There are those who rebel against creating any sort of new year’s resolutions, gagging at the thought of even choosing a word of the year. (I’m looking at you, my friend and coach Catherine Ferguson—who recently shared her disdain and personal work-around solution on IG at @cat.ferg.)
If you fall into this camp, enthusiastically nodding your head in allegiance with Catherine, I trust you have at one time given it a go and can now dive headlong into 2021 with your free, rebellious nature fully intact. I am 110% supportive of a woman trusting her own unique process. Go get ‘em!
For the rest of us, listen up.
A natural rebel I am not. I find choosing a word of the year intentionally hopeful—full of wise guidance, yet spaciously flexible. Keeping my word top-of-mind helps guide my direction, both personally and professionally, as I venture into the unchartered territory of a new year and beyond.
In previous years my words have included balance, empower, and bold.
For 2021 I choose SOAR.
Definition: To fly upward, as a bird. To fly at a great height, without visible movements. To glide along. To rise or ascend to a height.
Effortless flight does not come immediately or even easily for us humans. It comes when we stop fighting who we are and own all of our quirks, our shortcomings as well as our gifts. It comes with letting go of all the baggage and self-imposed barriers, when we stop fighting the inner voice that knows we are capable of living a life that lights us up and contributes to the greater good. For some of us, owning our superpowers is even more challenging than acknowledging our flaws.
In order to ascend, we need to know in which direction we are headed, get clear on our values and intentions, and let go of the weight of the unnecessary. Only when we have done the inner work of empowering ourselves—mind, body, and spirit—can we really lift off and soar to new heights.
SOAR reminds me to ease up on my innate inclination toward striving and effort, instead intentionally charting my course with a sense of allowing, ease, freedom, and joy.
SOAR is what I want for the women I mentor—to rise to new heights—to live big, bold, and balanced as they do.
What also comes to mind is my father, who is nearing the end of his life after a long illness. As much as it hurts my heart and places a lump firmly in my throat, I am ready to let him go and allow his loving spirit to SOAR, free of suffering.
Which is to say that SOAR is not all bliss and ease. It can also include a bittersweet flight full of treacherous weather and gusting winds. It is about flying high with little effort when we are able, gliding when possible, pushing with effort occasionally, resting and regrouping when necessary, letting go when we must.
And so, if the thought of choosing a word strikes serious rebellious resistance in your heart like Catherine, by all means, don’t fight it.
Otherwise, I encourage you to get quiet, take a few deep breaths, and notice what word emerges. Listen. Don’t edit. This is wisdom, your inner knowing. Go ahead, give it a shot, and let me know what you hear.
Happy New Year. Here’s to a big, bold, balanced 2021.
Wishing you and yours plenty of opportunities to SOAR.