What’s your Quest for this year? I love the beginning of a year as it has that sense of freshness, of embarking on new adventures and discoveries.
Adventure is one of my core values. It’s taken me up mountains, down many miles of wild rivers, across hemispheres and cultures, and through the darkest rabbit holes of my own psyche.
I bring adventure in to all aspects of my life and work. It’s not always ‘extreme’ like running a marathon or going back country skiing, but it is intentional and deliberate. It’s how I keep enjoying the ride, as well as ensuring there is a ride to be had!
Each year I choose a new ‘quest’ theme word to help frame the nature of my adventures. Last year’s word was “Joie de Vivre” – I wanted to savour all the moments of a busy and brilliant year. It helped to remind me of how to approach my day, my projects, and my reflection time. It’s not so much what you do, but how you do it. And I wanted a change from ‘hard’, ‘struggle’, and ‘tense’ that is my Achilles’ heel in the stress management department. “Joie de Vivre” helped remind me to say yes to fun, and no to crap – crap attitudes, crap decisions, and crap in general.
Choosing a quest word is rife with pitfalls, and I urge you to choose wisely as it will saturate and steer your life experience this year.
The obvious pitfall to list first is not to have a Quest word at all. This is like drifting through the year without a keel. You get taken – and dumped – by the current of events. So let’s take a look at the other challenges.
1. Choosing a vague or general word.
The usual suspects include “success”, “abundance”, “peace”. They’re good words, but they’re BLAND! You’ll want something that lights you up, keeps you with your nose to the wind and sails pulled tight. It’s got to go deep and fill you with inspiration.
Make it symbolic, archetypal, linked to a literary figure, an animal, a role.
You could use ‘lion’ if you wanted to represent fierceness.
‘Captain’ might suit for taking control of your life, as in ‘captain of my own ship’.
Use a Goddess to bring the word to life. For example, ‘Kali’ is all about beginnings and endings.
2. Comparing your word to someone else’s.
Your journey is unique and awesome to you – don’t worry what other people may think, or what they are doing. You need to focus on your Quest. You’ve got your own mountains to climb and dragons to slay – you need to equip yourself with your own magical elixir!
3. Not keeping it front and centre.
It’s not enough to think about it or jot it down in your journal. Make a shrine of it. Use a totem or piece of jewellery to remind you. Put up a poster of an image. Create a new screensaver on your laptop. Add a reminder to your phone that pops up every day: “This is the year of Pepper!” (adding spice to life, taking time to savour, adding zest and pizzazz).
Want some ideas?
Start by picking a word – then google that word in images.
That is how I came up with my own theme word and image:
CONNECTION is my theme word for this year. For me, this means reaching out, engaging with others with compassion and genuineness, growing my tribe focused on my purpose of “Better Leaders, Better World” and my passion of helping leaders love who they are and what they do in service to the world.
The image I chose was the sunflower. The connection part is found in all the exquisite perfection of the seeds. It reminds me that nature and the world is truly inspired and magical, with more detail and order than can be manufactured. It reminds me to trust the Universe, trust the connection between all things and a sense of Divine order (and this helps me to relax away from any ego concerns of how my business will grow, if I am good enough, and all those other gremlin thoughts). It represents beauty, growing tall (while being courageous to risk being a tall poppy/sunflower).
This second image reminds me that we are all sunflowers – each unique, and yet each the same, each seeking the sun in an endless sea of colour.
So take your time to mull, ponder, explore your word – let it gestate and emerge. Then let us know what yours is in the comments!