane

This is the time of year when I get emails and Facebook notes from people who downloaded my Word of the Year Discovery Tool last year at this time.  They’re writing to share the breakthroughs that happened to them as they let a single word “guide” them throughout the past 365 days.

This practice of choosing a word-of-the-year (rather than making resolutions) is something I wrote about in a blog post back in 2006. The post went mildly viral.  Since then, all kinds of articles have been written about it, jewelry artists create custom-made word jewelry for people who want to wear their word, and Facebook is alive and kicking with discussions about it.  (My Platinum Mastermind group has already started talking in our private forum about their word for next year.)

I now believe that choosing a word for the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our own upleveling. Our word calls us out, rather than driving us to work harder.

In the world of business ownership and entrepreneurship, the idea of intention all too often revolves around ego-driven achievement. So it goes like this:

If you have a goal, you name that goal. You go for that goal. You make it happen. You reach that goal. You get the reward. Then you make another goal.  You are almost always going for “more” or “better” or “faster.”

And yes, this is a completely valid way to do things.  And it works, too! Hell, it’s what makes many businesses successful!

However, the thing about goals and intentions when created from such a hardcore place of drive is that often, what we say we want is actually coming from a place of lack or shame or fear.  So, yes, we can make lots of stuff happen, but the true thing we desire – our own freedom – doesn’t ever happen.

And this is what strikes me about these messages from people who chose a word based on my coaching in that little tool I created.  They are most excited about the strength and freedom that unfolded within.  Not just the results they created.  Almost always, they report that they had a little bit of resistance to their word at first. Or they were surprised at their word. Or they wanted a “cooler” word. Or a “bigger” word.  But the word they ended up choosing was the perfect word for their true upleveling.

When we step back and just allow, our word of the year seems to simply choose us.

This is not to say that you can’t go forth and achieve and get things done and be your big badass self.  (In fact, action is required!)  But it is to say that setting an intention is often much more fun when there’s mystery involved.  When you open up to a word that will truly guide you, you’re doing much more than playing some kitschy little new year’s game. You are letting your soul show you the way to your own wild open-hearted custom-made path of happy.

So, I’d rather hear from you than me on this topic.  If you’ve ever chosen a word of the year, what was your experience during that year? What happened? What didn’t happen? And most important, how did it open you up?  Share away and let’s inspire some peeps!

Oh, and if you want to grab my Word-Of-The-Year Discovery Tool, it’s here for the taking.

Get your Word-of-the-Year Discovery Toolkit

  • Laura

    I am excited about this. When I first saw the Wordle the two words that stuck out to me were “ritual” and “grace”. Ritual is a new concept for me and I was willing to explore it, but I committed to the word, grace. I am interested to see how it all unfolds for me. I learned the power of intention once – I wrote an amazing song from simply stating to my teacher earlier that day that I was going to come back to my next lesson with a new song. Sure enough, I got into a state of letting and kept myself open, instead of pushing, and it all unfolded in an amazing way. Now, I am going to let that happen more in my life starting now. So, I shall work with the word “grace” this year.

  • Leah

    My word for 2015 was Surrender. It felt important to let go of the constant “trying” and let more “allowing” happen. As a practice, every morning I go into child pose and say, surrender, as I allow myself to sink into the support of the floor. Then after a few rounds of sun salutations I relax into corpse pose and imagine a large body of water holding me, floating, surrendering. I have been blessed with so many supports and opportunities in my life this year, one of which is you and the Uplevel team! For 2016 I am thinking of a more active word, maybe Abundance to continue opening up to and creating even more awesomeness. 😍

  • DeLani Bartlette

    My word for this year was Passion. At the time, I had no passion in my relationship or my job. My life was just dry and bleak. Since then, I have found my passion – both in a career choice and in a new, passionate relationship! My life might not be completely fulfilled yet, but it is juicier and full of passion! Thank you!

  • michaela pixie mahtani

    This year, 2015, is the first year I committed to living from and into my Word of the Year: Abundance. My desire is to Uplevel my life so that I can experience Abundance in every area of life possible: health, love, wisdom, creativity, divine appointments, opportunities, work & success. Last year, I took a leap of faith, started all over to pursue my dream of being a songwriter. I moved from Winchester, MA where I was self-employed with a successful piano studio to moving to Nashville, TN where I arrived with a U-Haul of basic belongings, a handful of songs, and an idea for a book that I’ve been working on. Since then, I found a job to cover me for awhile, I’ve been co-writing & building my catalog and I’m about halfway on my book idea. Some might say I’ve stepped into my dream. I’ve often felt I stepped into a mess. This is not for the fainthearted! But I’ve also learned that that initial leap of faith, the willingness to step out, sets things in motion and now I’m starting to see evidence of it. My prayer is that all the initial steps increase and that I’m being led to another beautiful season. I’m ever thankful for baby steps and miracles!

