My One Word 2018

It is January 1st 2018. This past week I have taken time to gratefully reflect on 2017, for which my #oneword was Breathe. It was on my lips at all times. I consciously took time to breathe, whether to take in a moment or simply to pause the busyness of life. I was able to manage the stresses of moving our family and taking on a new role in a new school district. Last year I need to breathe. Last year I used my own version of the process to find my word and it worked for me. However the challenges that I face everyday give me pause and as I contemplate my #oneword for 2018, I realize I need something more.

This year’s process was much more intentional than last December. I took some time to ask myself what I need. As I thought through what I need it became clear that in different situations I need different things, which led me to divide my needs into categories of work, family, friends, and faith. I was able to generate words describing what I need to be my best me. Some of the repeated words were love, caring, empathy and consistency. The next step for me was to answer the question “What is in my way?” I wrestled with this one as much of what is preventing me from having what I need is in my mind. I realized that my deficit-thinking can be a barrier to the important work that I do, as well as, the interactions that I have with my family. These thoughts led me to the next question of “What needs to go?” That was an easy one! Negativity, self-doubt and guilt all quickly came to mind.

I let all those words and thoughts marinate. I read. I spent time reconnecting with friends and family. I was present. I reflected. I prayed. All the while thinking about the questions I had answered. All the while seeking my word for 2018.

I considered many words including intentional, seek, hope, love, positive, give, and strength. If you have completed this process you will know that it is not easy! And yet in the midst of these potentially wonderful words, another emerged…

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Definition of Courage ( noun

1. the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty,danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

2. Obsolete. the heart as the source of emotion.

While the definition of courage alone is compelling the Latin root cor of courage held a truth I couldn’t ignore: “from Latin cor “heart” which remains a common metaphor for inner strength.” I need inner strength which comes from my heart.

Why courage?

I need courage to parent. I have to be able to face challenges with my children without fear. I must hold firm to my beliefs while my kids challenge me. Especially with my middle schooler! This is uncharted territory. Being brave is not easy. I also need to be vulnerable so that they can learn with me, from my mistakes. I will be courageous, to dare greatly, without shame, just love.

I need courage to carry out the work that I am passionate about. I need courage to lead with my heart. I have to be brave as we work together to change what school looks like. I don’t have all the answers, no one does. Courage will look different at different times. At this moment in time, I will have courage to stay the course.

I need courage to run. I may fail; I set goals anyways. I know that I am capable of far more than I have accomplished and to that end I will be courageous and train harder. I will have the courage to trust the plan, when temptations to veer off arise.

I look forward to living courageously through 2018. 


One Word

I have never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions. I set goals for myself but usually as the need arises or when I want to gain a little focus. However, this year I was inspired to think of one word on which to focus my energies on this year. One word for 2017.

It started with my friend Onica, @O_L_Mayers, who shared her experience of one word with her family in 2016 with the Moms as Principals Voxer group. I started thinking what my one word would be if I chose one. Then one word was everywhere. People were tweeting about it. Blogs were written about it. It was being spread on Facebook! I could not stop thinking about my one word and loving the words that my friends and colleagues were choosing for 2017. It was a sign. It was many signs. I knew that I needed to get with the program and choose my one word!

Wherever should I start?


With my family of course.

I shared this idea with my family and they were up for the challenge. I spoke to my husband at length about it. I shared my struggles from this year. We talked about many words that came into my mind. At this point it was still an idea. I needed to make it a reality. So, the whole family watched a video clip of Jon Gordon talking about one word on the today show. We all agreed to choose one word. The kids knew their words almost immediately! How I wish I had that clarity of thought! I needed some time.

I took Jon Gordon’s advice and spent some time looking within. What do I want for 2017? What do I need? How can I continue to grow and improve? A mental list began forming. Words that piqued my interest. But which ONE?

Then I looked up. My faith, spirituality, and religious beliefs drove my desire to filter this list. What is truly important? How could I set a goal word that embodied this truth?

Lastly I looked out. What do I want for my family? For my school? How can these desires help me hone in on my one word?

After multiple weeks of thinking and talking about this illusive one word, I was able to choose to…    



I breathe everyday, so what will this one word mean? I imagine much more than inhaling and exhaling… What do I want it to mean? Breathing embodies my desire to slow down. It will help me focus on moving forward with thoughtfulness. Breathing will provide space to be present and experience the joy of truly being in each moment. How will I live it? Time will tell…