Finding Midsummer Inspiration

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

Finding Midsummer Inspiration

By Andrea Novakowski

It’s time to talk about your Word of the Year, the tool my clients use to summarize their intentions for the year to come.

What? It’s August! Summer is in full swing. It might seem strange to be talking about your Word of the Year right now. But I see it as the perfect time.

By this point, eight months into the year, many people have forgotten all about their Word. What got you inspired and motivated in January has been pushed aside, as new activities, projects, and challenges have come to your attention.

That is exactly why now is a perfect time to revisit your Word of the Year and use this great resource to carry you through the rest of the year.

What I’ve learned by using my Word of the Year

I’ve used this tool for over five years now. Sometime around the New Year, I set aside time to think about what I’d like to use as my guiding term to keep me focused on what’s most important for my growth and development. When I set goals for the year, quarter, month, and week, I incorporate my Word.

Sometimes, I notice my Word of the Year reflects my sense of “should,” as in I should be more this or that. That’s a big red flag for me, and it tells me I’m not done with my selection process. I now realize that a Word that really speaks to me is one that brings joy to me, my work, and my life.

There are also years when I lose sight of my Word of the Year, or stop using it as a point of reference. At those times, I give myself permission to choose a new Word or reinterpret the one I’ve got. For instance, one year I chose the word “intentional.” I used it for a few months before realizing that rather than helping me be more present (which is what I’d hoped for), it was keeping me unbalanced, because it didn’t fit with my value of “fun.” So I modified my interpretation of my Word and intentionally focused on my values.

This year, my Word of the Year is “simplify.” It helps me focus on what matters, rather than adding more and more to my to-do list. There’s a lot of information and opportunities coming at me (and at you, no doubt). “Simplify” helps me stop and think whether this new thing might really serve me. It has inspired me to set up a daily process to identify my top three priorities every day and to work on them first. That leaves more time for fun!

Another thing I’ve learned is that my Word becomes more real when I share it with others and it becomes a topic for subsequent discussions. People ask me, “How are you doing with your Word?” or “How is your Word showing up for you?”

Other supports I’ve found to be helpful include: making the Word a part of my daily check-in process; creating a vision board about what my life looks like when I focus on my Word; meditating on my Word; or wearing a special bracelet or ring to remind me of my Word.

Now it’s your turn.

Here are three questions to help you get re-inspired and keep your Word of the Year front and center for the rest of the year.

  1. What have you learned so far about your Word of the Year? (In what way has it helped you become successful, or gotten in the way of your success?)
  1. If you found ways to keep your Word of the Year front and center for the rest of the year, how do you think it would impact you?
  1. What kinds of support have you created (or can you create) to remind you of your Word of the Year?

Bonus question: Does your Word of the Year still work for you and continue to energize you? (Do you even remember what it is?) If necessary, take time to choose a new Word that will carry you forward for the rest of the year.


After reflecting on the three questions, take a minute to share what you’ve learned in the comments, so others can be inspired!