Since 2006, Chris Brogan (refer to his post for best practices) has been advising ambitious creatives and creators to choose three words for the year instead of setting New Year resolutions.
I have been following in those traditions since 2015 and have enjoyed sharing my adventures and discoveries along the way.
I used to obsess over New Year content at Music Entrepreneur HQ, where I published past reflections. We’re doing things a little differently this year at the HQ, but I wanted to carry on with the ritual, and this seems like as good a place as any to share.
Here are my three words for 2021.
2015 – Profit, Outreach, Expansion (planted some important seeds)
2016 – Flow, Create, Helpfulness (an unfocused year)
2017 – Adventure, Collaboration, Health (a challenging but awesome year)
2018 – War, Initiative, Connection (a year that started weak and ended strong)
2019 – Confidence, Breakthrough, Fulfillment (a year of intense personal growth)
2020 – Completion, Curation, Synthesize (a year to find my North Star)
Reflecting on my 3 Words from 2020
Completion – I was hopeful that I would bring completion to projects that have been gnawing at me for years. The only project I can honestly say I brought completion to was The Music Entrepreneur Code (as well as its companion course), and while proud of that achievement, I think it’s a far cry from what I had in mind. But what I learned as result of busying myself with this, that, and the other is just how scattered and un-systematized different aspects of my work and life were. It’s important to achieve clarity on the scope of every project you take on, so that you know what to do, what get results, and when you can call something “done.”
Curation – At first brush, as I reflected on 2020, I didn’t identify it as a year of curation at all. But now I see that I was beginning to gather and collate the resources I would ultimately be curating and sharing in 2021. Though I still find myself reinventing the wheel at times, I’m beginning to look at my work quite a bit differently. I realize the importance of the Dream 100, at least to the extent that modeling the content that has already worked is going to be a better use of your time than dreaming up something your audience may or may not be interested in.
Synthesize – Synthesizing information across industries is something I’ve been doing for years. Based on results, I’m not sure that the Music Entrepreneur HQ audience finds much value in it. But those reading my daily posts seem to enjoy it. I don’t think synthesis is going to be a major theme going forward, but probably something I will continue to do (rather naturally) because I enjoy it.
My 3 Words for 2021
Maximize – I’d like to make the most of the resources and assets I’ve got. It’s tempting to reinvent the wheel, simply because I’ve got so many ideas to share. But it’s important to do what works, not just what seems like a good idea in the moment. With the creation of The Renegade Musician digital magazine, I have already begun the process of getting the most from what I’ve got. My weekly digests and #StrategySunday posts serve similar purposes.
Optimize – I put together a YearSheet for Music Entrepreneur HQ, because it’s clear what I’ve done to this point hasn’t done much to grow the business. So, I knew that it was time to take a different approach. I needed to come at this problem from a “higher mind,” so I put my executive cap on and thought about what we would do differently, as I was imagining discussing the issues with stakeholders and a board of advisors. And the decisions I’ve made so far have increased session duration and reduced bounce rate on the website. I think we still have a long way to go, but this is optimization in motion.
(Also, based on what’s happening in the music industry, it’s entirely possible that traffic to Music Entrepreneur HQ could crater for a while.)
Experiment – I don’t think I’m just looking to experiment. I’m looking to refine gradually (Kaizen) and maybe even pivot. But I could only have that perspective having come this far into the year. Although the exact details have yet to reveal themselves, I think I’m going to be working towards appealing to a broader base of creatives and creators (hmm… what in the world could I be doing on Medium and News Break I wonder?), and I may even be working my way into journalism and broadcasting on a more visible level.
Well, I know we’re three months into the year already, but as they say, better late than never, right?
I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to rituals like this, so I knew I wanted to work it into my publishing schedule, I just wasn’t sure when I ultimately would.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed this, and I hope you select three words for yourself. If you do, respond to this article and let me know!
Pay what you want for the first issue of my digital magazine, The Renegade Musician.