    Christine, I loved your video about Abundance and the practical application with the lamp. When I heard that I laughed, because I had not one but two lamps in my 900 sq. ft. apt. that have needed replacing for awhile. Yesterday, I took an hour out of my day to live from my word of the year with intention. I love the light this shed in my life! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Sam Ramsey

    I chose my first word of the year in 2009. We were having a very tough time financially and my husband’s printing industry job was circling the drain. We chose the words HOPE and PRAYER, with the thought that these are 2 things that people cannot take away from you. We post our words on the bathroom mirror so that we see them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. We had an incredible year, and were hooked on the idea. Since then, I have used FAMILY, SILENCE, CALM,and MIRACLES (my 2 new grandsons).
    This year I have chosen ANGELS, to remind me that they are always there guiding me along. Thank you, Christine, for starting and sharing this wonderful alternative to resolutions!
    Sam & Tom

  • Catherine Parkinson

    My Word for the year was Accept. The end of the year finds me accepting and moving on from bad experiences, bad news, “interesting” choices my children have made, accepting success and failure, accepting what I can and cannot do and accepting how other people tick and loving them for it even though it is different to me I can now differentiate between the person and the action and I can see when I cannot possibly do something and I can accept and let it go. I have progressed so far in my journey this year. Thank you for this amazing way to “be” and to still progress and change. My next year’s word is still being worked on but I know what ever it is it will be right for me.

  • Debbie

    This is my 5th year of choosing a word. Can not even begin to convey to my friends just how powerful this has been in my life. Every single time my Word has been rather odd at the moment but exactly what I needed. My first time doing this I chose “Me” back when I was not even ready to acknowledge how unhappy I was in my marriage. By the end of that year I had made great gains moving towards a happier different life without my former husband, changes at work, culling friends that did not need to be in my life anymore, choosing activities, foods, movies, etc that really fed my Soul. The strange thing about picking a Word for the year is that it never pans out like I think it will and the small things the Word impacts makes such a huge difference in my life. I love this.

    My Word for 2015 is “Adventure”!

  • Sharon

    2014 was my first word of the year and it was a struggle to decide I chose ‘self-love’ a very unusual one for me as I usually keep as busy as possible and help others so I don’t look at me. It’s been an interesting tousle and has given me focus and reason to allow myself to do yoga weekly and look after myself, I am in a better place 12 months later. Now to meditate on this years word ….

  • Jen

    My word for 2014 was a four-letter word: WAIT. Yes, I know it’s a dirty word in a world where being decisive and taking instant action rules. However, waiting is what really served me this year. This year, I learned the value of TIMING, and how pushing for things to happen before it’s time is such a colossal waste if energy. There was a huge change I had wanted to make for almost 4 years now, but in spite of my best efforts and massive commitment, I could not get it to come together. Then, suddenly, it all came together, not because I strove and efforted to force it to happen on my time schedule, but simply because the timing was right. By waiting for the convergence of clarity about my choice, the resources needed, and the emergence of the correct opportunity, it all came together in one effortless moment. Now that it’s accomplished, I can see just how underrated waiting is the the grand scheme of things.

    • Christine Kane

      Jen – Wow. That’s fabulous.

      And I don’t think waiting in and of itself is considered “dirty.” What you are describing here is “conscious waiting.” Just today I was sharing with my team that I have not pushed hard on monetary goals for us in the last two years because I knew we had building from the inside to do – and it was a kind of “waiting.” But it was a conscious choice from deep within. Which is what you are describing here. and it’s beautiful. So happy for you to use that word to go deeper into a place of self-awareness – which is a powerful part of any business success too!

  • Desiree

    My word in 2014 was Balance. To find a good balance in all the different areas of my life as each was screaming to have more attention. To be able to successfully balance my business and family was the priority. But then there was also my exercise, spiritual, other immediate family, friends, health etc. Lots of things, and equally as important. I feel like I did find a nice balance and hope to keep working on that. My word for 2015 is “Breakthrough!”, breaking through mind sets,personal fears, money ceilings, negative people, my own negative voice. Visually treating each day as though it were a breakthrough of new ideas, new relationships, new possibilities, new business successes and new personal growth!

