My 2019 Word of the Year

My word of the year for 2019 is formidable. According to the dictionary, formidable means “inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable.” By no means am I seeking to control through fear in the year 2019; rather, I want to feel and be at the top of my game as I complete my PhD and begin my digital fellowships at two UK museums. When I hear the word formidable, I immediately conjure up the image of Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way. Poppins does not control through fear, but through compassionate pragmatism.

In 2017, as I was starting a new role in the financial services industry, I chose the word bridge. This word guided my interactions and objectives as I sought to build an enterprise digital transformation strategy. I spent the majority of the year on a listening road tour – observing and seeking the thoughts of associates of all levels of the organization. The word complemented my urban planning strategic inspiration.

In 2018, I gravitated to the word believe because I needed a higher power to help me navigate organizational politics and the strength to complete the bulk of PhD dissertation writing.

It has been my habit to engrave my word of the year on a charm (like those from My Intent or Giving Keys) and place the charms on my infinity bracelet. I wear this bracelet daily and find myself fiddling with or gazing at the charms while working through a problem or taking a meaningful pause while talking. The charms are a constant reminder of the goals I am aiming to achieve.

This is the year where I have set my sights higher than ever. I needed a word that was strong enough to support the move to a new country and new career. I needed a word that conveyed the type of control that would devour my self-destructive tendencies. I bantered about words like strength or fearless, but such words did not evoke the awesomeness required. Then, in December, while reading an interview with Emily Blunt promoting the release of Mary Poppins 2, I came across the word formidable. Blunt was describing her impression of Julie Andrews’ interpretation of the famous British nanny. Instantly, I knew this was the word I must claim in 2019.

Do you have a word guiding your new year aspirations? Three? A phrase? Share how you came to claim your word(s) or phrase.

Happy New Year!

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