Finding Joy In the Journey: My 2018 Three Words
Jennifer Wilson

At the start of each year, I envision what I want the END of the year to look like. What do I most want to accomplish or change? How do I want to feel? What do I want others to experience through me? When I have a sense of what I want to make happen, I map my year’s journey in three powerful words.

Some years, my pathway seems so clear. It’s as if I awaken in the new year and my three words are on the tip of my tongue. Other years, it’s harder to see my course and my guiding words jumble inside of me, struggling to stand out. This year has been one of those years.

That’s why it’s taken me a little longer to get to this point of sharing my 2018 Three Words with you. Part of the uncertainty stems from accomplishing certain quests – like running the Full Marathon twice now – and not being sure of what’s to come. Some of it originates from changes in the marketplace, unease in our country, growth in our business and shifts within my family that make it clear that things are evolving, but not completely clear how.

Yet great leaders commit and act, even in times of uncertainty. So, here are my 2018 Three Words:

  • Change. It almost feels like a buzz word, and perhaps we could say “duh,” too. But I cannot remember a time where our profession has seen such change – driven by demographics, technology, cultural shifts, and consolidation. I expect the face of our clients to change as we continue to say goodbye to beloved firm leaders as they retire, and welcome new, invigorated Next Generation leadership within our long-served clients. We must guide our clients in making considerable investments in automation and process change, and we are also investing in new technology and processes this year to evolve our client experience.

    By the end of 2018, my work will change, too, as Renee and Brianna on our team take their next steps in their coaching and consulting journeys with us. It is exciting to see the growth in our team – both in numbers and in abilities – and I must stop doing some things that were traditionally “mine” and step aside to allow others to make them “theirs.”

    And my own family will see our next evolution, with my middle daughter graduating high school and heading off to college this fall. We will return to being a one-child-in-the-house family like we were when we only had our oldest and that will drive change in our daily logistics, meals, laundry volume (YAY!) and more. As one of my parents’ primary caregivers, I foresee continued changes as we support them in living as fulfilling a life as possible while they make needed lifestyle changes to enjoy more free time.

    Change is inevitable. They say it is the one true constant. But this year, I expect it to be BIG and I hope to accept the changes with grace and confidence, so I can model the appropriate behaviors as I guide the many firm leaders we serve and my family members, too, in making the monumental changes they face.

  • Freedom. I am the queen of commitment. Sometimes I feel like I owe something to everyone – client deliverables, meeting commitments, internal project review, blogs or articles under deadline, the day’s appointments, help with kid’s homework or projects, laundry, groceries, and, what’s for dinner tonight? My internal dialogue is generally positive, but it also seems to recount the many things I must get done over and over again (even though I have a WTD list, a journal and other ways of tracking them). This can sometimes generate feelings of overwhelm or even loser-dom that I’m not able to “get it all done.”

    Readers who know me know that one of my mottos is I’m “committed to have it all, but maybe not all at once.” Lately, the universe has been giving me a lot all at once. Instead of being present to the enormous blessing or privilege that this waterfall of opportunity brings, I find myself feeling as if I can’t catch my breath.

    But, we all know this is an interpretation and is not the truth. It’s just a chosen perspective. I have the FREEDOM to change my perspective – which is what I will do in 2018, by remembering that:

    • I have the FREEDOM to choose my commitments.
    • I have the FREEDOM to complete them in the timing that works for me.
    • I have the FREEDOM to request assistance from and/or outsource to others.
    • I have the FREEDOM to reorder and reorganize until my “pile” feels right.
    • I have the FREEDOM to put myself first sometimes.

    For Valentine’s, my partner Tamera suggested our team gift be these cool bracelets that state one of our words for 2018. jen-wilson-one-word I chose FREEDOM for my bracelet because I want to remind myself to appreciate just how much freedom I have being self-employed, working in a completely flexible work environment, being married to an incredibly supportive husband, having great kids, being part of a loving and committed team, and working with outstanding clients. By being present to my blessings and taking responsibility for my choices, I’ll find more of my third word for 2018.

  • Joy. I grew up singing with my “Von Trapp-like” mother and siblings and one of our favorites was, “I’ve Got the Joy in My Heart.” One of the lines is, “And, I’m so happy, so very happy…” If you study joy, you’ll find that most believe it is something you bring into your life by your own actions. I found two resources about finding joy in your life that brought joy to me just reading them. In one, the author suggests we: slow down, be grateful, be of service to others and live the life we’re capable of. I’m doing three of these four things well. But I have not been focused on slowing down and being present to the JOY existing in this moment, right now. I believe the practice of meditation may offer a practical method for slowing down, so I am committing to begin the regular practice of daily meditation March 1st.

    In the second resource, the author suggests a list of 101 ways to bring joy into our lives. Some of these things resonate with me, but more importantly, they inspire me to make MY list of 101 things that bring me joy (or that I think might bring me joy) and then to make sure that I do those things in 2018. I’ll share my list of 101 things in an upcoming post and update you on my progress as we near year-end.

In the meantime, what are your three words for 2018? What do you want to do or generate in the 10 months left in this blessed year? Share your words with us – we’d love to hear them and support you in achieving them!




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2 Responses
  • Nathaniel Yordon on March 1, 2018

    Thanks for the positive perspective in these rather dark times. Yes, joy is what we need to embrace as there is plenty of it all around us. Although, being the coach that you are it is surprising to me that you went for the 101 ways as that is big number. Whatever happened to picking three things and focusing on them? 🙂 For these times I would say my three words are resistance, understanding, and I will go with joy too. With the current administration in the White House we have no alternative but to resist. However, in that resistance we need to understand how that resistance affects others and yes even try to understand where those we are resisting are coming from. And, well, you explained joy. If we can’t embrace the joy, then what is the point of resistance and understanding.
    Nate Yordon

    • Jennifer Wilson
      Jennifer Wilson on March 8, 2018

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply. It is always so good to hear from you and even better to know that you are out there, doing more than your part. I LOVE your three words. And I hope to find my way to CT so we can have the joy of sharing a meal again someday soon. Or maybe you’ll make it to Vegas in May? Meanwhile, to respond to your smart observation about 101 joy ideas versus just 3. If you read the blog that inspired this idea, the 101 items are pretty small things – like “plant some flowers” or “go to a concert” or “see a movie.” At 101, I’ll only do 1 joy activity every 3 ½ days (not to get all statistical on you or anything 😊). So, I’m sticking with my plan to make and execute a list of 101 (small) joy activities to undertake in 2018. If you take a different approach to find your joy, let me know what you did and how it goes! And, please stay in touch!

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