Do you spend or invest? A declaration for 2017

How does a word guide us? Can it clarify intention? Create influence and focus? Yes, yes and yes!

The beginning of the miracle happens when we choose a symbolic word around the over-arching and current intention we have for our life.

Its fundamental purpose is to influence our choices and sharpen our focus.

Do we need one? In short, no we don’t. It’s just a tool. But think about it. The right tool for anything we do makes it possible to execute with greater ease and efficiency. And once you’ve found such a tool, you keep coming back to it.

The selection of an annual guidance word is a practice I started a number of years ago. Their influence in shaping my choices and outcomes is easily identified. I can also see where the intention of the word became part of my personal belief system and part of my life’s fabric.

During one of my most challenging years my chosen word was gratitude. It was a difficult time. There was a significant amount of fear and pain, for myself and those dear to me. The antidote? Gratitude. I’m sure you’ve heard it said and I can attest that you cannot be fearful and grateful at the same time. If we were to compare the two contrasting emotions to a rock, paper, scissors contest – gratitude is the one that would always win. Even though it was some time ago that it was in my word rotation, gratitude remains a core value in my life. The habits I installed that year are now well embedded life practices and continue to serve me every day.

Admittedly, there have also been years where I chose a word as an exercise but never fully adopted it into my daily routines. It wasn’t long before I did not even think about that word. A practice recently discovered that helps counter that risk is expanding the idea of a guidance word to a guidance statement or proclamation. The word is the language symbol of the overall thought. This seems to me to have the potential of being even more effective. We don’t just choose and declare the word – we choose and declare its meaning to us.

As I am reflecting back on 2016 and looking forward to 2017, I recognize that an expanded bridge is definitely in order. This past year I focused on creating space; on letting go. It was a year centered on challenging the choices in my life in every area. I gave myself permission to question everything and let go of anything that no longer served my best life and work. It was daunting in some moments but in the end, it generated the result I needed.

That result? Space. The ability to see past life’s clutter and discover what truly matters to me and why. Finding room to breathe and allow myself to expand my perspective and possibilities.

What then is next? How to invest that space in a more meaningful way.

Invest.

Think about this with me for a moment. This is the pivot point for me. Do you invest or do you spend? I’m not just talking about money. I’m talking about all of your resources. Your energy, time, emotion and yes, your money. Everything. The idea that how we do anything is how we do everything comes to mind. If we are predominantly spenders in one area, chances are pretty high that’s our level of discipline in other areas as well.

My conclusion? I’ve definitely been on the spender side of the spectrum. Even though I work as a strategist, all too often I’m making choices in my life that are based on expediency or convenience. This shows up in my health, my calendar and yes, those pesky finances!

Once I cleared enough space to see the reality, the next question was this: Will I continue to just spend or will I balance that with investment?

We all know that spending is a natural course of getting through life. But when that’s all we do, we limit ourselves and what we can achieve. Nothing can compound until we invest. And without compounding, we will soon lack momentum.

It’s time to invest.

Here then is my declaration for 2017:

  • I am invested in my spiritual well being and communion with my Maker.
  • I am invested in my physical well being and daily practices that produce optimal health.
  • I am invested in my financial well being and take full responsibility for my future.
  • I am invested in my relationships and nurture the people in my life.
  • I am invested in my work and achieve continued mastery in my craft.
  • I am invested in my community and make a difference every day.
  • I am invested in my environment and honor what is entrusted to me.
  • I am invested.

Even as I was writing this the thought deepened. I recognized that the idea of investment brings complete clarity to what I have been talking about for some time. To have the tomorrow we want, we must act on those desires today. That is investment in its highest form. We invest in the tomorrow we want today. We make that investment with every thought and action.

Live (invest) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (invest) well.

Invest.

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