Facing Fear and Setting Intentions with my 2021 Word of the Year
How does one go about setting an intention for a year that follows 2020? This question kept me frozen, looking for inspiration for weeks. I mean what’s the point, right? 2020 proved that life can take our intentions and toss them out the window.
I have been in business since 2013, and was side-hustling hard for several years before that. To say I have been on a decade-long sprint is an understatement. So, at the end of December 2019, I declared FLOW as my focus for 2020. I wanted to embody the feeling I have during a yoga flow into every aspect of my life – especially my business.
Intention, meditation, prayer – they are all really the same, right? This leads me to an important sidestory.
Remember that Sunday school lesson from childhood that taught you that prayers don’t get answered tied up in a neat package just the way you want? I don’t remember the book, chapter or verse, but 10-year-old Jessi remembers being told to be mindful with prayers. Don’t expect them to be answered in the way you want.
Pray for patience, and you will be given the opportunity to practice patience. Pray for love and you will be given the opportunity to show others love unconditionally. You get the idea. Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about that when I boldly declared FLOW as my word in 2020.
2020 absolutely delivered on giving me (and all of us) the opportunity to practice accepting the FLOW of life – especially in my business. As I began to brainstorm my word for 2021 that childhood Bible lesson was in the back of my mind, and 2020 Jessi was screaming, ‘pick an easy word!’
Pick a ‘safe’ intention? That seems kind of pointless. A word of the year is meant to set the stage in a big way.
I started thinking about my word the same way I think about any project. What’s the goal? What feeling do I want to capture and carry with me throughout the year. What outcomes do I hope to achieve?
This question led to a series of runner-up words, but they still didn’t feel quite right.
Amplify – Make P&P more visible.
We have a rockstar creative team in place that I am extremely proud of. In 2021, I want to make sure people know who we are, why we are different and how we can help their organization.
In the past, we’ve kept our heads down doing the work. In 2021, I am taking a lesson from one of our clients who says, “If you want something to be a big deal, you gotta make it a big deal.” You’ll be seeing more of me this year – podcasts, thought leadership, and more are already in the works.
Limitless – Grow with purpose.
Working with purpose-driven community organizations is the heart of P&P. We are strategic mavens, taking an organization’s mission and reflecting back a plan of action. So it’s important to me that we work with organizations who are doing good. But I have told myself that my desire to work with purpose-driven organizations means sacrificing P&P’s ability to grow. What happens when I embrace working with purpose-driven organizations AND I remove baseless limits? It’s not an either or, but a yes, and.
Audacious – Empower other female business owners.
I am kicking off 2021 by serving as a facilitator in SOAR’s first-ever all-women’s Co-Starters cohort. Showing up to mentor other female business owners in the region has me thinking about how much Appalachia needs more women in business. How can I be daringly bold in supporting the amazing women entrepreneurs across this region? How can I connect with them in a meaningful way? How can I encourage more women to claim their expertise and own their audacious goals by stepping up to play big, without apology?
These words – amplify, limitless, audacious – all spoke to me, but still, I was scared. If I am honest, I have been scared, and that wasn’t just a 2020 phenomenon. Being scared had been a silent but driving force for years – hell, decades. Scared to fail, scared to succeed, scared to dream too big. To successfully step into 2021 with the intentions amplify, limitless and audacity, I had one big obstacle. Fear. And just like that, I found my word.
What does it look like to show up as an expert in branding, strategy and web design?
How does leaning into our company values help us meet our business goals?
What does growth look like when I am fearless enough to say the sky’s the limit?
What happens when women in this region connect and empower each other to own their ambitious business goals?
I don’t have all the answers to those questions just yet. What I do have is a direction to pursue and a place to start. A guiding light for my purpose through 2021. And, most of all, a little fire in my chest to walk into this year fearlessly.