    • Christine Kane

      Breakthrough! I love it Desiree! Can’t wait to see what unfolds!

  • Miranda

    I have been doing this since 2009 and every year it has been very interesting. This year I chose LIGHT because my life was full of things and needed to become lighter, I wanted to see the light at the end of a long tunnel, but I also wanted to shine my light into the world.
    It is the first year that this word did not have the same effect. It accompanied me alright, it meant something, but I do not feel much lighter and am still in that tunnel. I was a bit mad. But now I realize that in order to become lighter I needed to release stuff. I did to a certain extent. But not enough. So my word for 2015 is release. Release the burden, the guilt, the Anger, the ‘I should have’ etc. Release the forgiveness, the people I hold a grudge with, my beliefs of how things should be. But also release a new program in my business.
    So sometimes, one word leads you to another. And as they say, it’s not about the destination, but the journey!

    • Christine Kane

      Miranda – YES! My words always build on each other. And sometimes a word teaches me its lessons in paradox too. (as you beautifully describe here.) Release is a powerful word. And it’s a giant part of the process when i begin working with new clients in their businesses. Lots of times, they have to clean up a bunch of messes in order to get into the consistent flow of making money. (And great to be releasing a new program! Go you!)

  • Tammi J.

    My word of the Year for 2014 was ENOUGH. After a year of extravagance and excess in 2013 with two of our children getting married, I wanted a year of resting in ENOUGH. I was feeling quite content with who I was, what I did and what I had and wanted to remind myself that it was ENOUGH. I even found a cute little wooden box with these words stenciled on it… “You are Enough, You Do Enough, You Have Enough…Be HAPPY!” I arranged it in a prominent place on my dresser so that I would see it every morning and be reminded. Then, on April 11, 2014, after only 3 months of basking in the glow of my Enough….I was diagnosed with stage IIIc Ovarian Cancer. Suddenly I wasn’t Enough. Suddenly, nothing was Enough. Not Enough time, Not Enough energy, Not Enough knowledge, Not Enough Answers, Not Enough Faith….I was NOT ENOUGH. Thankfully, after one major surgery, 6 chemo treatments and 5 radiation treatments, I’m feeling better and the reports are good. I can look back on my year and definitely say “I’ve had ENOUGH!” LOL! As He always does, my God takes me where I’m at and lovingly leads me where I need to be. No, I’m not Enough….but my God is Enough! He is enough comfort, enough peace, enough strength, enough power and enough grace to carry me through all the places I am not enough. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakenesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I haven’t fully decided on my Word of the Year for 2015…although I’m giving serious consideration to “MORE”!! LOL!

    • Christine Kane

      Tammi – WOW! What a profound piece to read. I love your humor, too! 🙂 “More” would certainly be an ironic word to choose – AND I would encourage you to search within to ask what it is you truly and deeply need and desire now. Not from an “I’m not enough” place – but from a “who am I being called to become?” place. And let me just say that – even with the diagnosis and health stuff you’ve gone through – you are indeed ENOUGH. 🙂

    • Desiree

      Tammy, I love what you wrote and love your thoughts on enough, I never feel enough. I love the thought of resting in Christ since He is enough

  • Whitney Bishop

    Last year was my first year to choose a word of the year. I chose SHINE. What a difference it made. I invested in myself in ways I never have before. I was more deliberate about the things I said yes to AND the things I said no to. I was surrounded by messages from the universe every single day – sometimes a whisper, sometimes a cosmic joke, sometimes a roar. SHINE! each of them said. And so, I did. This year, I’m choosing the word SERVE. I can’t wait to see how it shows up in my life, where it takes me and the increase in impact I’ll have in this world as a result.

    • Christine Kane

      Beautifully stated Whitney! And I am honored to be someone who is totally watching you shine away!

    • Carolyn

      Bloom To bear a flower or flowers.
      To support life in abundance.
      To glow; be radiant.
      I began to bloom in my business life even with challenges I could not have imagined ! I felt a beginning to move toward fullness in my spirit and to regain my own fullness or power or spirit which was waning . 2014 taught me so much … 2015 – wholehearted .