In what’s become an annual tradition for me for the last many years, here are my three words for 2018.

Like before, these words are meant to remind me that change and improvement doesn’t come in year-sized blocks. They are only achieved incrementally, day by day. 

As Epictetus reminds us: “some things are up to us, and others are not.” Focus only on what’s within your power.

That’s what I do with these words as my trailmarkers.

Much like the way it works for investments, compounding is a force multiplier for creative pros. The more you do something deliberate on a schedule, the more you have of that thing, and the more it increases in its effect. This means doing better work in less time by focusing daily on honing your skills, challenging your assumptions and making habits out your most important skills. Whether it’s a way of working or a way of being, choose that which has the greatest likelihood of achieving a positive compound effect in your life. Go there often.

“A threshold is not a simple boundary,” Irish poet John O’Donohue tells us. “It is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres.” After a difficult period in life, there comes a point where you separate that which is past from that which is present. In doing so, we take hold of that tentative state of transition and make something solid again. From that threshold frontier, grace is found.

In stillness, we gain an understanding of why the ancient Greeks had two ways of looking at time: chronos and kairos. The first kind is the one we measure (and obsess over). It’s immediate time, comprised of units that are identical: the length of any minute today is the same as any one next week or next year. Kairos, on the other hand, is one we experience—but only if we allow ourselves to. It’s contemplative time. And it can come to us in both tiny fragments and large blocks. One of the great gifts I received from walking long distances on the Camino de Santiago last year is a deeper appreciation of that latter kind: what some call “deep time.”

Being able to shift from the immediate to the contemplative is how stillness comes. And from that, change arrives, as O’Donohue concludes: “Because secret work has been done in us, of which we’ve had no inkling.”

Very best, 

P.S. A great way to start 2018 is to share bold ideas with others. You can do that by clicking on either one of the green buttons below. 
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