My old college roomie, years ago, sent me a book called:
“What Would Jackie Do?”
subtitled: “An Inspired Guide to Distinctive Living”. If I were to follow the wisdom of Jackie O as outlined in the book, I could know what to do and bloom!
My old roomie would raise her eyebrow if she knew that some on my team asked that same question: “What Would Jackie Do?” — thinking Jackie Y instead of Jackie O — not for “distinctive living” but rather to figure out how to handle difficult work situations.
It was an effective crutch for their leadership (glad it worked!) and an ego boost for me (we all need that sometimes! ~ thank you, team!!), but …
As a leader, you don’t want to be the crutch for people long term.
You want people to graduate from You!
You want to see the core values you set for the organization become their own — internalizing these so they become leaders in their own right and make decisions from their minds and hearts.
Mission statements can be a helpful guide, but how memorable and inspiring is yours? (If yours is like mine was, it’s time to review and update. Some tips in this article from Business News Daily.)
For a simple approach with needed internal heart fueling power …
Try the “3 Words Exercise”
Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group and NY TImes Best Selling Author, created this exercise for personal growth and as “something that would work within our thought process daily”.
Here’s how to get started.
Select Sign Post Words For You & Your Team
You can do this yourself or invite your team to participate. I like team participation — you’ll get the connection and dialogue going upfront!
Your words can be goal-oriented, based on values, a way of being and/or doing. Your words can be a verb or noun or adjective.
You can start any time of the year. Don’t wait for January. If January has passed, no worries — just get started!
Chris Brogan suggests:
Pick three words that can be packed with depth.
Pick words that will be your own.
Negative words aren’t especially helpful. It’s really hard to rally to a word or mission that starts with “Don’t.”
“Don’t Choose Corporate Buzzwords!“
Buzzwords are too impersonal and boring. They’ll slide out of your brain in seconds.
You want words that you and your team will embody, words that will get down into the cellular level, words that will make your mitochondria sing!
Real Life 3 Words From Real Life People
To find fruitful, juicy, nourishing words; spur your imagination via the 2015 Three Words chosen by Chris Brogan for himself and from my Twitter Friends who are not only veterans at this, but have blogged their commitment. You can click on the string of three words next to each 3 Word author for more detail.
Devour, Poetry, Luxuriate – via Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter (@ValueIntoWords), Master Resume Writer (1 of 27 Globally) and Glassdoor Career and Workplace Expert. Jacqui introduced the “3 Words Exercise” to me several years ago.
Fresh, Discoverable, Discourse – via Hannah Morgan (@careersherpa); Job Search, Career and Social Media Strategist and Contributor to US News Careers. Hannah’s post is where Jacqui was introduced to this exercise! Love the connectivity.
Clear, Reach, Embrace – via Dorlee Michaeli (@SWCareer), Social Worker and Social Media Consultant, Founder of the Social Work Career blog. Dorlee, not only came up with 3 Words, but illustrated it. Yes, that’s Dorlee’s artwork that’s the lead-in for this section of the post.
My 3 Words for 2015
Sometimes the three words will come easily to you. Like grace, gratitude and growth in the closing of an email to a friend near the cusp of the new year where I mused that these could be my 3 words. But, the alliteration of “G’s” became an alliteration of “A’s”: Apollo, Abundance and Aliveness.
No need to fret because both sets of words work and any that you choose will work, too! These words work for one’s personal life and corporate life — because aren’t we integrated beings?
In junior high, I was immersed in the adventurous tales of Greek and Roman gods.
Apollo is the god of light, poetry, music, healing, and prophecy.
A reminder that we thrive not through one thing, but many. Reach out, discover the new, and incorporate that into our being. Be deliberately interdisciplinary — personally and in the corporate world. And don’t forget that NASA got us to the moon via Apollo 11. Let that motivate us to sharpen our skills beyond the edge.
Such an implacable, cold, iceberg of a world that we live and work in!
What if we were to see the world from an abundance vantage?
From the abundance vantage, the world becomes a bright expanse — a lush, green, giving field — and our actions warm and become nurturing and empathetic.
“Empathy is considered by many psychologists to be essential to cooperation, problem-solving, and to human functioning in general” per Olga.
Precisely what we need in our personal and the corporate world. Abundance is a good word.
Life and work can be mundane as the drip-drip-drip of daily tasks that gnaw at us. We forget we are alive and …
Aliveness is energy… It’s the energy that moves a relationship from the status quo to something grander and much more expansive, something that makes our hearts beat faster, our minds, and our eyes open wider than ever before.
Everything is of interest to a person who is truly alive, whether it’s a challenge, a loving moment, a bucket of grief, or a glimpse of beauty
~ Daphne Rose Kingma
Work makes up at least one third of our lives and one half of our waking hours. We cannot be alive if we’re not feeling the aliveness at work. Let’s pledge to bring this energy to our work situations and know that your energy will transfer to and transform others.
You’ve Got to be the Farmer of Your 3 Words!
Living your 3 words means you’ve got to till the soil, water the roots, and provide the nutrients.
Different farmers use different methods. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter uses post-its and you’ve seen how Dorlee Michaeli puts her three words into art.
For the Corporate World:
- Plant the seeds for the 3 Word Exercise at your All Staff Meeting.
- Celebrate the harvest of your team’s 3 Word leadership success stories.
- Fortify by practicing difficult work / leadership situations with your team using your 3 Words for guidance
- Embed the 3 Words into individual performance planning and goals and/or into corporate bonus plans.
- Cultivate the 3 Words into everyday conversation. They can become your trigger words like the rubber band around your wrist that you snap, but this wouldn’t be hurtful. 🙂
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What are your thoughts and reactions to this 3 Word Exercise?
Would you be willing to give it a try?
Are there other alternatives that you would recommend?
Hope you’ll leave a comment.
Do Tell me about your 3 Words, whether it is for yourself or your team
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#TakeThisMoment to strengthen your inner guiding star.
Your Leadership demands it ~ Jackie Yun
p.s. In case you are curious …
My 2014 three words:
Flowers – Encouragement to do what’s important with grace and beauty because life is fleetingly short.
Heart – Reminder to live from the heart because the heart can be an equal partner with the head, even in seemingly mind-dominated situations.
Enrich – A daily ask: Am I enriching others by my actions? Am I enriching myself?
My 2013 three words:
Awesomeness – Owning it within, appreciating it in others and in the world
Art – Making a point to look at things differently, be creative, plus curate a bit of beauty into everyday life
Jump – Be bold, enjoy the feeling of flight, and a much needed reminder to exercise.