I don’t like new year’s resolutions.
New year’s resolutions rarely work for me, and I suspect they rarely work in general. Goals are important and help us see a clear target to pursue. My problem is with using an external trigger — a date — and one that happens only once a year for that. A lot can happen in a year; much of it is not in our control. Important goals can show up anytime, so why limit ourselves to making big resolutions in January? I had an idea for a new book somewhere in the middle of the past year. Should I have left it on hold until a new year starts? That’s not how things work for me, at least when it comes to concrete goals.
But the end of the year does seem like a good time for reflection. Reflection is an ongoing activity, but when you look at the scope of a whole year, you often see things that are easier to miss day by day. And with reflection often comes an insight for the future.
My insight for the upcoming year is not phrased as a goal or a target, and it doesn’t have a detailed plan derived from it. Instead, I pick one phrase to guide me throughout the year. I call this phrase: my lens.
The Power of a Lens
A lens is not a goal you will achieve. It is not a destination you will reach. A lens is a way to look at whatever you do and whatever you come across.
My lens will help me create and identify new opportunities and be better focused on what I wish to achieve with each of them. My lens will help me decide which opportunities to pursue in the upcoming year. It will help me decide which ones to reject.
My lens must be connected to my overarching mission: to help people master their Generative Skills. It should help me walk a path, which is not paved yet, toward that destination.
A lens does not replace goals and resolutions. It is much more abstract, which is why it is so powerful. It is a guide I can use daily, but it doesn’t set the plan. It helps me create it as I go.
My 2023 Lens: Generative Communication
So, my lens for the upcoming year is Generative Communication. I will use this lens to think about and affect anything I do this year by asking: How can effective communication help me and the people I interact with create and co-create better?
It is no accident that this is the title and the topic I chose for this newsletter. The daily insights I will post here are an important layer of what I aim to achieve this year. Since Generative Communication is my lens, I would like to think about it daily. One of the best ways to reflect on something is to write about it. And one of the best ways to commit to that is to make it public.
Define Your Lens
Whether you define concrete goals for 2023 or not, a lens can help you focus. By defining what is important to you using a simple phrase, you create a context for everything that follows. A lens will help you make better decisions and create a bigger story that connects different activities and projects.
So, now it is your turn. If you don’t have a lens for 2023 just yet, take some time to reflect and define one. Keep it simple and abstract, but make sure you know what it means to you. Make sure it is something you find not only essential but part of your core; something you deeply care about.
Your lens will light your path in the upcoming year.