Word for the Year

I came to 2017 eager to find the word that will be my north star, my guide, as I navigate through the unknown terrain of the year ahead. I found a wonderful exercise last year through the work of Susannah Conway, and through it, I have have dug and delved to discover the words to serve as my anchor for 2017, that encompass what my spirit needs.

Last year, my words were EXPAND and CELEBRATE. I chose these words because I felt I needed to start going beyond the ingrained Protestant-shaped boundaries from my upbringing that were keeping me modest, careful, polite, protective, cautious and introverted. I wanted to get more comfortable with putting who I really am and what I really think and feel out there. (This blog was a big action in that regards.)

In my work as an actress, I wanted to go deeper and start letting myself be seen and heard on a deeper level and to a greater scope. To start to go beyond what and who I knew. To expand my circles.

In my relationships, I wanted to connect more with the people already in my life, and allow myself to make more genuine connections with people who I wanted to get to know.

I also wanted to begin to really focus on celebrating all that I have and am, and that I do in my life. I tend to focus on what I have not done and what I feel I am lacking. I really wanted to develop the muscle of celebrating my accomplishments and all that is working in my life. My strengths. Even my so-called failures. To celebrate my life, my self, what has happened, is happening and that I am working towards. Little things, big things. All of it.

I can see now that these focuses really were a through-line for me over the past year. It has become second-nature for me to recognize the good in what I am doing each day instead of only seeing what I have not gotten to. I can more easily have difficult conversations. Certain interactions are becoming easier and I feel much more authentic and seen and heard. I know that I have been getting to some exciting work within myself in my acting. Going deeper than ever before.

I have more work to do in these areas. I am a work in progress. But much movement was made, and it was exciting and gratifying. Very gratifying. Sometimes blissful even.

This year, after looking at how the year unfolded and making plans for what I want to bring into 2017 and create more of, and doing Susannah’s exercises, I discovered my words for the year.

(It is always a bit of a challenge for me to pick just one word. Thankfully, there are no rules around this, so I get to do it however my soul sees fit! I chose a main word, and also have a supporting word, along with many words and phrases that these mean to me for my life for the next year.)

After much soul-searching, I had narrowed it down to five:

Curiosity, Courage, Stretch, Soar, Creativity

In the course of the exercise, I found that DARING really encompasses all of those words for me. I am a big fan of Brene Brown, so when I started to create a Pinterest Board to support my Word for 2017 and the name of her book kept coming up, I knew I had found just the tweek my word needed to make it THE ONE!

DARING GREATLY. I am in love with this phrase and it just lights me up.

I want to put myself out there personally and professionally in ways that go deeper and more authentically than ever before. I want to soar, to go beyond expectation, to extend, to reach out, to amplify, enlarge, expand. To live full heartedly and be willing to take risks and try out new methods, ideas and experiences. To utilize courageous behaviors in order to find out more about the things that I am passionate about. To doubt my fears and my judgements and be brave enough to be curious instead to find out what limits really exist, if they even really do! To live from my curiosity and not my fear.

I am keeping STRETCH as a supporting word. Just saying that word makes me want to move. I want to use everything I have learned to the fullest extent of my capacity and then go even further until I reach the point of failure so that ultimately I keep stretching that fullest point further and further. I had a taste of that this past year when filming the lead in a feature film. It was amazing to use everything I had and go farther than I imagined I could and be in the space of beyond-the-whole-of-what-I-knew. From that place, I could keep truly learning and growing. I realized that that is the path of the artist, the craftsperson, and I do not want to turn back from that path.

Not just for my professional life. In my personal life, too, I want to be adventurous and go deeper. Push the limits of my comfort zones. See how connected I can feel to the people in my life, and nature, the world, even. Daring greatly and stretching to be truly intimate in my relationships and in my work.

I created this through Tagul.com to use as a reminder of what these words mean for my year:


It is my touchstone as I move through the year’s unplanned challenges and unexpected opportunities for growth (aka when the shit hits the fan.) It is my guide as I choose how to spend my time and the way I choose to feel as I spend it.

What will your word for 2017 be? Happy digging.

#findyourwordfor2017 #susannahconway #daringgreatly #stretch